Thiruvananthapuram: Writer Anand has been selected for this year’s Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, the highest literary award given by the state government. Mr Anand has been chosen by a committee, headed by writer Vaishakan, for his overall contributions to the Malayalam language and literature
Minister for culture A.K. Balan announced the award on Friday. The award carries a purse of Rs 5 lakh and a citation.
Works of P. Sachida-nandan who uses the pseudonym Anand, are noted for their philosophical flavour, historical context and their humanism.
The novel Marubhoo-mikal Undakunnathu, which exposed the tyranny of the authoritarian state, is considered by many as his magnum opus. It was critic M. Govindan who helped Anand publish his maiden novel Alkkoottam at the age of 34, which offered a new experience for the Malayali readers. The book received enthusiastic reviews and bitter criticisms alike.
He followed Alkkoot-tam with three more equally abstract novels, Marana Certificate, Abhayarthikal and Utharayanam.
These books made Anand a household name in Malayalam literature. However, it was in the late eighties and early nineties that Anand came up with two more novels, Marubhoomikal Undakunnathu and Govardhanante Yaathrakal, which made him an icon in Malayalam literature.
While his works Veedum Thadavum and Jaivamanushyan won the Kerala Sahithya Academy awards, Marubhoomikal Undakunnathu won the Vayalar Award. He did not accept the Yashpal Award for Aalkkootam and the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Abhayarthikal.
Mr Sachidanandan was born in 1936 at Irinjalakuda in Thrissur district. His father was a primary school teacher. He graduated in civil engineering from College of Engineering, Trivandrum (CET) in 1958. He retired as planning director of the Central Water Commission after a career which included extended stints working in Gujrat, Mumbai and Bengal. He also worked in the military for four years on Short Service Commission.
Anand was a champion of freedom of expression. Protesting against the Kendra Sahitya Akademi’s silence on the attacks on writers, he said “We, in the past, had the courage to speak up for the cause of freedom of speech. Why not today for our own people?”