People’s poet Ayyappan gets a ‘royal’ funeral in Kerala

October 26th, 2010 - 8:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 26 (IANS) People’s poet A. Ayyappan lived a bohemian life - he lived and died on the streets. But ironically, he was given a grand state funeral here Tuesday and was bid farewell by leading lights of Kerala politics and society.

The list of people who came to pay their respects included Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, leader of opposition Oommen Chandy, state Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan apart from several other senior politicians.
Ayyappan, 61, was considered as the last remaining icon of anarchism in the state.

He was known for his touching poems and his bohemian lifestyle and his creativity was at its best when he was in an intoxicated state.

Ayyappan was knocked down by a vehicle Thursday while he was headed to Chennai to receive the Kumaran Asan Puraskaram, one of the highest literary awards in Malayalam literature, for the year 2010.

According to the police, the poet was brought to the General Hospital Thursday night after he was found unconscious near the Thiruvananthapuram railway station.

He passed away late in the night but his identity remained unknown to police and hospital authorities.

It was only the next day afternoon that his identity was known and the culture department took over the responsibility of the funeral.

State Culture Minister M.A. Baby arrived at the Medical College mortuary in the morning and took the body in a motorcade to the poet’s sister’s house.

Ayyappan’s body was later placed at the VJT Hall here, enabling thousands to pay their last respects.

Contrary to the funeral he was given, Ayyappan lived the life of a recluse and was often seen on the city roads in a dishevelled state. A few months back, Baby had taken the lead to admit him in a hospital here.

After a few days of treatment he was shifted to Gandhi Home for the aged and poor but Ayyappan’s nature was such that he could not be kept there for long and soon returned to his old ways.

Ayyappan, who received the Kerala Sahithya Akademi Award in 1999, has has some 2,000 poems collected in about 20 volumes to his credit.

His collections include “Balikkurippukal”, “Chitharogaasupathriyile Dinangal”, “Pravaasiyude Geetham”, “Malamillaatha Paamb”, “Karupp”, “Jail Muttathe Pookkal” and “Yuddhathinte Chinham” among others.

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