Malayalam poet and activist Sugathakumari, who devoted her life to espousing the reason for the setting and upholding the rights of girls and the disadvantaged, died on Wednesday of post-Covid-19 problems on the Authorities Medical School Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, her relations mentioned. She was 86.
One of many pioneers of inexperienced activism in Kerala, Sugathakumari’s poetry championed the causes she believed in. She warned individuals in opposition to exploiting nature and counselled them to consider future generations. Her poems additionally gave a voice to the weak and struggling.
Sugathakumari was on the vanguard of a marketing campaign in opposition to the Silent Valley hydel energy venture within the late 1980s that pressured Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to type a panel of scientists to resolve if the dam ought to be constructed. The panel submitted a report in opposition to the development of the venture, which was finally scrapped.
The final habitat of the lion-tailed macaque, the Silent Valley Nationwide Park on the picturesque Nilgiri hills is among the richest biospheres within the southern a part of the Western Ghats.
The poet-activist was born in a household of freedom fighters and social reformers. Her father Bodeswaran was a Gandhian and mom Karthuyani a Sanskrit scholar. She began writing poetry at a younger age beneath a pseudonym earlier than she grew to become a longtime poet and author. Her sisters Hridayakumari and Sujatha have been additionally writers.
Sugathakumari died on the day a courtroom within the Kerala capital awarded a life time period in jail to a priest and a nun for murdering 19-year-old Sister Abhaya and dumping her physique right into a effectively in a case that dated again 22 years. . Whether or not it was the Abhaya homicide or the Suryanelli scandal, which concerned the exploitation of a minor lady enticed into the intercourse commerce, she was at all times on the forefront demanding justice for the victims. Her activist mates mentioned Trainer, as she was fondly recognized, would have been the happiest to listen to the decision.
Two years in the past, when a sit-in was organised earlier than the state secretariat in a gesture of solidarity with 5 nuns who have been protesting in Kochi for in opposition to former bishop Franco Mullakal, who allegedly raped a nun a number of occasions, she was on the venue on a wheel chair.
“Poems have been her favorite weapon to enlighten individuals. Her ‘Marathinu Stuti” (Hymn to a Tree) and different poems inform all,” mentioned well-known author M T Vasudevan Nair in a condolence message. “A born fighter she interacted with individuals by her literary works and actions,” mentioned poet and transfer director Sreekumaran Thampi.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote in a message: “Deeply saddened to be taught of the passing away of poet Sugathakumari. As a doyenne of Malayalam literature and with a profession that spans a long time, she has left an indelible mark on Kerala’s cultural life. We prolong our deepest sympathies to her household and be part of them in sorrow.”
“Don’t convey flowers to me when I’m lifeless. If you wish to keep in mind me, plant a banyan tree,” she mentioned as soon as when requested how she wished to be remembered.
She put aside house for individuals to plant saplings on the lawns of Abhaya, a house she arrange for destitute and mentally challenged girls in 1992. After she was cremated within the night on Wednesday, lots of her mates planted sapling within the house to fulfil her want.
A recipient of many honours, Sugathakumari was conferred the Padma Shri in 2006, and acquired the Saraswati Samman 2012, instituted by the KK Birla Basis, for her assortment of 27 poems Manalezhuthu (writings on the sand). She leaves behind her daughter Lakshmi, who manages the Abhaya residence.