Receiving the Sahitya Akademi Award in Delhi

Portrait displayed at the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Thrissur, Kerala

Waiting for the ferryman. In one of his late poems the Poet portrays death as the veritable ferryman.

With family of Mahakavi G. Sankarakurup, the Gyanpith Award winning Poet.

With Mahakavi 
P.Kunhiraman Nair, a great poet and contemporary 
of Edasseri

During a grand reception given to Edasseri on his 60th birthday. Around him are his contemporaries in the literary field, incl. Mahakavi G.Sankara Kurup and Akkitham

With his closest friend and well-known novelist and broadcaster Uroob, 
in the fiftees.

With his wife Janaki Amma when they visited Agra in 1970
. .   

A Monument for Edasseri Govindan Nair, 
the Great Malayalam Poet & Playwright

Edasseri Govindan Nair (Edasseri, as he was known) was a  poet, playwright and thinker in Kerala, a state situated in the south-west Indian frontier. The state is enveloped by the Arabian sea on the west and south and mountainous ranges of Western Ghats along the east and north. Popularly known as “Gods Own Land” the state is well endowed with natural and human resources. The state had also been in the forefront of various intellectual epochs in history and had given birth to the greats like Sankaracharya, the spiritual apostle of Adwaita, Sree Narayana Guru, the great Guru and social revolutionary, Swathi Thirunal the great composer of Karnatic music,  Raja Ravi Varma, who invoked the Goddess of Art with his brush and colors, Vallathol, a great poet, who conceptualized and indeed nurtured Kathakali, a world famous dance form - to mention a few. Edasseri  (1906-1974) lived his life in this state and imbibed the rich tradition and culture of the land.  

Admirers  of Edasseri have come under the banner of a society christened as Edasseri Smaraka Samithi to commemorate the birth centenary of the poet falling in the year 2006. As part of the celebrations, a series of activities have been planned  including seminars, poetry recitals, presentation of drama etc. But the more important and enduring  tribute to the poet’s memory is the ambitious plan to erect a memorial building in the poet’s memory - a building which for generations would provide a platform for understanding the poet’s work, facilitate research work in Malayalam literature in general and Edasseri’s works in particular. This memorial would foster thoughts and activities  which would strengthen the poet’s humanistic ideals.  It is interesting to take stock of the poet’s work in so far as they reflect the poet’s ideals.   

Edasseri’s writings clearly brought out his belief in the ultimate goodness of man.  He depicted in his plays and poems characters who were strong, but capable of  empathy of epic proportions; villainous, but deserving one more chance in the grand scheme of  God. The poet  never  ignored or “wrote- off” any person whether good or bad, but tried to relate and represent them, as warp and weft, in his humanistic beliefs. His poems reverberated the concerns about industrialization, the inevitable environmental disaster and human misery it portended. He was indeed a great environmentalist even before  the term “Environmentalism” itself would have entered the lexicon of nature lovers. Years before 'Feminism' became a major subject of discussion among humanists, Edasseri wrote about it, very powerfully of course. Edasseri was indeed a  phenomenon and a more detailed account of him is available in this site.

Construction of the above mentioned centenary building is estimated to cost about Rs.4.0 million (approx. US$ 80,000/-). This is too large an amount for the Society which is organizing the centenary celebrations with the limited resources it can command. In fact the dream to construct the building can be realized only with the full support and donations from all those who believe in the ideals of Edasseri. These ideals which have added significance in the current phase of  globalization can be stated as :

(i)                  Faith in the man’s capacity to dream and achieve a fair and just society 

(ii)                Environmental aspects of global survival

(iii)               Need to empathize with and support  social struggles against various kinds of oppression 

(iv)              Respect for old myths, good social traditions and a sense of  continuity in man’s progress and civilization

(v)                A Gandhian approach to development 

(vi)              Support to science and technology tempered with concern for their negative impact on man and society

How the Centenary Building reflect Edasseri’s ideals

A.     The Edasseri Centenary Building will  (i) house a good library consisting of all important reference books to facilitate research, predominantly in literature, but also on areas related to environment, social and economic impact of globalisation etc. which are in consonance with Edasseri’s ideals (ii) provide all facilities for serious research including tie-up with various Universities.  

B.    Drama was close to the heart of Edasseri who has made mighty contribution to the stage by producing some of best plays in the language and also  one-act plays both on stage and over radio. The  centenary building will  be a venue for active  promotion of   Drama, both as a literary specie and also a stage activity.

C.    Edasseri firmly believed in the universality of human intellect and emotions and felt that, at the basic levels, all beings including humans, are capable of  communicating, understanding and empathizing with each other. But according to Edasseri, human relations are  rendered complex by various divides like language, religion and nationality. Any memorial for Edasseri has to reflect this ideal by being supportive of all nationalities, religions and languages.

D.    Edasseri had placed particular emphasis on Hindu-Muslim harmony and mutual respect. This will be a central theme in all the activities to be undertaken at Edasseri Memorial.

All who believe that the efforts described above merits support are requested to send in their donations to

Mr. E. Madhavan
Secretary, Edasseri Smaraka Samithi
46, Kannath 3rd Sub Lane

Thrissur 680002

Should you need any further clarifications, please feel free to contact the Secretary
or Mahakavi Akkitham (President), Devayanam, Kumaranellur, Palakkad Dist, Kerala, India.   

Prof. M. Achyuthan , Mahakavi Akkitham and  M.T. Vasudevan Nair at the release of Edasseri's Complete Poetic Works.

Another photo during the 60th birthday celebrations in 1966.Almost all leading Malayalam writers and intellectuals took part in the 3-day seminar. Another photo with Kellalppaji in the middle.
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