Balamani Amma
Balamani Amma

Who is the grandmother of Malayalam literature Balamani Amma celebrated by Google Doodle today?

Google is celebrating Amma's 113th birthday & her significant literary contributions, read on to know more

Who is Balamani Amma, the Indian poet that Google is honouring today on her 113th birth anniversary? Well, there's so much to say and sing in her praises that we cannot wait to start!

Also, can we first just appreciate Google for its dedications by Doodle? It not only connects the current generations with the older roots and gives them something to be immensely proud of, but also honours those who should never really be forgotten for their contributions to the world.

A life well lived

Born in the Madras presidency of British India on July 19, 1909, Balamani Amma never received formal education. She was, in fact, trained and taught by her maternal uncle Nalapat Narayana Menon who was a popular Malayali poet. She grew up reading his impressive work and looking upto him.

Amma dedicated an elegy called 'Lokantharangalil' on his death.

Having published more than 20 anthologies under her name, Amma grew up to become a prolific poet. She garnered several accolades like the Padma Bhushan, Sahitya Akademi Award, Saraswati Samman and many more for her brilliant literary work.

Not just this, she was also recognised by former ruler of Cochin Kingdom, Parikshith Thampuran. She received the Sahithya Nipuna Puraskaram from him!

Here's another fun fact — Amma was actually the mother of the feminist revolutionary and modern poet Kamala Surraiya Das! Das talked a lot about her mother, and wrote about her. She had also translated one of Amma's poems, 'The Pen'.

"My mother's uncle was a writer, quite well known too. Nalapat Narayana Menon. He had nothing else to do but write and I have watched him work from morning till night. I think that was a blissful life," Das had said in one interview.

The 'Grandmother of Malayalam literature'

It is significant to know about the contributions of Amma to Malayalam literature and understand why she was renowned, as we celebrate her birth anniversary with Google.

When she was 19, Amma had married V M Nair who was the managing director and editor of a widely distributed and read Malayalam newspaper, 'Mathrubhumi'.

She, as described by Das, could afford the time and energy to write which was unlike most women of her age. Das explained that her father was 'old-fashioned' and employed servants to take care of household chores, thus, rendering time to Amma to work on her poetry. And we thank Nair for doing that!

She published her first poem, 'Kooppukai', after a couple years of marriage in 1930. Amma came to be known as the "poetess of motherhood" as her initial poetry glorified the feeling of being a mother.

In addition, the poet and writer also wrote several translations and prose works.

It was the poems wherein she expressed her love for the children and grandchildren that later earned her the worthy titles of Amma (Mother) and Muthassi (Grandmother) of Malayalam poetry.

Some of her well-known works are 'Amma', 'Sandhya' and Mazhuvinte Katha (The Story of the Axe). The work that won her the Sahitya Akademi Award was 'Muthassi' in 1965. The collection of poems she wrote between 1959 to 1986, 'Nivedyam', earned her the Saraswati Samman in 1995.

Amma passed away in 2004 and was cremated with full state honours.

"And around me dance the butterflies, swinging their multi-coloured robes.

This world, richly adorned, invites me to a glimpse of its magnificent carnival.

But mine eyes are drunk with the beauty of my home, laburnum-garlanded by the all beholding sun....

The world turns into a fairyland, wafted out of their enchanting selves.

And my soul is merged in their flower-like forms."

(Lines from Amma's poem 'The Housewife' translated by the author.)

Balamani Amma
Google Translate में जुड़ीं 8 और भारतीय भाषाएँ;संस्कृत, कोंकणी, भोजपुरी जैसी भाषाओँ में अब अनुवाद आसान

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