Vaikom Muhammed Basheer’s ‘Balyakalasakhi’ turns 80

The celebrations of ‘Balyakalasakhi,’ to be held at Basheer’s hometown on Saturday, are being organised by the Vaikom Muhammed Basheer Smaraka Samithi and Basheer Amma Malayalam organisation.
Vaikom Muhammed Basheer’s novel ‘Balyakalasakhi.’
Vaikom Muhammed Basheer’s novel ‘Balyakalasakhi.’

KOTTAYM : It has been 80 years since Majeed and Suhra captured the hearts of Malayalis through Vaikom Muhammed Basheer’s novel ‘Balyakalasakhi.’ The esteemed writer published the novel in 1944 while residing in Kolkata.

The timeless love story of Majeed and Suhra was originally penned in English, with Basheer later translating it into Malayalam. Interestingly, the protagonist Majeed was based on Basheer himself, with Suhra being his neighbour and childhood friend. Both received their primary education from the Mohammaden School in Thalayolaparambu near Vaikom. The novel revolves around their love story and has been adapted into film twice. It has also been translated into 18 languages, including English, French and German. R E Asher’s English translation ‘Childhood Friend’ is among the popular translation of ‘Balyakalasakhi.’ A literary award has also been established in its honour.

‘Balyakalasakhi’ is widely considered the most popular novel of Basheer. The famous phrase ‘onnum onnum immini balya onnu’ (one plus one is slightly a bigger one) originates from this novel. When maths teacher Puthusseri Narayana Pillai asked Majeed the answer to one plus one, his response was ‘a bigger one.’

The celebrations of ‘Balyakalasakhi,’ to be held at Basheer’s hometown on Saturday, are being organised by the Vaikom Muhammed Basheer Smaraka Samithi and Basheer Amma Malayalam organisation. The celebrations will be inaugurated by samithi director V T Jalajakumari, while samithi vice-chairman Mohan D Babu will preside over. Characters from the novel, Said Muhammed and Khadeeja will also be in attendance.

An untold love story

The timeless love story of Majeed and Suhra was originally penned in English, with Basheer later translating it into Malayalam. Interestingly, the protagonist Majeed was based on Basheer himself.

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