Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer

In the Malayalam Literary arena, the legend Vaikom Muhammad Basheer owns a remarkable position. With his profound and simple writing, touch of satire, sarcasm and black humour, Basheer had woven a style of his own and marked his presence as a short story writer, novelist, humanist and also as a freedom fighter.

Born in Thalayolaparambu in Kottayam District as the eldest child of a timber businessman, Basheer even from his childhood days was attracted to Gandhian thoughts and ideologies. He participated in freedom struggles and was imprisoned which also inspired his writings. The cult classics of Basheer earned him a reputed position in the Indian Literature. Translations of his works have won worldwide acclaim. The major literary contributions of this artistic genius include Pathummayude Aadu, Balyakalasakhi, Mathilukal, Premalekhanam, Anargha Nimisham and so forth.

Fondly known as Beypore Sultan, Basheer is an unparalleled genius in the selection of themes, characterisation and narration. Love, humanity, poverty and harsh realities of life all find their place in his works. The humorous romance, Premalekhanam that narrated the tale of love between Keshavan Nair, an upper caste Hindu and Saramma, an unemployed Christian woman, marked the beginning of his literary carrier.

Basher was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1982. He bagged the Sahitya Akademi award in 1970 and Kendra Sahitya Akademi award in 1982. This unique ebullient intellect is the rarest of the rare kind who revolutionised Malayalam literature and took it to a whole new level. 

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