The 113rd birthday of the well-known Indian poet Balamani Amma, who was regarded as the grandmother of Malayalam literature—a language spoken in Kerala, India—is honored in today’s Doodle, which was created by Kerala-based artist Devika Ramachandran.
She was born on this day in 1909 in Nalapat, her family’s residence in the Punnayurkulam district of the Thrissur district. She received numerous honours for her poems, including the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in the Republic of India, and the Saraswati Samman, the country’s most prestigious prize.
Amma was educated at home by her uncle Nalappat Narayana Menon, a well-known Malayali poet, rather than receiving any professional training or schooling. Amma studied several of his books and works when she was a little girl. At the age of 19, she wed V.M. Nair, general director and managing editor of the Malayalam newspaper Mathrubhumi.
Amma’s debut poem, Kooppukai, was published in 1930 when she was 21 years old. Her first recognition as a talented poet came from Parikshith Thampuran, the previous king of the Kingdom of Cochin, who gave her the Sahithya Nipuna Puraskaram award.
Amma read a lot of Indian mythology, thus her poetry often had a unique take on how women are portrayed. She became renowned as the “poetess of motherhood” because of the way her early poems celebrated motherhood. Her writings incorporated the concepts and stories of mythological figures while yet portraying women as strong individuals who nevertheless lived regular lives. Her most well-known works include Mazhuvinte Katha (1962), Muthassi (1962), and Amma (1934). (1966).
In addition to publishing more than 20 anthologies of poetry, prose, and translations, Balamani Amma was the recipient of numerous honours. She was also the mother of Kamala Das, a 1984 Nobel Prize nominee for literature. Amma passed away in 2004, and full state honours were accorded to her cremation. She was given the names Amma (Mother) and Muthassi (Grandmother) of Malayalam poetry for her poems that expressed her affection for her children and grandkids.
Happy birthday, Balamani Amma!
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