Poet Sugathakumari passes away

Thiruvananthapuram: Renowned poet Sugathakumari passed away here on Wednesday while undergoing treatment for COVID-19. The 86-year-old poet was admitted to Thiruvananthapuram medical college hospital after being diagnosed with COVID the other day.

First, Sugathakumari was admitted to a private hospital here and was later shifted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. She was suffering from breathing difficulties due to bronchopneumonia. The hospital authorities had informed that her condition was critical.

One of the most noted poets in Malayalam, Sugathakumari was born in Aranmula on 3 January 1934. Her father Bodheswaran was a freedom fighter and mother Karthyayani was a Sanskrit teacher. Sugathakumari’s sisters Hridayakumari and Sujatha Devi also were known writers. She was married to educationist Dr K Velayudhan Nair and they had a daughter named Lakshmi.

Sugathakumari published her first poem under a pseudonym in 1957 and later gained wide attention. Her noted works include ‘Mutthuchippi’, ‘Pathirappookkal’, ‘Paavam Pavam Manava Hrudayam’, ‘Pranamam’, ‘Irul Chirakukal’, ‘Raathrimazha’, ‘Ambalamani’, ‘Kurinjippookkal’, ‘Thulaavarshappacha’, ‘Radhayevide’, ‘Devadasi’, ‘Manalezhuthu’, ‘Krishnakavithakal’, ‘Megham Vannu Thottappol’, ‘Poovazhi Maruvazhi’ and ‘Kaadinu Kaaval’.

Sugathakumari is the recipient of many honours including Padma Shri, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award, Odakkuzhal Award, Vayalar Award, Vallathol Award, Ezhuthachan Award, Asan Prize, Saraswati Samman, Thoppil Bhasi award, Mathrubhumi Literary Award and ONV Literary Award.

Apart from being a poet, Sugathakumari is also known for her activities as a social worker and an environmental activist. She had served as the secretary of the Society for Conservation of Nature and also led a Pan-India movement called ‘Save Silent Valley’. She is also the founder secretary of Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithi. She was bestowed with the first Indira Priyadarshini Vriksha Mitra Award for her efforts in environmental conservation.

Besides, the poet has served as the chairperson of the Kerala State Women's Commission. She founded Abhaya, that gives shelter to mental challenged women who are abandoned by the society. For her contributions to the society, she was honoured with Bhattia Award for Social Science and the Lakshmi Award for social service.

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