Mangalat Raghavan, French translator and the only living Mahe freedom fighter, turns 100
The young man who bravely fought the French police during Mahe freedom struggle in 1948 is turning 100 now. Mangalat Raghavan was among the courageous people who stood firm even when the French police put them at gun point. They succeeded to defeat the police and take over the administration of Mahe temporarily then.
Mangalat Raghavan entered into political activism influenced by Gandhiji and Jayaprakash Narayanan. They used to communicate with each other through letters. He was awarded imprisonment and fine several times for being part of freedom fights and violating rules. However, he did not serve this as the police could not arrest him.
Later, Mangalat became Mathrubhumi reporter in Mahe in 1942 during the freedom struggle. After the French retreated, he became a full-time journalist. He used to write articles in Mathrubhumi under the initials MR and RM. In 1965, he became a member of Mathrubhumi editorial board. He served as a chief sub editor and later retired in 1981 as Kannur bureau chief.
After retiring from Mathrubhumi, Mangalat Raghavan dedicated his time for French poetry translation and comparative study. He was fluent in French as he completed schooling from Mahe Central French School. So, he directly translated French poems into Malayalam.
He translated works of Victor Hugo, Charles Baudelaire and Victor de Laprade. As a result of 6 years of long comparative study, he also wrote the book. 'French Kavithakal' in 1993. 'French Pranayageethangal' published in 1999 and 'Victor Hugoyude Kavithakal' published in 2002 are his other noted works.
Sukumar Azheekode has once appreciated Mangalat Raghavan that there are no such detailed translation of French poetry in any other Indian language. He is also the recipient of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for translation in 1994 for translating French poetry into Malayalam. He has also bagged Ayyappa Paniker Award.
Even at 100, Mangalat Ragahvan is busy translating contemporary French poetry and comparative study of the literature in both languages. He currently lives in his residence in Chettamkunnu in Kannur.