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Mahakavi Vallathol Narayana Menon
Mahakavi Vallathol Narayana Menon was popularly known as Mahakavi Vallathol, or Vallathol. Vallathol was one of the celebrity poets of Kerala and a romantic poet, Mahakavi, Freedom fighter, Congress party worker, promoter of Kerala Folk Arts. Kerala Kalamandalam (temple of Classical arts), Cheruthuruthi is his brain child.
Narayana Menon's childhood
Vallathol was born in 1878 in Chennara village, near Tirur, in the present Malappuram District of Kerala. Up to his 27 years he lived here and after that shifted his residence to Cheruthuruthi, Trichur District. He had some education in Sanskrit and Malayalam. He did not have English education.
Deafness: Vallathol with his deafness from his early twenties had to struggle so much that he had written a poem about the difficulties of the deaf in the name "Bhadhira Vilaapam".
He was attracted to the writings of Rabindranath Tagore, Karl Marx and Sri Narayanaguru and the freedom struggle of Mahatma Gandhi. On Sri Narayanaguru he wrote that "Guru's birth is onam to all, his wisdom the nectar. He is a full moon that does not wane". During Gandhiji's visit to Kerala the Mahakavi had met him and interacted with him. He actively participated in the Nationalist movement raging at that time in India.
Vallathol Narayana Menon was one of the luminaries of India selected by the British to honour during the India visit of the Prince of Wales durin1922. Vallathol rejected the honour as part of his freedom struggle.
Vallathol got the title of "Mahakavi" in 1914 for his epic poem of "Chitrayogam".
He wrote so many poems. He is the author of the famous Sahithya Manjari which is a collection containing his romantic poems. His other works include the narrative poems of 'Magdalena Mariyam' (Mary Magdalene, in 1921) and Kochu Seetha in 1928. In appreciation for his love, respect and regard for the Mahatma, he wrote a poem by the title "Ente Gurunathan" (my teacher). His work of Sahityamanjari contains some of the following poems: Aattilekkachutha; chorathilakkam; pandathe paattukal; Mathru Vandanam; Kili Konchal etc. Some of Vallathol's poetry has been translated into English and Russian as well as Hindi. His poems are on the subjects from nature and lives of ordinary people and themes reflect his protest against the indignities of caste system and the injustices heaped on the poor and downtrodden.