Renowned poet and translator of Malayalam literature, Attoor Ravi Varma passed away on Friday. He was 88 years old. Ravi Varma was being treated for pneumonia at a private hospital in Thrissur.
A recipient of the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award and the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for poetry and translation, Ravi Varma has also been honoured with the Ezhuthachan Puraskaram -- the highest literary award given by the Kerala government. He is regarded as one of the important pioneers of modernism in Malayalam poetry.
Hailing from a Thrissur village called Attoor, Ravi Varma was expelled from college during his pre-university course, for becoming involved in left-wing politics. He finished his studies from the Malabar Christian College and the University College, before joining the Presidency College in Chennai as a teacher. He later returned to Kerala and continued as a teacher, working at the Brennen College in Thalassery where he taught the likes of the current Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Law Minister AK Balan.
Ravi Varma's poems are noted for not following the metre. He has written three anthologies of poems, and translated four novels from Tamil to Malayalam, among other works.
Poet and lyricist Anvar Ali has taken a documentary on Attoor Ravi Varma in 2015, calling it Maruvili (Call from the other side). The film has conversations of Ravi Varma with his contemporaries, along with recitals and performances of his poems. He says in the documentary that he evolved into the modernist poet he is, through the interactions with some of his former students.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has paid condolences to the poet, calling him an advocate of modernism in Malayalam poetry. He is someone who opened the pathway to modernism through original and creative experiments, by moving away from the traditional modes of poetry, the CM noted.