The name Kottayam Pushpanath is synonymous with detective novels. During the 1970s and 80s, his novels were a rage. Marxin and Pushparaj, his detectives, kept the audience hooked with their brilliance in resolving mysteries. His stories urged many young minds to become detectives or police officers. Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of his legacy, and it comes with good news for all Pushpanath fans. Rayan Pushpanath, his grandson, is republishing Puspanath’s first book Chuvanna Manushyan (The Red Man).
“Chuvanna Manushyan was first published in 1968 as a series in Manorajyam weekly, at a time when the publication was going through a difficult phase. They decided to publish a detective novel, which was in vogue then, to attract more readers. I have, later, heard from people lived during that time that the series helped Manorajyam increase circulation,” says Rayan, who holds the royalty of Pushapanth’s books post the author’s demise in May.
Rayan was working in Bengaluru then. When he came to know that Pushpanath has bequeathed the books’ royalty to him, Rayan decided to quit his job and focus on republishing his Papa’s books. “I decided to republish all his books. This is the first step towards it,” says Rayan. “We (Rayan and Pushpanath) had earlier discussed about preserving the books through digitisation. He may have wanted me to go ahead with that,” adds Rayan.
In his life time, Pushpanath wrote more than 300 books. “Not all copies are with us. I collected the copy of Chuvanna Manushyan from Sahitya Akademi,” says Rayan.
He knows that republishing is a risky affair. Because the readers have changed, so have mediums of reading. However, Rayan is hopeful. According to him, what makes his Papa’s works desirable across generations is detectives’ modus operandi. “Papa depends on circumstantial evidence to solve cases. Any generation would be able to relate to it. Also, his stories are mostly set abroad and are informative. In Chuvanna Manushyan, Marxin reaches France to investigate a case of bodies missing from graveyard,” says Ryan. “One would feel like being present in that space while reading Papa’s books. A history teacher, he put the effort to study about locations before including them in books.” Rayan, who had discussions with Pushpanath about his writing style, says, “His mother was Papa’s inspiration. She encouraged him to read English books. He also loved watching movies,” says Rayan. “There was a time Papa used to write seven to eight novels at one go. He would title them first and keep writing. I had once asked him how he achieved it. He only smiled,” says Rayan.
The new edition launches on Saturday at Kottayam Press Club. Time is 2 pm.