Tapasya Kala Sahithya Vedi, Keralam, the arts and cultural forum with nationalist ideals, celebrated the Navati (90th birth anniversary) of Mahakavi (great poet) Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri. The function took place in Kochi on April 16, 2016. Akkitham is famous for his exemplary contributions to the Malayalam language as a poet, essayist and editor. His poetic masterpiece “Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam” (The epic of the 20th century) is described as the dawn of modernism in Malayalam poetry. It got him the prestigious Sanjayan Award in 1952.
Hundreds of his fans came from all over the state to pay their respect and honour to the great writer. Story writer and Akademi award winner T Padmanabhan, in his inaugural address, said that Akkitham is the poet of not only Kerala and Bharat, but also the whole world. He is a part of the ancient seer tradition and to be a contemporary of him itself is a windfall. Former Chief Secretary and poet R. Ramachandran Nair IAS, writers Asha Menon, KB Sreedevi, Prof. Thuruavoor Vishwanbharan, Prof. PG Haridas and several other writers congratulated the veteran on the auspicious occasion.
Veteran RSS Pracharak MA Krishnan and Tapasya President S Rameshan Nair presented the Puraskaram and a cash award of Rs 100,000 to Akkitham. Dr Philippose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thomas Metropolitan and Guru Chemancheri gifted him a ponnada (decorative shawl). RSS Pranth Sanghchalak PEB Menon, C Radhakrishnan, MK Sanoo, Hameed Chandamangallur etc. spoke on the occasion.
Even though Akkitham was a fellow traveller of communists in his early years, the inborn nationalist feeling in him did not permit him to stick on to that path. He found a new avenue for him. Rest is the history.
Balidarshanam is an important poetic work of Akkitham. It got the Kendra Sahithya Akademi Award in 1973. Arangettam, Nimisha Kshethram, Idinju Polija Lokam, Amruthagathika, Akkithathinte Therenjedutha Kavithakal, etc. are his prominent poetic works while Kalikkottilil, Upanayanam and Samavarthanam are his famous essay works. He won the Vayalar Award in 2012. His translation of Srimad Bhagavatham is his most noble work. It comprises of 14,163 verses in 2,400 printed pages.
Akkitham was a member of the Yogakshema Sabha, the community organisation of Namboothiris. He took an active role in promoting Vedic studies; In this regard he joined hands with Vedic Study Centres in Thrissur. He took heavy efforts in spreading Vedic studies among non-Brahmins. He fought against untouchability; he participated in the famous Paliyam Sathyagraha against untouchability back in 1947.
Asan Prize, Vallathaol Award, Kerala Sahithya Akademi Award. Odakkuzhal Award, Vayalar Award, Ezhuthachan Award, Moorthi Devi Award of Njanapeet Award Committee, etc. are some of the prominent awards bagged by Akkitham.
Akkitham entered the arena of journalism after quitting the degree course sans completing it. But, he gained excellence in the realms of Sanskrit, music, Astrology, drawing, painting, etc. He started his career in journalism by editing Unni Namboothiri published by a Namboothiri organisation. After working for publications like Mangalodayam and Yogakshemam he joined AIR in 1956. He was the editor of the famous agriculture oriented AIR programme, Vayalum Veedum. He played an important role in running the magazine Anaadi meant for popularising Vedas.
Despite being such an extra ordinary genius Jnanpith has been evading Akkitham. ‘Why it is so’ is a million dollar question. Some believe that he, like late legendary OV Vijayan, never throws his hat into any ring. Perhaps that could be the reason for the deep gap between the prestigious award and the two literary geniuses of Kerala. – T Satisan