Who: Jnanpith Award-winning poet O N V Kurup
Where: Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
When: 13 February 2016
Why: Age related ailments
Malayalam’s most celebrated contemporary poet and Jnanpith-winner Ottaplakkal Neelakandan Velu Kurup passed away on 13 February 2016 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He was 84.
Popularly known as ONV, Kurup began his career as a progressive writer and matured into a humanist though he never gave up his commitment to socialist ideology. He was a part of the progressive movement in Kerala and wrote some of the most remembered poems and film lyrics.
About O N V Kurup
• Born on 27 May 1931 in Chavara, Kollam, Kurup attended the public Government School, Chavara.
• After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Economics from SN College, Kollam, he moved to Thiruvananthapuram where he joined Travancore University (now Kerala University) and pursued Master of Arts in Malayalam literature.
• He was a lecturer at Maharajas College, Ernakulam, University College, Trivandrum, Arts and Science College, Kozhikode and Brennen College, Thalassery.
• He joined Government Women’s College, Trivandrum as the Head of Malayalam Department.
• He was also a visiting professor at Calicut University.
• He retired from service in 1986.
• He received the Padma Shri in 1998 and Padma Vibhushan in 2011, the fourth and second highest civilian honours from the Government of India.
• In 2007, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by University of Kerala.
• He received the Jnanpith Award, India’s highest literary honour, for the year 2007. He is the fifth Jnanpith laureate from Kerala and the second Malayalam poet to win the prestigious award.
• His first published poem was Munnottu (Forward) which appeared in a local weekly in 1946.
• His first poetry collection, Porutunna Soundaryam, came out in 1949.
• He published a book named Dahikunna Panapatram (The Thirsty Chalice) which was a collection of his early poems during 1946–1956.