G. Sankara Kurup
Award Name : Jnanpith Award
Year of Award : 1965
Award for : Literature
Location : Ernākulam, Kerala, India
Mahakavi G.Shankara Kurup was born in a Hindu family of Nayanthode of old Kochi in the year 1901. He was greatly inspired by his uncle Govinda Kurup who took initiative in his studies. Instead of sending him to school, his uncle taught him Sanskrit and primary lessons of literature as well as Malayalam. Later Shankara Kurup added the first letter of his uncle’s name as his initial and he was known whole throughout his life in the name of ‘G’. G wrote his first poem when he was only 4 years old. After completing his school studies, G.Shankara Kurup worked as Malayalam teacher in many schools. At first he worked at Kottamam High School; later at Thiruvillwamala Higher Secondary School and at Maharaja’s College at Ernakulam from where he retired at the age of 55. Most of the works he had written are during vacation holidays.
His first poem was published in 1918. But he is known most for his translation of Geethanjali to Malayalam and Odakkuzhal (Flute) – Collection poems published in the year 1950 for which he won the highest literary award of India - Jnanpith in the first year of its organization. He has also led a political life and was elected as the member of Rajya Sabha in the year 1968. He served the country for the term of 5 years. When he got Jnanapith Award, he reserved a small amount of that prize money and started a new award for Malayalam known as Odakkuzhal. In addition to poems, he has written a few essays too. Gadhyopahaaram and Ormayude Olangalil are most popular among them. Collection of 25 poems, dramas and essays – thus total of about 40 are his valuable contributions to Malayalam literature.