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Kumaran Asan


N. Kumaran Asan (1873-1924) also known as Mahakavi Kumaran Asan, (the name prefix Mahakavi (Awarded by Madras University in the Year 1922) meaning great poet and the suffix Asan meaning scholar or teacher) was a Malayalam poet, philosopher and social reformer of kerala. More than that he is one of honored disciple of Sree Narayana Guru. Kumaran Asan was known as one of the famous triumvirate poets of Kerala in the first half of the 20th century.
Kumaran Asan initiated a revolution in Malayalam poetry in the first quarter of the 20th century, transforming it from metaphysical to lyrical.Deep moral and spiritual commitment is evident in Asan's poetry. His works are eloquent testimony of poetic concentration and dramatic contextualization.


Some of the earlier works of the poet were Subramanya Sathakam and Sankara Sathakam, wherein Asan voiced his devotional aspirations. His short poem Veena Poovu(fallen flower) is a literary classic. It paved the way for a new movement in Malayalam literature. His elegy Prarodanam mourns the death of his contemporary and friend A. R. Rajaraja Varma, the famous Grammarian. His Khanda Kavyas ( poems) like Nalini, Leela, Karuna and Chandaalabhikshuki, won critical acclaim as well as popularity. In Chintaavishtayaaya Seetha (Seetha Lost in Thought) he displays his poetic artistry, while in Duravastha, he patiently and skillfully tears down the barriers created by feudalism, orthodoxy and casteism and consummates the dictum of the Guru, "One Caste, One Religion, One God for man".
He wrote the epic poem Buddha Charitha for which he got inspiration from Edwin Arnold's Light of Asia. While in Duravastha, he revealed his revolutionary zeal for fighting caste distinctions; a few other poetic works had a distinct Buddhist slant.
The Mahakavi lived for fifty years. His life was tragically cut short by a boat accident in January 1924 while travelling from Kollam to Alappuzha to attend a function as the chief guest. The boat capsized at Pallana. But the trail he blazed in the literary and social firmament of Kerala is an inspiration for any student of contemporary history.

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