Vaikom Muhammad Basheer

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer biography

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer was a Malayalam fiction writer from the state of Kerala in India. He was a humanist, freedom fighter, novelist and short story writer. He is noted for his path-breaking, disarmingly down-to-earth style of writing that made him equally popular among literary critics as well as the common man.

He is regarded as one of the most successful and outstanding writers from India. Translations of his works into other languages have won him worldwide acclaim. His notable works include Balyakalasakhi, Shabdangal, Pathummayude Aadu, Mathilukal, Ntuppuppakkoranendarnnu, Janmadinam and Anargha Nimisham.

He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1982. He is fondly remembered as the Beypore Sultan.

While at school he fell under the spell of Mahatma Gandhi. He started wearing Khaddar, inspired by the swadesi ideals. When Gandhi came to Vaikom to participate in the Vaikom Satyagraham (1924) Basheer went to see him. He managed to climb on to the car in which Gandhi travelled and touch his hand, a fond memory Basheer later mentioned in many of his writings. He used to visit Gandhi’s Satyagraha Ashram at Vaikom daily. He got punished for going late to school due to this.

Freed from prison, he organised an anti-British movement and edited a revolutionary journal, Ujjivanam (‘Uprising’). For this issue once again British Government issued warrent against him and arrested for this issue and he left kerala.

He wrote 14 novels.

1 – Premalekhanam – The Love Letter – 1943
2 – Balyakalasakhi – Childhood Companion – 1944
3 – Shabdangal – The Voices – 1947
4 – Ntuppuppakkoranendarnnu – My Grandad Had an Elephant – 1951
5 – Maranathinte Nizhalil – In the Shadow of Death – 1951
6 – Mucheettukalikkarante Makal – The Card Sharper’s Daughter – 1951
7 – Sthalathe Pradhana Divyan – The Principal Divine of the Place – 1953
8 – Anavariyum Ponkurishum – Elephant Scooper and Golden Cross – 1953
9 – Jeevithanizhalppadukal – The Shadows of Life – 1954
10 – Pathummayude Aadu – Paththumma’s Goat – 1959
11 – Mathilukal – Walls – 1965
12 – Thara Specials – – 1968
13 – Manthrikappoocha – The Magic Cat – 1968
14 – Prempatta – The Loving Cockroach (Published posthumously)- 2006.

13 Short stories:

1 – Janmadinam – The Birthday – 1945
2 – Ormakkurippu – Jottings from Memory – 1946
3 – Anargha Nimisham – Invaluable Moment (See “Anal Haq”) – 1946
4 – Viddikalude Swargam – Fools’ Paradise – 1948
5 – Pavappettavarude Veshya – The Prostitute of the Poor – 1952
6 – Vishwavikhyathamaya Mookku – The World-renowned Nose – 1954
7 – Visappu – The Hunger – 1954
8 – Oru Bhagavad Gitayum Kure Mulakalum – A Bhagavadgeetha and Some Breasts – 1967
9 – Anappooda – Elephant-hair – 1975
10 – Chirikkunna Marappava – The Laughing Wooden Doll – 1975
11 – Bhoomiyude Avakashikal – The Inheritors of the Earth – 1977
12 – Shinkidimunkan – The Fools’ God Man – 1991
13 – Sarpayajnam – The Snake Ritual .

Awards:

Padma Shri in 1982
Doctor of Letters by University of Calicut conferred on 19 Jan 1987.
Kerala State Film Award for Best Story – Mathilukal (1989)
Lalithambika Antharjanam Award (1992)
Muttathu Varkey Award (1993)
Vallathol Award (1993)

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