T Padmanabhan, the enfant terrible of Malayalam short story, speaking at the inaugural of week-long Malayalam language celebrations by the Kerala Sahitya Parishat, in the city on Friday, was at his invective best.
Refusing to hide his bitterness about the Thunchan Memorial Trust, which allegedly did not invite him to be a part of their activities, despite bestowing him with the Ezhuthachan award, a decade ago, Padmanabhan said he was unable to understand the Trust’s activities.
“It is obvious that those who head the Trust are not interested in inviting personalities they are not interested in,” Padmanabhan said.
The writer said he was given a chance to speak during the inaugural of the Malayalam University, only after the intervention of former education minister E T Mohammed Basheer.
Padmanabhan is considered a literary trendsetter who provided a new sense of direction to the field of Malayalam shortstory writing.
Padmanabhan also lashed out against the media, which according to him, is contributing to the deterioration of the Malayalam language.
He said that a language does not get honoured merely by conferring it with a classical status. “There is no need for such honours. It is wrong to think that a language gains importance when it is given a classical status. Malayalam was a classical language even before the administrators and the authorities decided to confer it with the status,” Padmanabhan said.
As per the statistics presented by the National Geographic magazine, currently there are 7000 languages in the world, he said. One of them dies every 10,000 days. If the figures are right, by the next half of the century, only half of the world’s languages will remain, Padmanabhan said.
When a language dies, the culture of the place dies along with it, he said. Unless a language is treated with utmost respect and love, it will die, he said.
M Leelavathi said that the ceremonies which honour languages should be given due encouragement rather than those ceremonies of religion or caste.