Popular Kerala Writers

K.Ayyappa Paniker

12th September, 1930), poet, professor and critic, has been the pioneer of modernism in Kerala. His influence has been quite profound and far-reaching in the entire cultural and intellectual life of the Malayalee. If in poetry Paniker could be seen as the harbinger of a new voice, in the field of literary criticism he ushered in a paradigm shift towards a radically newer awareness.

His influence on modern Malayalam theatre and on new playwrights has been of equal importance G.Sankara Pillai, Kavalam Narayana Paniker and Narendra Prasad have all come under his sphere of thinking at one time or other. Similar has been the case with film and filmmakers like G.Aravindan, John Abraham and actors like Bharat Gopi and Nedumudi Venu. Among the visual artists Paniker's influence is evidenced by his long standing association with M.V.Devan, Paris Viswanathan and others.

Above all Ayyappa Paniker has come to be regarded as an icon of modernist culture and thinking. A widely travelled scholar and poet of international renown, he is a unique instance of creative and intellectual genius.

During 1946-48, Paniker, then a student of the intermediate course in the Malabar Christian College, Kozhikkode, came into contact with leftist political activities then prevalent in Malabar. He was a visitor to the Deshabhimani bookstall,and was in regular contact with politically committed activists and writers like K.Damodaran, C.Unniraja, D.M.Pottekkatt, Pappuettan and others.

An 'passive' member of the student's congress he took part in public demonstrations and meetings. In fact, on account of all these activities, he was denied several coveted prizes and even a character/conduct certificate by the college authorities!

In 1946, Ayyappa Paniker made his first public speech. It was at a protest meeting against Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyar in the Kozhikode Town Hall. It was during the same period that for the first time he attended a lecture/study class by the well-known communist leader, E.M.S Namboodiripad. The ideology of dialectical materialism preached in the dim, candle-lit-room, in low stuttering whispers, echoed within the poet, and kindled the spirit of humanism alongside the already awakened patriotism.

The urge to write, earlier evidenced in his high school days, became more alive during his intermediate education. The Malayalam teacher of Malabar Christian College, Surya Munshi, encouraged him to write poems and articles. C.S.Subramanian Potti wrote a foreward for a collection of Paniker's poems written during 1944-45, and published under the title Panineerpoovu in 1947.


Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry. 1975.

Kalyani Krishna Menon Prize. 1977.

S P C S Award. 1978.

Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Criticism. 1984.

Central Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry. 1984.

Rev. Abraham Vadakel Award for Criticism. 1987.

Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Bhilwara Award for Poetry. 1988.

Distinguished Teacher Award. 1990.

Mahakavi Kuttamath Award for Poetry. 1990.

Mahakavi Ulloor Award for Poetry. 1990.

Kerala Cultural Centre(Muscat) Literary Award. 1992.

C B Kumar Endowment Prize. 1992.

Samastha Kerala Sahitya Parishath Award for Poetry. 1993.

Kabir Samman. 1996-97.

International Man of the Year (IBC, Cambridge, UK). 1997.

Indira Gandhi Memorial Fellowship. 1997.

Gangadhar Meher National Award for Poetry. 1998.

Asan Prize(Chennai). 1999.

Jana Sanskriti Award(Abu Dhabi). 1999.

Viswadeepam Award. 1999.

Vayalar Award. 2002

Vallathol Award for 2004

Padmashree 2004

K. Ayyappa Paniker lives in Sarovaram, Gandhi Nagar, Vazhuthakkad, a quiet suburb of Trivandrum, Kerala. He is married to Sreeparvathy and has two children -- Meera Devi and Meena Kumari.

E-mail: [email protected]

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