Kochi: Legendary Malayalam poet and Jnanpith laureate Mahakavi Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri passed away at a private hospital in Thrissur on Thursday. The 94-year old poet died two weeks after he was conferred with the Jnanpith award.
The award ceremony was conducted at the poet’s residence on September 24. He is the sixth Keralite writer receiving the country’s most prestigious literary honour.
Akkitham has penned more than 46 literary works including poems, plays, essays and short stories. He was awarded Padma Shri in 2017. Born in 1926 as the son of Vasudevan Namboothiri and Parvathi Antharjanam of Akkitham family at Kumaranalloor in Palakkad district, he learnt astrology, Sanskrit and music at a very young age. He started writing from the age of eight. Akkitham was also interested in the social reform movement.
Akkitham, who was instrumental in introducing modernism in Malayalam poetry, had worked as script writer and editor with Akashvani Kozhikode and Thrissur for nearly three decades. He retired from Akashvani in 1985.
‘Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam’ (Epic of the 20th Century) penned by Akkitham is regarded as one of the best poetical works in Malayalam.
He bagged Kerala Sahitya Academy award in 1972 for his work Balidarshanam. He had won several other awards including the Ezhuthachan puraskaram, Vayalar award, Sanjayan puraskaram and Odakuzhal award.
Some of the major works of Akkitham are Bhagavatham, Sparshamanikal, Nimisha Kshetram, Prathikara Devatha, Vennakkallinte Katha, Manasapooja and Manasakshiyude Pookkal.
The poet’s wife Sreedvi Antharjanam passed away in 2019. He is survived by children Parvathy, Indira, Vasudevan, Sreeja, Leela and Narayanan. Renowned artist and sculptor Akkitham Narayanan is his younger brother.