A. Ayyappan-Malayalam poet
A. Ayyappan (27 October 1949 – 21 October 2010) was a Malayalam poet in the modernist period. He is considered as the icon of anarchism in Malayalam poetry.
Born in a wealthy Viswakarma (goldsmith) family, in Nemom, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, he became a non-conformist member of reading Malayali families. He had a very tragic childhood. His father, Arumukham, died when he was only one year old, perhaps due to poison. Ayyappan, who had said that he was not sure whether his father’s death was a suicide or a murder, wrote in a poem that his mother was pregnant at the time of the suicide. He lost his mother, Muthammal, when he was 15. Ayyappan was supported by his sister Subbalakshmi and his brother-in-law V. Krishnan.
Ayyappan started writing poetry when he was a student. He became involved in the Communist Party and joined the staff of Janayugom, the party newspaper. Ayyappan is well known for his heart touching poems and his bohemian lifestyle. Ayyappan, who got intoxicated by the creativity of turning the pain of the homeless into poetry, slept on shop verandas and wrote poems — which were untainted depiction of life. In his own words, destitution and insecurity transformed him into a poet. He can be considered the icon of anarchism in Kerala. He was a close friend of the late filmmaker John Abraham. Ayyappan was also famous as a great lover of sunlight (‘veyil’ in Malayalam language) and a passionate adherent of Communism.
“Though a bohemian in the tradition of P. Kunhiraman Nair, Malayalam’s celebrated poet of yesteryear, Ayyappan was amazingly rigorous in his poetic expression. Often, the street was his home, for homes seldom welcomed the poet in. But few writers in these times can claim to have had so vast a circle of loving and adoring friends, a large majority of them young men and women.”
His body was found abandoned in the streets of Thampanoor, Thiruvananthapuram, on 21 October 2010. Without recognising the poet, police took his body to General Hospital. His body was kept in hospital mortuary without anybody recognising who he was and later identified by noon on 22 October 2010. He was on his way to Chennai to accept the Asan Puraskaram on Saturday, 23 October 2010. According to other news papers like Gulf News, Gulf Times, The Times of India, Haryana News and Indian Express, he died in a local general hospital after being found unconscious at a roadside.
He won the Asan Smaraka Kavitha Puraskaram (Asan Poetry Prize), one of the highest literary awards in Malayalam literature, for the year 2010. Ayyappan was also a recipient of Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry in 1999. Ayyappan’s life has been documented on a short film, Ithrayum Yathabhagam, made by Odessa Sathyan, one of the founders of Odessa Collective, a people’s film movement in Kerala.