Sreekanteswaram Padmanabha Pillai

Sreekanteswaram Padmanabha Pillai

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Category: Literature

Sreekanteswaram Padmanabha Pillai Profile

  • Name:
  • Sreekanteswaram Padmanabha Pillai
  • Father:
  • Paruthikaattu Narayanapillai
  • Mother:
  • Narayani Pillai
  • Spouse:
  • Anandapillai Lakshmipillai

Sreekanteswaram Padmanabha Pillai Biography

Sreekanteswaram Padmanabha Pillai was a Malayalam writer, scholar and lexicographer, best remembered for compiling Sabdatharavali, a Malayalam dictionary in 1918 taking 22 long years. He also worked as a criminal lawyer and contributed around 60 books to Malayalam literal world during his lifetime. He lived during the period, 1864–1946 in Sreekanteswaram of Thiruvananthapuram, and is also addressed by his place name fondly.


Sreekanteswaram Padmanabha Pillai hailed from Sreekanteswaram of Thiruvananthapuram. He was born in 1864 as the son of Paruthikaattu Narayanapillai, who worked as a Tahasildar. His mother’s name was Narayani Pillai. Anandapillai Lakshmipillai was his wife.Since young he got drawn towards different types of arts, dance forms and poetry. Initially inclined towards Thullal, Aattakatha fascinated him later. He started writing at a young age and Bali Vijayam was his first work, written in Thullal style. After failing in matriculation, he studied Ayurveda and Sanskrit. Later he got through Magistrate exams in the late 1890s and worked as a criminal lawyer for many years. Along with it he continued with his efforts to publish Malayalam dictionary, Sabdatharavali.


Once in a meeting, a resolution was passed by Bhasha Poshini Sabha which urged the need of a good Malayalam dictionary. That’s how an idea came in his mind to compile a dictionary for Malayalam. Before writing magistrate exams in 1898 he has joined a small job at government writing department. After completing magistrate exams he worked for a brief period as a lawyer, went back to his previous job, and returned back once again. He worked as a criminal lawyer in Neyyattinkara, followed by Varkala. He passed away at his residence at Kaithamukku, Thiruvananthapuram at the age of 72 in 1946.

Published: March 08, 2019

Updated: March 08, 2019


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