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N. Kumaran Asan
Born (1873-04-12)12 April 1873
Kaayikkara, Thiruvananthapuram, British India
Died 16 January 1924(1924-01-16)
Pallana, British India
Occupation Poet, philosopher
Notable works Veena poovu

N. Kumaran Asan (1873–1924), also known as Mahakavi Kumaran Asan (the prefix Mahakavi, awarded by Madras University in 1922, means "great poet" and the suffix Asan means "scholar" or "teacher"), was one of the triumvirate poets of Kerala, South India.[1] He was also a philosopher, a social reformer and a disciple of Sree Narayana Guru.

Kumaran Asan initiated a revolution in Malayalam poetry in the first quarter of the 20th century, transforming it from the metaphysical to the lyrical. Deep moral and spiritual commitment is evident in Asan's poetry. His works are an eloquent testimony of poetic concentration and dramatic contextualisation.

Early life[edit]

Asan was born in a merchant family belonging to the Ezhava community[2] in April 1873 in Kayikkara village, Chirayinkeezhu taluk, north of Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, south India. Named Kumaran, he was the second son in a family of nine children. His father, Narayanan Perungudi, was well versed in Malayalam and Tamil.His mother, Kaali. Asan inherited his taste for Kathakali and classical music. Kumaru trained in mathematics and Sanskrit for which he had a passion. Even though through his father's efforts, he got a job as a primary school teacher and an accountant to a wholesaler at the age of 14, he quit the job two years later to pursue higher studies in Sanskrit. He undertook a studentship in poetry under Manamboor Govindan Asan. He wished to learn Yoga and Tantra and worked as an apprentice in a Muruga temple at Vakkom. He composed a few devotional songs for the benefit of regular worshippers at this temple.

In 1917 Asan married Bhanumathiamma, the daughter of Thachakudy Kumaran – younger brother of Padmanabhan Palpu's father. . Bhanumathiamma, who was an active social worker, later remarried after Asan's death and died in 1975.[citation needed]

Meeting Narayana Guru[edit]

Kumaran Asan (standing left) with Narayana Guru (seated middle).

Kumaran was dogged by ill-health all through his early life. When he was eighteen, Narayana Guru visited his house at the request of his father. Kumaran was bedridden at that time. Narayana Guru suggested that Kumaran should stay with him and become his disciple. The little boy found the invitation irresistible.

Kumaran's meeting with Narayana Guru can be compared to the meeting of Naren with Sri Ramakrishna. While Naren became a full fledged Swami, Kumaran continued as a lay disciple of Narayana Guru and made substantial contributions in the fields of poetry, literature and social renaissance.

Swamy took the fledgling devotee under his care and in 1895 Kumaran was sent to Bangalore for three years for higher studies in Sanskrit, at the Sree Chamarajendra Sanskrit College. He specialised in Tarka sastra, though he could not take the final exam. Leaving Bangalore, he came to Madras and after a brief stay, left for Calcutta to join the Sanskrit College. His teacher was Mahamahopadhyaya Kamakhya Nath who encouraged the poetic gift of his student and prophesised that he would one day become a famous poet.

S N D P Yogam was founded in 1903; Asan was the first Secretary and in 1904 he started a news paper called Vivekodayam which was the mouth of the S N D P Yogam.

Early works[edit]

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. Raja Raja 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 or The Meditations of Sita) he displays his poetic artistry, while in Duravastha, he patiently and skilfully 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 Hindu/Buddhist slant.

He died aged 51 as a result of a boat accident in January 1924 while travelling to Kollam from a function in Alappuzha. The boat capsized at Pallana and all on board drowned, except a priest. Kumaranasan was the only poet in Malayalam who became mahakavi without writing a mahakavyam.

The Kumaran Asan National Institute of Culture at Thonnakkal was founded in 1958 in his memory, and includes a small house which he had built on his land.[1][3]


Handwriting of Kumaran Asan : From the notebooks of Asan kept at Thonnakkal Asan museum
  • Sthothrakrithikal (1901)
This is a collection of poems. The poems published in this volume are longer than those published in Manimaala.
  • Saundaryalahari (1901)
Asan scripted this epoch-making poem in 1907 during his sojourn in Jain Medu, Palakkad.[4] A highly philosophical poem, 'Veena Poovu' is an allegory of the transience of the mortal world, which is depicted through the description of the varied stages in the life of a flower. Asan describes in such detail about its probable past and the position it held. It is an intense sarcasm on people on high powers/positions finally losing all those. The first word Ha, and the last word Kashtam of the entire poem is often considered as a symbolism of him calling the world outside "Ha! kashtam".
  • Oru Simhaprasavam (1909)
  • Nalini (Subtitle: Allengkil Oru Sneham) (1911)
  • Leela (1914)
A deep love story in which Leela leaves madanan, her lover and returns to find him in forest in a pathetic condition. She thus realises the fundamental fact 'Mamsanibhadamalla ragam' (Love is not an artefact of flesh)
  • Sribuddhacharitham (1915)
This is an epic poem (perhaps Kumaran Asan's longest work), written in couplets and divided into five parts.
  • Baalaraamaayanam (1916)
This is a shorter epic poem consisting of 267 verses. Most of these verses are couplets, with the exception of the last three quatrains. There are, therefore, 540 lines in all.
  • Graamavrikshattile Kuyil (1918)
  • Prarodanam (1919)
  • Chintaavishtayaaya Sita (1919)
  • Pushpavaadi (1922)
  • Duravasthha (1922)
  • Chandaalabhikshuki (1922)
This poem, divided into four parts and consisting of couplets, describes an untouchable beggar-woman" (also the name of the poem) who approaches Lord Ananda near Sravasti.
  • Karuna (1923)
  • Manimaala (1924)
This is a collection of short poems.
  • Vanamaala (1925)
This is a larger collection of poems of varying length.

Kumaran Asan also wrote many other poems. Some of these poems are listed in the book Asante Padyakrthikal under the name "Mattu Krthikal" (Other Works):

  • Sadaachaarasathakam
  • Sariyaaya Parishkaranam
  • Bhaashaaposhinisabhayodu
  • Saamaanyadharmangal
  • Subrahmanyapanchakam
  • Mrthyanjayam
  • Pravaasakaalaththu Naattile Ormakal
This is another collection of poems that come from various letters Kumaran Asan wrote over the course of several years. None of the poems were longer than thirty-two lines.
  • Koottu Kavitha

The other poems are lesser known. Only a few of them have names:

  • Kavikalkkupadesam
  • Mangalam
  • Oru Kathth
This is another one of Asan's letter-poems.
  • Randu Aasamsaapadyangal

See also[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumaran_Asan — Please support Wikipedia.
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6897 videos foundNext > 

Chandameriya Poovilum - Poem by Kumaranasan

Nice poem.

Karuna - Kumaranasan - Aathira Madhu

Kumaranasan Karuna : My style - Expecting your comments / Suggestions.


'പൂജ്യരാം വൈദികന്മാരെ കനിഞ്ഞിവൻ യോജ്യമല്ലെങ്കിലുമൊന്നോതുന്നേൻ രാജ്യത്തെയോർത്തും മതത്തെയോർത്തും പിന്നെ പ്രാജ്യരാം ...

Leela -Kumaranasan

ലീല -കുമാരനാശാന്‍ കൂടുതല്‍ കാവ്യാലാപനങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് http://kavyamsugeyam.blogspot.in/ കാണുക.


വീണപൂവ്-കുമാരനാശാന്‍ കൂടുതല്‍ കാവ്യാലാപനങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് http://kavyamsugeyam.blogspot.in/ കാണുക.

Nalini kumaranasan

നളിനി -കുമാരനാശാൻ സ്നേഹമാണഖിലസാരമൂഴിയിൽ സ്നേഹസാരമിഹ സത്യമേകമാം ' കൂടുതല്‍ കാവ്യാലാപനങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് http://kavyamsugeyam.blogspot.in/ കാണുക കവിതയുടെ ...

Karuna by Kumaranasan

Kumaranasan was a poet, philosopher and a great social activist. Kumaranasan initiated the poetic revolution in the first quarter of the 20th century, to tra...

Chinthavishtayaya Seetha-Kumaranasan

ചിന്താവിഷടയായ സീത -കുമാരനാശാന്‍ കൂടുതല്‍ കാവ്യാലാപനങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് http://kavyamsugeyam.blogspot.in/ കാണുക.

Seetha - Kumaran Asan

Poetry: Leela by Kumaranasan

Watch Poet O V Usha and Dr Pudusserry Ramachandran paying tribute to the poet Kumaranasan with the Mambazham team. http://www.istream.in/

6897 videos foundNext > 

59 news items

The Hindu

The Hindu
Mon, 01 Dec 2014 13:13:20 -0800

... like the Jnanpith Award winner O.N.V. Kurup, Vayalar Ramavarma, Thirunellur Karunakaran, and Kureepuzha Sreekumar, the legendary Kathaprasangam exponent V. Sambasivan, and even linked to the tragic and untimely death of Kumaran Asan.

The New Indian Express

The New Indian Express
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:07:30 -0700

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kumaran Asan National Institute will be established at Thonnackal in the district during the term of the present UDF government, Cultural Affairs Minister K C Joseph has said. The Minister was speaking after inaugurating the ...
Tue, 25 Nov 2014 23:07:30 -0800

Kumaran Asan, the great Malayalam poet, has a long narrative poem called “Karuna” (Compassion) based on the legend of Vasavadatta, the courtesan who fell in love with Upagupta, a disciple of the Buddha who did not reciprocate her love, but brought ...
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 05:52:42 -0800

Thiruvananthapuram: Actors Remya Nambeesan and Jayasoorya have been roped in to star in an untitled film that will also feature the children of prominent Malayalam actors. Five star kids will make their debut through the movie, produced by Sandra ...
Times of India
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:55:02 -0700

THRISSUR: 'The Poetry and Renaissance: Kumaran Asan Birth Centenary Volume', which had made an impact on Kerala's intellectual life in the mid-1970s, will be republished 40 years after its original publication. The book was a special issue of ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 05:33:45 -0700

This school was established in 1966 in memory of the renowned Malayalam poet Mahakavi Kumaran Asan by Asan Memorial Association, which was formed in 1965 by like-minded Malayalees in the city. Founder-secretary of the Association A. K. Gopalan ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 02:56:15 -0700

I made a documentary on Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer and poet Kumaran Asan. I also directed a telefilm called Mash,” says Sasidharan, a self confessed film buff. He recalls watching MGR films wide eyed as a child. “But it was while studying psychology at ...
The Hindu
Sun, 09 Nov 2014 19:00:00 -0800

... such generalisations and said there's nothing or no one like any other,” said Mr. Radhakrishnan at a function organised at Nanappa Art Gallery to introduce the reprinted volume, which was originally brought out as a 'Kumaran Asan Birth Centenary ...

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