Tag Archives: Malayalam literature

Celebrating O.V. Vijayan’s classic, ‘The Legends of Khasak’

(From The Hindu by E.V. Ramakrishnan. Link to the complete article given below)

This year marks the eve of the 50th anniversary of the publication of O.V. Vijayan’s novel Khasakkinte Ithihasam (published as The Legends of Khasak in English in 1994).

First serialised in a literary weekly and subsequently published as a book in 1969, it still marks the highest point scaled by any Malayalam novelist in terms of intensity of vision and inventiveness of language. It narrates how Ravi, who lands in Khasak to set up a government school, is gradually sucked into its archaic charm, its tales and vibrant ways of life.

As Kerala reels from the after-effects of an unprecedented deluge, revisiting an iconic text that questioned our notions of modernity may not be inappropriate. Vijayan’s was a dissenting critical voice that reclaimed the fundamental role of the novel as a counter-narrative. Having suffered a loss of faith, he plumbed the depths of his inner resources by exploring the limits of language. Vijayan reinvented the form of the novel for a new generation, investing it with intractable questions of ethics that exceeded the formalist concerns of aesthetics.

Beyond language

Vijayan had serious misgivings about the way modernity produced and legitimated knowledge that met with uncritical acceptance. What happens to forms of knowledge that lie outside its institutional spaces? Khasak was about the imaginative apprehension of an order of reality that lay beyond language. Eduardo Kohn (author of How Forests Think) has argued that we need to go beyond language to see how the environment thinks through us.

Read more at The Hindu link here

A Journey to the Heart of Human Conflict: Three Screenplays and their Stories

The juxtaposing of prose and screenplay provides an absorbing ringside view of a maestro at work

MT is a one-man literary movement in the Malayalam language. The hundreds of thousands of gossamer words this 84-year-old literary phenomenon of Kerala has written since his teens is like a complex filter through which you can gaze at the Malayali and her contemporary predicament as she grapples to make sense of the persistence of the feudal past within the seductive embrace of the present.

Over the past six decades, MT taught the Malayali to look squarely in face of the multiple waves of Time she rides on and hear the plaintive sounds when they collide.

Eight major novels, 18 volumes of short stories, nine books of essays, 55 film scripts — and still going strong. You have to be a person of leisure to fully engage with the delights of this prodigious output. Of course, there would be many a Keralite of my generation who simply grew up with their literary consciousness drenched in the ink from his pen.

Giving offence

Predictably, the secondary literature around him — of reviews, interviews, critical analysis, academic and media overviews and translations — is almost of an industrial scale. It’s an avalanche. Whenever one has to write on MT, one is gripped by a sense of stunned paralysis — what more can one say on someone about whom everything significant has been already said.

But little of it captures his protean skill — the deft, surgical manner in which he dissects the middle-class Nair family to clinically expose its fears, anxieties, joys, arrogance, false pride, contradictions and its fatal nostalgia for its decadent past. He is like some in-house Balzac of the Nair community and every description of that caste, in his stories, perceptively foretells its conflicted future.

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Journey of a Complete Poet: K Satchidanandan

By Arti Das

poet

Veteran Malayalam poet K Satchidanandan is here at the ongoing Goa Art and Literature Festival (GALF) 2016. In a candid chat with NT BUZZ he speaks about poetry, challenges of translations, socio-political scenario and what it takes to be a complete poet.

Veteran Malayalam poet K Satchidanandan is a pioneer of modern poetry in Malayalam, a bilingual literary critic, playwright, editor, columnist and translator, former editor of Indian Literature journal and the former Secretary of Sahitya Akademi, believes that due to internet and social media there has emerged a new audience for poetry in the country. But, at the same time it has made the world of the poets limited to their comforts of mutual admirations in the virtual world. He says: “Now with internet and especially blogs many poets are getting a platform to publish their work. But, it has made their reach limited. Their work is generally liked and shared by friends and thus there is no meaningful critique of their work, which we were exposed to. This can mislead a poet.” K Satchidanandan is here in Goa for the VII edition of GALF and also to deliver a lecture today at MOG.

Looking at the positives of social media he points out that in Kerala especially among Malayalam poets, they have invented new forms of poetry. Here the poems are presented in a multi-media format with audio-visuals, clipping of a film, painting and even audio recitation of the poetry. All these new formats and democratisation to publish the work is a move to engage the audience and also gives a new lease of life to poetry and also garners a new breed of audience. “It is making popular, accessible and democratic, but may not be raising quality of poetry,” he says. Read more

Source: The Navhind Times

Lizardology: The Future is Writ

Indian literature, like India, is a combo. There are many Indian literatures. The Sahitya Akademi has 24 languages listed for its top awards. Another 35 or so come up for a different set of honours. There are more awaiting their turn to enter the Akademi’s list. I wonder how many Indians are aware that they live in a country blessed with 60 and more living literatures. Those who sing the praise of India hardly sing about the literary abundance. Perhaps no other nation in the world has so many literatures to enthral them. Not that literature has a place in the big picture. For, of what use is it to those who run nations? They notice it only when it comes in their way. Or when a bigot wants to ban a book. Actually, it is best not to be noticed at all. You never know what the politicians might see in literature. They can twist it into a weapon for mass destruction of minds. Every totalitarianism does it. Or they silence it with censorship—or by hounding and killing.

What is interesting is that each Indian literature pursues its own destiny. Each has a different past and present. These are intimately tied to the evolution and growth of the cultures the literatures represent and give expression to. Malayalam literature cannot but be an output of the Malayali ethos, even in its most dissenting or rebellious moments. Read more

 

How Malayalis in Gulf countries are keeping their passion for Malayalam literature alive

UAE-based author Shemi’s debut novel Nadavazhiyile Nerukal was a major hit in the recently-concluded Sharjah International Book Fair. This time India had the biggest representation with 112 publishers, of which 22 were from Kerala

People standing in long queues to get books autographed, nerdy types waiting till late night to participate in a literary debate -not really something we can imagine in Kerala. But the Malayali diaspora, especially in Gulf countries, still has that passion which makes an event like the recently-concluded Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) something big for our language, feel writers and publishers who participated in the mega event.

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Malayalam Literature Devoid of Poetry: Kanayi

Poetry is not about alphabets but art, said renowned sculptor Kanayi Kunjhiraman. “You like a work of art when it evokes some kind of an energy in you. I believe that the duty of art is creating positivity,” he added.

He was speaking at the book release of ‘Mounam Sthuthi’ authored by A Jayakumar at Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.“The greatest misfortune of Malayalam literature today is that it lacks poetry. And, when it comes to films, the most popular art form, the situation is more pathetic.

They completely lack the artistic element, which explains why I stay away from them,” he said.“I used to read a lot of fiction, a practice I stopped lately. Today the scene is flooded with mediocre writings and good works come out only once in a blue moon.

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Portal to listen to Malayalam literature launched

For those of you who want to access the wonderfully rich world of Malayalam literature despite poor (or non-existent) reading skills in the language, a solution may be on hand.

A Thiruvananthapuram-based web portal will make available to the Malayali diaspora across the globe a little removed from their mother-tongue, audio versions of Malayalam books, dramas, poetry and novels.

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