Popular Kerala Writers

OV Vijayan

OV Vijayan was undoubtedly the early exponent of modern fiction in Malayalam. Cartoonist, novelist and short-story writer, Vijayan has to his credit five novels besides several short stories, articles and a book on his own masterpiece, 'Itihasathinte Itihasam' (The Story of the Saga). Starting his career as a lecturer, Vijayan soon opted for full-time journalism and left Kerala in 1958 to pursue his active interest in the world of cartoons in Delhi. History of modern fiction in Kerala can be halved in to two, pre-Khasak and post-Khasak period. Such was the influence of his maiden effort ('Khasakinte Ithihasam'- Saga of Khasak, 1969), the imaginary land of Khasak and its characters Maimuna, Naizamali, Alla-picha-mollakka etc.


penetrated the subconscious mind of Malyalee readers and formed the ethos of literary world. Though some characters and the land depicted in the novel were real, they served only as creative sparks to ignite the literary imagination of Vijayan.

The language of Vijayan was very vibrant and it encompasses the whole rhythm of earth. By recreating the movements and essence of every activity that's going on around him in nature, he brought in elements like Wind, Bloom, Tree, Sand, Expanse of space etc. in his literary efforts.

He often took the liberty of reinterpreting history to suit the needs of his story line. He pitted contemporary reality against the age-old insights propounded by Indian philosophy.

'Dharmapuranam' (Indian political situation), 'Khasakinte Ithihasam ' (Degeneration of ideologies), 'Madhuram Gayathi' (Attacks on Environment), 'Gurusagaram' (Materialist attitudes of the society) and 'Pravachakante Vazhi' (Prediction about the future of the land) stand testimony to this.

Apart from personal contributions to the world of novel, Vijayan has left impressionable imprints in short-story scenario. 'Kadaltheerathu', 'Kattuparanjakatha', 'Parakal' etc. were path breaking in its character and content. His political writings were noted for their visionary insights on the political developments of the contemporary circumstances and clarity of thought.

Apart from the interpretation of existing reality through his characters, his illustrations acted as powerful vehicles to portray thought-provoking ideas. He was one of the finest of cartoonists to emerge from Kerala.

He was the first Malyalee author to highlight the issue of environmental degradation through prose and the creative mind in him very much feared a nuclear holocaust, as was evident from his writings.

Often criticized for attacking the approach of socialists, he was labelled as being one who developed a soft corner for fundamentalism, which eventually resulted in developing an affinity towards religion and its cult leaders. This change was very much evident in 'Gurusagaram'.

His prophecy relating to the destiny of Keralite society through his writings are often visionary. The day-to-day crisis in politics, imposition of emergency, degeneration of the congress party, rise of fascism, degradation of environment etc. were all subject matter for his writings.

1953 First Story: Parayoo, Father Gonsalez
1956 Reaches Thasarak (The place on which 'Khasakinte Ithihasam' is based)
1957 Publishes First Story Collection: Moonu Udhangal
1958 Reaches Delhi to pursue a career in Journalism
1959 Joins Sankers Weekly
1963 Joins The Patriot Daily
1965 Marries Dr. Theresa Gabriel
1967 Becomes a Free Lance Journalist
1968 Serialized story of 'Khasakinte Ithihasam' appears in Mathrubhoomi weekly.
1969 Khasakinte Ithihasam is published as a book
1970 Khasakinte Ithihasam wins Odakkuzhal Award
1985 Dharma Puranam comes out
1990 Dharma Puranam wins Kerala Sahitya Academy Award
and Kendra Sahitya Academy Award
1991 Gurusagaram wins Vayalar Award
1992 Pravachakante Vazhi is published
1993 Khasakinte Ithihasam gets Muttathu Varkey Award
1994 Penguin Books brings out English Translation Of Khasakinte Ithihasam(The Legends of Khasak)
1997 Thalamurakal is Published
2001 Vijayan gets Ezhuthachan Award

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