85-year-old UA Khader, a Sahitya Akademi award winner, had been undergoing treatment for cancer for some time.

Writer UA Khader He is looking towards left and is smilingImage credit: FB / Pinarayi Vijayan
news Death Sunday, December 13, 2020 - 08:37

Prominent Kerala writer UA Khader passed away at a private hospital in Kozhikode on Saturday. An active participant in literary and social gatherings in Kozhikode for decades, 85-year old Khader had been undergoing treatment for cancer for some time, family sources said.

A recipient of various honours, including the Sahitya Akademi award, Khader had authored hundreds of books, including novels, novellas, short stories, travelogues and non-fiction and his works had been translated into various languages, including English, Hindi and Kannada.

Born in 1935 to Moidootti Haji, a migrant to the then Burma (Myanmar), and Burmese citizen Mamaidi, Khader lost his mother three days after his birth. His family resettled in his father's hometown Koyilandy in 1942 following reverse migration from Burma post the second World War.

His novel "Thrikkottur Peruma" won him the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 1983. He received the Kendriya Sahitya Akademi Award in 2009 for his novella "Thrikkotlur Novellukar." Khader had also written a travelogue, "Ormakalude Pegoda," describing his nostalgic trip to his birthplace Yangon in Myanmar, after 70 years of his migration to India.

He was the president of Purogamana Kala Sahitya Sangham, an organization of artists, writers and art and literature enthusiasts based in Kerala. UA Khader had also held the post as the chairman of Kerala Sahitya Akademi and was also the member of ‘Kerala Bhasha Institute.’

Condoling his death, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Khader was a writer who had engraved local history in his stories and his demise had caused irreparable loss to the Malayalam literature in general and to the progressive literary movement in particular.

Khader took a secular and progressive stand throughout his life and reflected that in his creative literature, he said.

"His departure at this crucial juncture is a great loss to the cultural spheres of Kerala, including literature, and to democratic values including secularism, " the Chief Minister added in his message.

Born to a Malayali father and Burmese mother, Khader's creative space was Malabar and its myths and stories, Opposition Leader Chennithala said while condoling the writer’s death.

“He was never confined to divisions like language, region, religion or belief. He strongly held on to values like humanism, democracy and secularism and he upheld these in his works,” Minister for Culture AK Balan said in his condolence message.

Watch video: UA Khader's interview in Media One

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