P. Kesavadev

P. Kesavadev

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Category: Literature

P. Kesavadev Profile

  • Name:
  • P. Kesavadev
  • Born:
  • July 20, 1904
  • Died:
  • July 1, 1983
  • Spouse:
  • Seethalekshmy Dev

P. Kesavadev Biography

P. Kesava Pillai, a writer of Malayalam is better known by his pen name P. Kesavadev. He was a novelist and social reformer of Kerala. He has also written some landmark dramas and his speeches are also remembered always.  Odayil Ninnu, Nadhi, Bhrandalayam and Ayalkar are academy award winning novels. Odayil Ninnu (1942) later became a classic movie in Malayalam with same title and as Babu mon in Tamil. Many Indian features films have their stories inspired from this classic heart touching story of P. Kesavadev. This emotional journey of a poor rickshaw-puller Pappu is one of the finest works ever made in Malayalam based on common man. It also exposed the social status of the society that existed 60 years ago.  Kesavadev’s place is along with Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai and Vaikom Muhammad Basheer - the exponents of progressive Malayalam Literature. He has done about 128 works belonging to different categories.


Kesavadev was born on 20 July 1904 in Kedamangalam, North Paravur. As he was a social reformer who stood against caste system and similar inequalities, he erased ‘Pillai’ tag associated with him that showed his caste and added ‘Dev’ instead. From the early childhood itself, such inequalities in his society touched Kesava’s heart and he started struggle against such social evils at the age of 13.


Later he concentrated on his literary works also. He is regarded as the first writer to usher in the Renaissance in Malayalam literature through the work, ‘Odayil ninnu’. He is one of the greatest story tellers of Malayalam fiction. Odayil Ninnu inspired a lot of writers to follow his style. His other masterpiece works are Bhranthalayam and Ayalkar.


His other major novels are Sakhavu Karottu Karanavar (1961), SnehikkanVendi (1967), Kannadi (1961), Ulakka (1951), Nadi (1951) and Oru Sundariyude Atmakatha (1970). His last work - Padicha Kallanmar was incomplete. His wife Seethalekshmy Dev rewrote it, completed and published. He has written 300 short stories of which the collections - Thiranjedutha Kathakal 1 and 2 and Annathe Nadakam need special mention. His major plays are Mazhayangum Kudayingum (1956), Orumuri thenga (1959), Munnottu (1947) and Njanippokamunistaavum (1953).

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Updated: October 24, 2013

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