Changampuzha, the great poet

Changampuzha has a unique place among the great poets in Malayalam. This romantic poet was the person who brought the poetry to the masses. Among the lovers of Malayalam language, there won't be a single person without knowing at least a single line of this poet.

Changampuzha Krishna Pillai (1911 – 1948)

Born to Thekkedath Narayana Menon and Changampuzha Parukuttyamma on 11th October,1911 at Edappally, presently part of Kochi City, coming under the Ernakulam District of Kerala State, Changampuzha Krishna Pillai had his elementary education there itself. He completed his school education at Aluva and Ernakulam. College education was from Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram. He married Sreedevi, a girl from Edappally itself. This couple gave birth to two girls and a boy.

Krishna Pillai, because of financial needs, had to accept a clerk's post in Military Accountant's office at Pune and at Kochi, even though by this time he had almost established as a poet. Earlier he had gone to Chennai for studying Law, which he could not complete due to financial problems. He later worked in a press at Thrissur. It was during this time he wrote many of his works, though he had started writing even when he was a student. He had to study his own poem at the B.A. Honors class, a rare experience, indeed.

Changampuzha Krishna Pillai is one of the most popular poets in Malayalam , second only to Kunchan Nambiar in bringing poetry to the common people. Till then it was the general belief that the poetries in Malayalam could be read and understood only if a the person had a background in Sanskrit literature. Writing in pure Malayalam was even looked down upon by the scholars. It was the famous pastoral elegy, 'Remanan', written by Changampuzha, which completely changed the attitude of common man towards the poetry. This legendary pastoral elegy, 'Remanan' was sold about two lakh copies, a record that still stands firm in Malayalam. Famous Malayalam critique Prof. Joseph Mundassery who was the first Education Minister of Kerala State and also the first Vice Chancellor of Cochin University, was highly impressed reading 'Ramanan', and wrote his own introductory remarks for its 15th reprint praising the elegy.

Acclaimed as the most admired advocate of 'Romanticism' in Malayalam, his prolific writing capabilities enabled him to write more than 40 thousand lines of verse in more than 500 titles, compiled in about 44 volumes. The simplicity and the literary elegance of his poems were unrivaled in his time and still is. No doubt, he was the most coveted poet who earned a matchless reputation in his short life span. His active period is considered as the peak period of romanticism of Malayalam literature. Even though he had only about 25 years of creative period in his life, he became an epic poet, without writing any epic poem following the conventional norms.

Changampuzha started writing poems at the age of nine. He wrote mainly to express his feelings in his mind. It was only a spontaneous outflow of his mental feelings. He became poet not by writing poems, but he was born to write poems. He expressed most of his experiences he had in his life through the poems. He was not happy with his life, which he indicated through his famous and oft quoted lines, "My biggest failure is having sincere heart in a phony world."
'Vazhakkula' (bunch of Plantain fruits) is another widely read poem of Changampuzha. This depicts the pitiable and helpless conditions of the tenants in Kerala in those days. Though the labour or agrarian movements had not come up in those days, Changampuzha was pointing toward the need for a class war, through this poem.

He had also written more than a dozen works in prose, which included novels, short stories, drama, etc.. Changampuzha's other famous works include Divyageetham, Yavanika, Bashpanjali, Manaswini, Sankalpakanthi, Devageetha, Spandikkunna Asthimatam, Udyana lakshmi, Patunna Pisachu, novel Kalithozhi and others. He was a close friend of 'Edappally Raghavan Pillai', another great poet of his time. In Malayalam literature they are referred as 'Edappally Poets'. 'Samastha Kerala Sahitya Parishath', a cooperative venture of Malayalam literary workers had its first convention at Edappally. Changampuzha worked hard for its success.

Changampuzha Krishna Pillai died at the age of 37 due to illness. His tomb is maintained at Edappally, in a small plot originally belonging to his family. One of his daughters is alive and is staying near Edappally. This year 2010 – 11 is the centenary year of the great poet, which is being celebrated throughout Kerala in befitting manner.

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Author: T.M.Sankaran04 Mar 2014 Member Level: Gold   Points : 5

At the birth place of the Poet Changampuzha two institutions are now standing out as his memorial. Changampuzha Smaraka Grandhasala (Changampuzha memorial library) and Changampuzha Samskarika Kendra.
Library began to function in 1950, just after two years of the poet's death. It is now a Grade one library stocking more than 36 thousand books and with a membership of around two thousand. A good reference section cater to the needs of students, teachers, researchers and literary workers.
Changampuzha Samskarika Kendram was established in in 1986. It is now a major centre of cultural activities in the State. The Park (called Changampuzha Park)is an open space with an open stage attracts people as well as various organizations to conduct their meetings and cultural programmes.The Kendram also organizes different literary and art programmes there which attract hundreds of people.

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