Maddalam Venkicha Swamy
The indigenous percussion ensemble
in Kerala received a scientific tone and temperament in the early
decades of the 20th century under the creative guidance of a few titans.
One among them was Thiruvilwawamala Venkichan Swamy (Venkateswara Iyer)
Hailing from the Thruvilwamala, Swamy became
the greatest exponent of Maddalam both in Panchavadyam (temple
orchestra) and Kathakali. Poet Vallathol welcomed him to
Kalamandalam in the 1930's. As an exemplary teacher and peerless
performer, Swamy soon became the cynosure of all eyes. He
systematized the playing-culture of Maddalam in Panchavadyam and
Kathakali. His contributions to the percussion ensemble of Kerala
are preserved and promoted by his own distinguished discipline.
Narayanankutty Nair (VKN)
(abbreviated from his full name Vadakkke Koottala
Narayanankutty Nair), (1932-2004) was a pathbreaking and
writer, noted mainly for his high-brow satire.
Apart from novels, he wrote
and political commentaries. A native of
his works are considered distinctive for their
multi-layered humour, trenchant criticism of the
socio-political classes and uncanny ability to twist the
meanings of words contextually, thus lend a touch of
magic to his language (which, at times, was English
VKN's works call
for an attentive and informed reader who can recognise
and follow his changes in language, where he shifts
and a distinctive variety of
spoken by the Iyer community in
In most cases, the use of language other than Malayalam
is immediately followed by a translation (in
parentheses), but these translations have little do with
what they stand for in the original.
Born on April 6, 1932, in
Thiruvilwamala. VKN, after completing his matriculation,
joined the Malabar Devasom Board and worked there for 9
years. Like a good number of modern Malayalam writers
VKN spent many years in
(from 1959 to 1969) -- as an English journalist. The
experiences he gained furing these years that also
coincided with the nascent post-Independent India finds
a recreation in one of his most heralded work,
Arohanam. He entered Malayalam literature in 1955.
VKN is considered as a genius,
for his knowledge in agriculture, philosophy, astrology,
history, art, literature, ethnicity and sport. It merits
some acquaintance with his writing style to really
understand his wit. His humour comes from inverting his
own language. In certain stories/narrations, the
characters of the story/narration comment about the
author. Malayalam critics have yet to understand him
well, and a proper study about his works and style is
yet to happen in the language. VKN served as
vice-chairperson of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Trichur.
He had also chaired the Kunchan Smarakam at
Killikkurussimangalam near Ottappalam.
VKN passed away on Jan 25,
Poduval (1924-2008) was a
maestro who rose to prominence by his
aesthetically pleasing taps on the instrument --
a vital percussion accompaniment for
the classical dance-drama from
A disciple of the legendary
he, along with
ushered in a new spring in the acoustics of
their performing art.
A native of the temple
district, Poduval served for long as a maddalam
tutor at his alma mater,
His noted disciples at the institute include
Paloor Achuthan Nair, Kalamandalam Narayanan
Nambisan (Nambisan Kutty), Damodaran Nair,
Eachara Varrier, Nelluvaya Narayanan Nair,
Kalamandalam Sankara Varrier, Ramadas and Sasi.
Poduval retired from
Kalamandalam in 1986. He later worked, on an
off, as visiting teacher at Sadanam Kathakali
Son of Ramachandra Iyer and Kunjammalu Poduvalasyar,
Appukutty Poduval was trained in maddalam by Thiruvilwamala
Kalamadalam Gopi described Poduval as the "perfect maddalam
player" Kathakali had ever seen.
"He elevated the status of maddalam on the Kathakali stage.
The tonal quality of his playing and dexterity rewrote the rules
of drumming. His deep knowledge of performing arts helped him
create a style that gave rare effect to Kathakali acting," Gopi
While receiving the Pallavur Appu Marar Vadya Puraskaram from
Culture Minister M.A. Baby at a function in Kalamandalam on
February 8, 2007, Poduval had submitted a memorandum urging the
fovernment to set up a memorial for his guru Venkichan Swamy
Poduval died on January
Famous Malayalam writer, Born at Ponnedath Aachattil House, Thiruvilwamala. Father: P.Svirama Menon, Mother: P.A.Malathy Amma. She
couldn't complete Chemical
Engineering Course at Thrissur Engineering College .
Husband : K.Vijaygopal. Sons : Vibath, Darshan. Got
Kerala Sahitya Academy Award in 1993 for Manjile Pakshi.
Other works are Idivalinte Thengal, Velichangalude
Thaalam ( in association with her brother P.A.Divakaran)
Thiruvilwamala Hari Govindan
performer in 'Idakkya'. Renowned 'Idakkya'
maestro in Kerala & abroad. He is being invited to
most of the Temple festivals nationally. He lives at
the East Nada of Sri Vilwadrinathan Temple
with a busy schedule.
is currently holding the post of INSPECTOR
GENERAL (I.G)-kerala police. He hails from the
Madappully family,Thiruvilwamala. His father is
(late) Prof.Rajendran Nair and mother Mrs.Thankam
Rajendran. He had his education at GHS
Pazhayannur and NSS college Ottappalam. He
belongs to the 1989 I.P.S batch. His various
postings include that of A.S.P Alapuzha, S.P
Kannur, Kasaragod, Calicut (rural), Commissioner
of police Calicut & Thiruvananthapuram,
Principal-police training college, DIG central
range (Ernakulam), I.G Human Rights Commission,
I.G Intelligence & Crime Branch. Also, he is a
well known figure in various talk shows and
discussions in the visual media. He got honoured
with the president's police medal in the year
P. Kunhiraman Nair (1906-1978)
was a renowned Malayalam poet
whose works romanticized the natural beauty of
his home state of Kerala in
south India and
juxtaposed it with the hard realities of his
life and times. He stayed in
Born at Bellikoth near Kanhangad of
P., as he as simply known (by his initial), led
a Bohemian lifestyle,
wandering across Kerala, living in several of
its places, meeting their people and making them
part of his life and literature. He worked as a
school teacher, having taught at Koodali near Kannur and Kollengode in Palakkad district.
Poetry formed his main genre of work (it isn't
exactly known how many poems he penned during
his half-a-decade career as many are
irretrievably lost), though he has also penned
stories, articles and a few plays. His
autobiography, 'Kaviyude Kaalpaadukal' (The
Footmarks of a Poet), is one of the celebrated
works in prose in Malayalam.
The central Kerala belt of Valluvanad,
known for its scenic charm and cultural
vibrancy, worked as a major source of
inspiration for the poet, who lived there for
long -- partly as a family man. His works are
also dotted with metaphors from Kathakali,
the classical dance-drama of his region.
Kunhiraman Nair was an award winner of both the
Kerala Sahithya Akademi and the Central Sahitya
Also proficient in Sanskrit,
Kunhiraman Nair initially worked at a printing
press in Thrissur for
a few years. Later, he published a newspaper
from Kannur, before taking to teaching job and
gaining name as 'Kavimaash' (poet teacher) among
children. He retired from service in 1961. A
sudden bout of illness claimed his life on May
27, 1978, when the poet as staying in a rest
house in Thiruvananthapuram.
Nambiar had spent his early childhood at
Thiruvilwamala), his boyhood at Kudamaloor and his
youth at Ambalappuzha. Scholars like Guru Mani
Madhava Chakyar have the opinion that he and the
Sanskrit poet Rama Pānivāda are the same. (
Pānivāda means Nambiar in Sanskrit ). In 1748 he
moved to Thiruvananthapuram, first to the court of
Martanda Varma and later to the court of Kartika
Tirunal Rama Varma. He had already written several
of his works before leaving Ambalapuzha.
Read more on Kunchan Nambiar
trying to include more details on
Chenda Kontha Swamy, Ghadam Vilwadri, Vilwadri
Bhagavathar, Kalamandalam Appunni Poduval, Thakil Kesavan Nair, Manasi,
P.A.Divakaran, T.K.Nair, Mohan, Ambalapatt Vasunni Nambeeshan,
Brahmasree Rama Vadhyar, etc...
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