Celebrated Malayalam poet Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri, popularly known as Akkitham, has won the Jnanpith Award 2019, becoming the sixth literary personality from Kerala to achieve the honour.
Congratulating the poet, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan tweeted: "My heartiest congratulations to poet Shri Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri on being honoured with Gyanpeeth Award, the nation's highest literary award. It's also a great honour for Malayalam literature, especially poetry."
Other literary luminaries from the state who have bagged the prestigious prize earlier for their outstanding contribution in literature are G Shankara Kurup, Thakazi Shivashankara Pillai, SK Pottakad, MT Vasudevan Nair and ONV Kurup.
The 93-year-old Akkitham started gaining attention in the early 1950s for his modernist poems, first of which "Khandakavya" was published in 1952.
"Velicham dhukamanunni thamas allayo sughapradham", reads his poem 'Irupatham Noottandinte Ithihasam' (Epic of the 20th Century), that that can be roughly translated to "Light is sorrow son, darkness is bliss". This was the book that caught the attention of many Malayalees.
Akkitham has published as many as 45 books comprising of poetry, anthologies, plays and short stories.
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He has also translated the 'Srimad Bhagavatam', as 'Sree Mahabhagavatham' which has around 14,613 verses. His other notable poetry anthologies include 'Balidarsanam' (the Vision of Bali), 'Arangettam', 'Nimisha Kshetram', 'Idinju Polinja Lokam', 'Amritaghatika', and 'Kalikkottilil'.
The poet has been involved in social reform activities through his association with Yogakshema Sabha and has strived to bring in reforms in the lives of the Namboothiri Brahmins of Kerala.