Vallathol Narayana Menon

Vallathol Narayana Menon

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Category: Literature

Vallathol Narayana Menon Profile

  • Name:
  • Vallathol Narayana Menon
  • Born:
  • October 16, 1878
  • Died:
  • March 13, 1958
  • Profession / Known For:
  • Poet

Vallathol Narayana Menon Biography

Vallathol Narayana Menon was one among the triumvirate poets of Malayalam literature in the 20th century. The rest two are Kumaran Asan and Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer. He received the title Mahakavi for his Mahakaavyam "Chitrayogam". He was a great lover of Kathakali and other traditional art forms of Kerala and is known for establishing Kerala Kalamandapam, at Cheruthuruthi, Thrissur. It is locate on the banks of Bharatapuzha river. He is credited with revitalising the traditional Keralite dance form ‘Kathakali’ from diminishing. When a float of Kathakali was presented during the second Republic day celebrations at Rajpath, New Delhi, it made this Kathakali lover angry as he truly believed that Kathakali can’t be performed in day light. His words were published that time even in Delhi newspapers and it resulted in a letter sent by Jawaharlal Nehru saying sorry to him. This Kathakali lover believed that it was an insult to this traditional art form of Kerala. Menon actively participated in the Nationalist movement and has attended the all India Conferences of the Indian Congress in 1922 and 1927. He along with Asan and Ulloor brought revolutionary changes to Malayalam poetry during the first half of twentieth century.


Vallathol’s major works are Sahitya manjari, Chitrayogam (1914) and Uma Keralam. Magdalanamariam (1921), Achanum Makalum, Sishyanum Makanum and Kochuseetha (1928) are other noted poems of Vallathol. His contributions to the khandkavya, ie: the short poem of the lyrical type is really significant. He was awarded with Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1955. Vallathol was born in Chenara, near Tirur in Malappuram District of Kerala on 16 October 1878.


Through his poems he criticized the social inequalities that existed in the society. He was against the caste system and showed pity to sufferings of poor people. He was greatly inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and wrote the poem, Ente Gurunathan in his praise. Magdalena Mariyam and Kochu Seeta are narrative poems while Chitrayogam is a form of epic poem. He has translated many of Hindu puranas in prose as well as poems and his translations, Sanskrit Rig Veda and Valmiki's Ramayana into Malayalam need special mention.  

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Updated: November 22, 2013


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