Friday, 2 December 2011

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
January 21, 1908
Thalayolaparambu, Vaikom,Kottayam
July 5, 1994 (aged 86)
Novelist, short story writer,
Novel, Short story
Notable award(s)
Padma Shri, Sahitya Akademi Award

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer is regarded as one of the prominent literary figures ever existed in India. He was a legend in Kerala.

He was one of those outspoken figures who revolutionized Malayalam Literature, and Thus the World Literature itself with his dauntless sarcasm, satire, and black humor.

Often referred to as the Beypore Sultan (the king of Beypore) by the colleagues, he was one of the prominent figures behind the artistical, economical, and social reformation of the Kerala Culture.

His novel Shabdangal (The Voices) was once banned due to its echo that cyclonized a once feudalistic society.

He is also regarded as the translators nightmare. This is mainly because of the colloquial touch he added to his writings, which ethnically speaking would lose its humor and meaning when translated to other languages.

He was the sufi among the writers and and the greatest exponent of Gandhian Thought.

He was awarded with Padma Sri in 1982 for his overall contributions to nation as a freedom fighter, writer, and as a political activist.

Writing style


Basheer is known for his unconventional style of language. He did not differentiate between literary language and the language spoken by the commons and did not care about the grammatical correctness of his sentences. Initially, even his publishers were unappreciative of the beauty of this language; they edited out or modified conversations. Basheer was outraged to find his original writings transcribed into "standardized" Malayalam, devoid of freshness and natural flow, and he forced them to publish the original one instead of the edited one. Basheer's brother Abdul Khader was a Malayalam teacher. Once while reading one of the stories, he asked Basheer, "where are Aakhyas and aakhyathas (related with Malayalam grammar) in this...?". Basheer shouted at him saying that "I am writing in normal Malayalam, how people speak. and you don't try to find your stupid 'aakhya and aakhyaada' in this"!. This points out to the writing style of Basheer, without taking care of any grammar, but only in his own village language. Though he made funny remarks regarding his lack of knowledge in Malayalam, he had a very thorough knowledge about Malayalam.
Basheer's contempt for grammatical correctness is exemplified by his statement Ninte Lodukkoos Aakhyaadam! ("Your 'silly stupid' grammar!") to his brother, who sermonizes him about the importance of grammar (Pathummayude Aadu).


An astute observer of human character, he skillfully combined humour and pathos in his works. Love, hunger and poverty are recurring themes in his works. There is enormous variety in them – of narrative style, of presentation, of philosophical content, of social comment and commitment. His association with India's independence struggle, the experiences during his long travels and the conditions that existed in Kerala, particularly in the neighbourhood of his home and among the Muslim community – all had a major impact on them. Politics and prison,homosexuality, all were grist to his mill. All of Basheer's love stories have found their way into the hearts of readers; perhaps no other writer has had such an influence on the way Malayalis view of love. The major theme of all Basheer stories is love and humanity. In the storyMuchittu Kalikkarente Makal (The Card Sharp's Daughter), when Sainaba comes out of the water after stealing his bananas, Mandan Muthappa says only one thing: "Sainaba go home and dry your hair else you may fall sick." This fine thread of humanism can be experienced in almost all his stories.

ജീവിതം യൌവന തീഷ്ണവും ,ഹൃദയം പ്രേമസുരഭിലവുമായിരുന്ന സാഹിത്യത്തിന്‍റെ-അസുലഭ കാലഘട്ടത്തില്‍ ജീവിച്ചിരുന്ന മഹാനായ "എഴുത്തുതൊഴിലാളിക്കു" പ്രണാമം....

Published works


#TitleTranslation in EnglishYear of Publishing
1PremalekhanamThe Love Letter1943
2BaalyakaalasakhiChildhood Companion1944
3ShabdangalThe Voices1947
4NtuppuppaakkoraanaendaarnnuMy Grandad Had an Elephant1951
5Maranaththinte NizhalilIn the Shadow of Death1951
6Muchcheettukalikkaarante MakalThe Daughter of the Cardshark1951
7Sthalaththe Pradhaana DivyanThe Principal Divine of the Place1953
8Aanavaariyum PonkurishumElephant Scooper and Golden Cross1953
9JeevithanizhalppaadukalThe Shadows of Life1954
10Pathummayude AaduPaaththumma's Goat1959
12Thaaraa Specials1968
13MaanthrikapoochchaThe Magic Cat1968
14PrempattaThe Loving Cockroach (Published posthumously)2006

Short Stories

#TitleTranslation in EnglishYear of Publishing
1JanmadinamThe Birthday1945
2OrmakkurippuJottings from Memory1946
3Anargha NimishamInvaluable Moment (See Anal Haq)1946
4Viddikalude SwargamFools' Paradise1948
5Paavappettavarudaey VaeshyaThe Prostitute of the Poor1952
6Vishwavikhkhyaathamaaya MookkuThe World-renowned Nose1954
7VishappuThe Hunger1954
8Oru Bhagavadgeethayum Kuraey MulakalumA Bhagavadgeetha and Some Breasts1967
10Chirikkunna MarappaavaThe Laughing Wooden Doll1975
11Bhoomiyudaey AvakaashikalThe Inheritors of the Earth1977
12ShinkidimunkanThe Fools' God Man1991
13Yaa Ilaahi!Oh God! (published posthumously)1997
14Jeevitham Oru AnugrahamLife is a Gift (published posthumously)2000

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