Govindan had no CIA link: Padmanabhan

Published Feb 10, 2019, 2:56 am IST
Updated Feb 10, 2019, 2:56 am IST
T. Padmanabhan said M Govindan was never an anti-Marxist; he was against Stalinism.
Writers T.Padmanabhan and M.Mukundan during the Krithi International Book Fair in Kochi on Saturday.           Image: ARUN CHANDRABOSE
 Writers T.Padmanabhan and M.Mukundan during the Krithi International Book Fair in Kochi on Saturday. Image: ARUN CHANDRABOSE

KOCHI: The people who have accused M. Govindan, the doyen of Malayalam literature and thinker, of being a CIA agent should answer why he faced financial difficulties in his last days, according to writer T. Padmanabhan. In a free-wheeling memorial lecture on Govindan at the Krithi Knowledge Festival here on Saturday, Padmanabhan recollected his long association with the writer starting from the age of 18.

The persons who have accused Govindan, widely recognized as the harbinger of the new wave of ideas in literature and philosophy in Malayalam, as a CIA agent and believed he received funds from the US should try to find out how he lived his last days, Padmanabhan said. The last days of Govindan were miserable and he survived with the help of his few well-meaning friends. "How can the recipient of CIA funds live his old age in near penury," he asked.


"I am also not in agreement with those who say he was anti-Marxist. His opposition was to Stalinism. He was a great essayist, poet and story-writer, but above all these, he was more active in encouraging the new generation writers of his time and gave them a higher sense of direction," Padmanabhan said.

The SPCS published the selected essays of Govindan in 1986 and the collection has many of his Marxist writings. As many people still call him anti-Marxist, the SPCS should republish the book, he  said.

"Govindan encouraged youngsters like me to come up in literary life. His address was world famous. He was in touch with writers from all over the world," he said. According to him, N.V. Krishna Warier, P.C. Kuttikrishnan and M. Govindan helped him evolve as a writer. He also recalled Govindan's contribution to the development of new idiom in Malayalam theatre and cinema.

Speaking at the festival in a different session, writer M. Mukundan stressed the importance of the need for writers to resist fascism. He also said that those engaged in literature should not become apolitical, he said.