Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Balamani Amma (19 July 1909 – 29 September 2004) was an Indian poet who wrote in Malayalam. Amma (Mother), Muthassi (Grandmother), and Mazhuvinte Katha (The story of the Axe) are some of her well-known works.

Life and Career

She was born as Balamani in a prominent Nair family in Nalappat, Thrissur, Kerala. She married V.M. Nair and became known as Balamani Amma. Her literary journey began at a young age, and she was greatly influenced by her father’s love for poetry.

Balamani Amma’s poetry is characterized by its lyrical quality, emotional depth, and feminist themes. Her poems often revolve around love, motherhood, and the challenges faced by women in society. She was part of the modernist literary movement in Malayalam literature and made significant contributions to the field. Balamani Amma’s poetry collections are highly regarded in Malayalam literature. Some of her notable works include:

  • Nivedyam (1952): This collection gained her widespread recognition and established her as a prominent poet in Malayalam literature.
  • Sopaanam (1964): Another influential collection that further solidified her reputation as a skilled poetess.
  • Balamani Amma’s literary achievements were recognized with several awards, including:
  • Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award (1954): She received this award for her collection “Nivedyam.”
  • Vayalar Award (1982): This award was presented to her for her contributions to Malayalam poetry.

Padma Bhushan (2005): Balamani Amma was posthumously honored with India’s third-highest civilian award for her remarkable contributions to literature.  She died on 29 September 2004 in Kochi, Kerala, India.

Award and Legacy

Balamani Amma’s legacy in Malayalam literature is profound. Her poems continue to be cherished for their introspective themes and evocative imagery. She often wrote about the complexities of womanhood, societal norms, and the human experience. Her poetry resonated with readers and became a source of inspiration for many.

Her daughter, Kamala Das (also known as Madhavikutty), was a renowned poet and writer in her own right. Kamala Das’s literary career was significantly influenced by her mother’s work, and she often spoke about the impact Balamani Amma had on her creative journey.

Balamani Amma’s poetry remains relevant and continues to be studied and celebrated in the literary circles of Kerala and beyond. Her ability to capture emotions and thoughts through her verses has secured her a lasting place in the pantheon of Malayalam literature.

On 19 July 2022, Google celebrated Balamani Amma’s 113th birthday with a doodle.

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