S. K. Pottekkatt

Sankaran Kutty Pottekkatt is popularly known as S. K. Pottekkatt and he is one of the greatest names of Malayalam literature. He is the Jnanpith Award for the year 1980 for his classic work – Oru Desathinte Katha (The Story of a Locale). His works are regarded as the best travelogues of Malayalam literature. His works have been translated to many languages including English, Italian, Russian, German and Czech, and other Indian languages too. Greatest of his works are – Oru Theruvinte Katha and Oru Desathinte Katha. He was a traveller and has travelled the whole nations and written travelogues.

S. K. Pottekkatt was born in Kozhikode, on March 14, 1913. After completing his school and college studies he dedicated his full time to learn classic works of different languages. From 1937 to 1939, he worked as a teacher at Kozhikode Gujarati School. Later he shifted to different jobs and places. He has served as the Member of Parliament during 1962-1967 and his last work was based on his experiences at Delhi. However he couldn’t complete the work of ‘North Avenue’ and died of a stroke on August 6, 1982, aged 69. Actually two years earlier, his wife passed away. He was fully upset and his condition deteriorated.

Pottekkatt’s first story “Rajaneethi” was published in the Zamorin’s College magazine in 1928. He became a well known name during 1930’s and his works – Makane Konna Madyam and Hindu Muslim Maithri need special mention. His works were published in magazines those days. By the 40s, he had established himself as a leading writer of fiction in Malayalam. In his travelogue ‘Vazhiyambalangal’ he illustrated his journey to Mumbai. Then he was associated with Indian freedom struggle and he wrote his first novel while he was in Mumbai – Naadanpremam (1941), a romantic short novel. It was followed by Yavanikakku Pinnil and Vishakanyaka. From there on, he began to quote his journeys as notes and got them published. Those travelogues are greatest of Malayalam literature. He has travelled Himalayas, Cairo, Europe, London, Egypt, Africa and many more. He has also published poetry, drama and collection of essays.

His biographical novel Oru Desattinte Katha is still regarded as the best work of Pottekkatt which won him Jnanpith, Kerala Sahithya Academy Award and Kendra Sahithya Academy Award. Oru theruvinte katha has also won him Kerala Sahithya Academy Award.