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Leaders of Renaissance in Kerala – Kumaranasan (1873-1924)

  •  Kumaranasan was one of the triumvirate poets of Kerala (the other two were Vallathol Narayana Menon and Ulloor S.Parameswara Iyer) who was also a philosopher, a social reformer and a disciple of Sree Narayana Guru.

 

  • He is dubbed as ‘Sneha gayakan’ (Poet of Love) of  Malayalam as he expounded the philosophy “Snehamanakhilasaramoozhiyil” (Love is all in this world) in his writings.

 

  • The richness of themes earned him the title “Ashayagambhiran’.

 

  • He was born in Ezhava community on 12th April 1873 at Kayikkara in Thiruvananthapuram district of erstwhile Travancore.

 

  • His father was Narayanan Perungudi and mother was Kaali. The childhood name was ‘Kumaru’.

 

  • He undertook a studentship in poetry under Manamboor Govindan Asan.

 

  • After becoming the disciple of Narayana Guru, Kumaru was sent to Bangalore for 3 years for higher studies in Sanskrit.

 

  • In 1917 Asan married Bhanumathiamma daughter of Thachakudy Kumaran – younger brother of Dr.P.Palpu’s father.

 

  • Kumaran Asan initiated a revolution in Malayalam poetry in the first quarter of the 20th century, transforming it from the metaphysical to the lyrical.

 

  • His first notable work was “Veena Poovu’ (fallen flower) which was scripted during his sojourn in Jain Medu, Palakkad in 1907.

 

  • It was published for the first time in the publication ‘Mithavadi’ and it marked the beginning of ‘Khandakavya’ in Malayalam.

 

  • Kumaranasan was the only poet in Malayalam who became ‘mahakavi’ without writing a ‘mahakavyam’.

 

  • The prefix ‘Mahakavi’ awarded to him byMadras University in the year 1922.

 

  • Kumaranasan was honoured by Prince of Wales in 1922.

 

  • The major works of Kumaranasan are Oru Simhaprasavam (1909), Nalini (Subtitle: Allengkil Oru Sneham) (1911),Leela (1914),Sribuddhacharitham (1915), Graamavrikshattile Kuyil (1918),Prarodanam (1919),Chintaavishtayaaya Sita (1919),Duravasthha (1922),Chandaalabhikshuki (1922) and Karuna.

 

  • The work of Kumaranasan that depicts the fact ‘Mamsanibhadamalla ragam’ (Love is not an artefact of flesh) is Leela.

 

  • His elegy ‘Prarodanam’ mourns the death of his contemporary and friend A. R. Raja Raja Varma, the famous grammarian and academician.

 

  • Kumaran Asan’s longest work is ‘Sribuddhacharitham’ which is the translation of ‘Light of Asia’, a biography of Sri Buddha by Edwin Arnold.

 

  • Kumaranasan had prominent Buddhist influence in his writings.

 

  • He is the first poet to become a member of Travancore Legislature and also the first Malayalam poet whose picture was appeared on an Indian stamp.

 

  • Kumaranasan was the first General Secretary of Sri Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam.

 

  • He edited ‘ Vivekodayam’, the mouthpiece of SNDP Yogam, along with M.Govindan who was its official editor.

 

  • Kumaranasan was the founder of Sarada Book Depot.He authored ‘Divyakokilam’ as a tribute to Rabindranath Tagore.

 

  • When Tagore visited Narayana Guru at Sivagiri in 1922, it was Kumaranasan who translated the dialogue between Tagore and Guru into Malayalam.

 

  • He died aged 51 as a result of a boat accident on 16th  January 1924 while returning to Kollam from a function in Alappuzha.

 

  • The boat capsized at Pallana and all on board drowned.

 

  • The name of the boat was ‘Redeemer’.

 

  • The spot where Asan met death is known as Kumarakodi.

 

  • Asan Memorial is at Thonnackal in Thiruvananthapuram district.

 

  • His statue is erected at Palayam in Thiruvananthapuram, the junction where the seat of Kerala University is situated.

 

  • Joseph Mundassery called him ‘’Viplavathinte Sukranakshatram’’.

 

  • Kumaranasan exhorted ‘Mattuvin Chattangele’ (Change the rules).

 

  • Asan World Prize was instituted in memory of Kumaranasan.

Questions Related to Kumaranasan

 

  • Who was called ‘Viplavathinte Sukra Nakshathram’ by Joseph Mundasseri?

 

  • The first General Secretary of SNDP  Yogam?

 

  • Who translated the ‘Light of Asia’ of Edwin Arnold into Malayalam with the title’Sribudhacharitam’?

 

  • The Malayalam poet of the 20th century with profound Buddhist influence?

 

  • Whose final resting place is ‘Kumarakode’?

 

  • Who established Sarada Book Depot?

 

  • Whom Dr Palpu called ‘Chinna Swami’?

 

  • The Malayalam poet who passed away in Re-deemer Boat Tragedy in 1924.

 

  • Whose memorial is established at Thonnackalin Thiruvananthapuram district?

 

  • Whom Thayat Sankaran called ‘the poet ofRenaissance?