BY ASHRAF PADANNA
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Poet Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan, who took the Malayalam poetry to the masses and went on to become almost an icon in the eighties, died in a private hospital in Pathanamthitta on Monday at the age of 73.
A former legislator backed by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), MR Ramakrishna Panickar, popularly known as Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan, was under treatment for blood cancer.
He leaves his wife Santa, son Gita Krishnan and daughter Gita Devi, both doctors.
Kadammanitta had played a vital role in reviving interest in poetry by holding thousands of recital sessions in every nook and corner of Kerala.
His poetry was widely appreciated for its force, energy and folk touch making it enjoyable even to common man. After his retirement from the Postal Audit Department, he became active in the CPI-M's cultural arm Purogamana Kala Sahitya Sangham (Progressive Association for Art and Letters) and in 1966 he won the Assembly elections defeating former minister MV Raghavan from Aranmula..
A recipient of Kerala Sahithya Academy award and Basheer Puraskaram instituted by Doha-based Pravasi, his poetry is influenced by Patayani songs of his native village.
With his thought provoking poems, he became one of the voices of rebellion in modern Malayalam literature.
Kadammanitta was also closely associated with the state library council and also served as its president.
During his college days, he was involved with the Student Federation of India (SFI) as well as the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). In 1992, he became the vice president of the Purogamana Kala Sahitya and its president a year later.
His first poem Njan was published in Sameekshan edited by M.Govindan, a humanist who was a great influence on the poet.
His popular poems include Shanta, Kurathi, Kattalan, Mazha Peyyunnu Maddalam Kottunnu, Chakkala and Kozhi.