Kesari Balakrishna Pillai

Kesari Balakrishna Pillai

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Category: Literature

Kesari Balakrishna Pillai Profile

  • Name:
  • Kesari Balakrishna Pillai
  • Father:
  • Akathoot Damodaran Kartha
  • Mother:
  • Parvathy Amma

Kesari Balakrishna Pillai Biography

Kesari Balakrishna Pillai was a Malayalam writer, art and literary critic, journalist, thinker and visionary. The newspaper Kesari was started by him and hence he is known by the name, Kesari. Kesari is the most influential figure in modern Kerala's intellectual life and often regarded as a mentor of many writers of today. The Trivandrum Kesari Memorial Hall is named after BalakrishnaPillai. When his newspaper Kesari was banner by Travancore, he left the place and spent his rest life at Paravoor. His works have been compiled by the name, "Kesariyude Lokangal" by noted writer, M. N. Vijayan.


Kesari was born in 1889 in Thampanur, Thiruvananthapuram central hub as the son of Akathoot Damodaran Kartha, a scholar and Parvathy Amma. But his parents got separated. Pillai had his primary education in capital city and Kollam and later he took B.A in history from Maharaja's College, Thiruvananthapuram where he passed with distinction. He taught in Women's College and Maharaja's College Thiruvananthapuram for some time. During this time, he completed Bachelor in Law. Though he took up his career as a lawyer, he was not at all successful. Later he became a journalist and was active in this field till his death.


His innovative and interdisciplinary approach to criticism made him a genius in this field. He along with Joseph Mundassery and M. P. Paul are regarded as the big three pillars of Malayalam critic works. He is also known as a painter and known for many of his masterpiece works. He wrote extensively on movements in contemporary European literature and was also inspired by great Malayalam writers like Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, S. K. Pottekkatt and Vaikom Muhammed Bashir. His published works are Navalokam, Outlines of the Proto-Historic Chronology of Western Asia, Sankethika Nirupanangal Sahitya Nirupanangal and Rupamanjari.

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Updated: March 20, 2014

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