Vyloppilli Sreedhara Menon
Vyloppilli is a short name in Malayalam literature remembered by every literary loving people. His poems, especially 'Mampazham' is known to every Malayalee. Some of his collections are sold out like hot cakes. Sahitya Academy and other awards went after him.
Vyloppilli Sreedhara Menon (1911 – 1986)
During my student days, while attending an school annual function, I heard a poem being presented in the form of 'Kathaprasangam' (story telling speech). The title of the poem was "Mampazham" (mango- fruit). The story touched me and could not forget it for days. It was a small poem just narrating an incident.
A little boy while playing in the courtyard in front of his house casually plucked a bunch bearing tender mangoes from the mango tree which was a young one bearing fruits for the first time. He happily took it to his mother and showed. Seeing this his mother scolded him saying that he should be beaten for this naughty action like destroying the sprouting young mangoes. She added that it was he who was to go and collect those mango fruits when they are grown and start falling down. The child did not expect this reaction from his mother, hence he felt so bad and replied that he would not be coming to collect the ripe mangoes when it fell down. This statement of the child became true. He died by the time the mango fruits started falling down. Mother, though picked the fallen mangoes, could not eat them. She, with broken heart, took them and placed on the tomb of the boy.
The above story touches the heart of everybody who read the small poem, Mampazham, written by Vyloppilli Sreedhara Menon. Vyloppilly was a great poet who contributed to the Malayalam literature. He was born at Kaloor, Ernakulam on 11th May 1911 to Cheranellur Kochukuttan Kartha and Nanikuttyamma. After completing his school education he joined Maharaja's College, Ernakulam. H did his degree in zoology and then joined a school as a science teacher. At the degree class the poet Kuttippurath Kesavan Nair was his teacher, who recognised Vyloppilli's talents and encouraged writing poems. He got encouragements from one of his friends U.K.Kumaran, who also was a poet. Later he earned B.T. Degree, a must for becoming a full time High School teacher.
His name got recognised by winning the first prize in poem writing competition conducted by the Samastha Kerala Sahitya Parishat in the year 1931. He developed relationship with the Sahitya Parishat and worked for it more than ten years. He was honoured by giving the title 'Sahitya Nipunan' for his contributions to the Malayalam literature. He has to his credit eleven collections of poems, which include Kannikoithu (1947), Sreerekha (1950), Vithum Kaikkottum (1956), Onappattukar (1952), Kuruvikal (1961), Kaipavallari (1963), Katalkakkakal (1958), Vita (1970) and Makarakoithu (1980). He has also written a drama, 'Rishya Sringanum Alexandarum'. The three poems, namely, 'Mampazham', 'Sahyante Makan' and 'Panthangal' included in the first collection, 'Kannikoithu' attracted the attention of everybody who loved Malayalam language and the poet Vyloppilli got established in their minds. He wrote poems for children also. Pachakuthira, Minnaminnu and Kunnimanikal are collections of such poems.
In 1965 Kerala Sahitya Academy Award was given to his work, Kaipavallari. Later in 1969 he got the Sovietland Nehru Award. In the year 1972 he got Kendra Sahitya Academy award and also the Odakkuzhal Award. Vyloppilli's 'Makarakoithu received Sahitya Academy Silver Jubilee Award (1981) and Vayalar Award (1981). In 1970 he visited soviet Union. He retired as Head Master in the year 1966 and continued his lonely stay at Thrissur until death in the year 1986 (December 22). This is his centenary year.
Vyloppilli had his own views about everything. His writings showed typical creative qualities which took the readers to the heights of feelings. Sometimes he was taken as a poet of manliness. He never preached for a particular theory. A duel approach was there in everything. He was spiritual as well as materialistic. Rational thinking was there in him parallel to piety nature. He believed in faith though came out, sometimes, with scientific thinking. He stood for industrialization though he worried about the environmental issues. He was romantic but argued for physical entities. He wanted social wellness, but was not against individual freedom. Thus in all aspects he was having this dual thinking.