Sugathakumari, Malayalam poet and Padma Shri awardee, dies of coronavirus complications at 86
A winner of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Sugathakumari was also the first chairperson of the Kerala State Women’s Commission and an activist closely associated with the Save Silent Valley agitation.
Malayalam poet and activist Sugathakumari passed away on Wednesday due to COVID-19 complications in a Thiruvananthapuram hospital, reports Indian Express. The poet had been in hospital for a week after she contracted bronchopneumonia after testing positive for the coronavirus, reports Manorama. She was 86.
Her first poem was published in 1957. Among her notable works are Ambalamani, Pathirappookkal and Manalezhuthu.
Sugathakumari went on to win the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award twice, in 1968 and 1978, and a Padma Shri in 2006, as well as the Saraswati Samman in 2013. She has also been the recipient of many awards instituted for Malayalam literature specifically, such as the Odakkuzhal Award and Vayalar Award.
The child of freedom fighter Bodheswaran and Sanskrit scholar VK Karthyayini Amma, the poet's name was closely associated with the Save Silent Valley agitation in Palakkad. She even wrote a poem titled 'Silent Valley', and the subject of many of her works is nature and the environment.
She also took part in a protest in 2018 in support of the nuns in Ernakulam who had spoken out against a priest accused of raping their peer, reports The News Minute.
In 1992, she started Abhaya, a home for destitute women which also served as a care centre for people with mental health issues. She was also the first chairperson of the Kerala State Women’s Commission.
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