A commemorative postage stamp on the Birth Centenary of Mahakavi V. N. Menon, an Indian Malayalam poet, founder of Kerala Kalamandalam, credited with revitalizing traditional Keralite dance, Kathakali :
Issued on Oct 15, 1978
Issued for : The Indian Posts and Telegraphs Department feels privileged to issue a commemorative postage stamp in his honour.
Description of Design : The design of the stamp is vertical and depicts a portrait of the personality alongwith a picture of Kathakali.
The first day cover shows Koothampalam (Auditorium) at Kalamandalam, Kerala.
Type : Block of 4 Stamps, Mint Condition
Colour : Magenta and Brown
Denomination : 25 Paise
Overall size : 3.91 X 2.90 cms.
Printing size : 3.55 X 2.54 cms.
Perforation : 13 x 13
Watermark : Unwatermarked paper
Number printed : 30,00,000
Number per issue sheet : 35
Printing process : Photogravure
Designed and printed at : India Security Press
Name : Vallathol Narayana Menon
Born on Oct 16, 1878 at Chenara, Tirur Malabar district, Madras Presidency, British India [now Tirur, Malappuram district, Kerala]
Died on Mar 13, 1958 at Kerala, India
- The poetic career of ValIathol Narayana Menon extends from the era of the classical tradition in Malayalam literature to the modern age of social protest. His poetry stirred the patriotic fervour of the freedom fighters of Kerala.
- Vallathol was born in Chennara village near Ponnani in Kerala. In contrast to his progressive and revolutionary image in later years, his education was on traditional lines. He studied Sanskrit poetry and grammar and was trained in astrology and the ayurvedic system of medicine. His genius, however, refused to be confined to these narrow limits. He started writing poetry at the age of thirteen.
- The first major work which brought him into limelight at the age of twenty-seven was his translation from Sanskrit into Malayalam of Valmiki‘s Ramayana. Significantly, his last major work was also a translation, that of Rig Veda which he completed a few months before he passed away.
- His poetry passed through three distinct stages – the classicism of the early days, the nationalism of the later years and the progressivism of his last days. His poems are too numerous to be listed here, but a few names like Sishyanum Makanum, MagdaIana Mariam, Kochu Seeta are worth mentioning, as they have made deep impression on the minds of Malayalam readers of yester years. Many of his famous lyrical works have been collected and published under the title Sahitya Manjari in thirteen volumes.
- During the Vaikom temple entry satyagraha, he met Mahatma Gandhi whom he called his guru in a very popular poem he wrote about the Mahatma. His sense of commitment to his country’s freedom made him refuse an award from the then Prince of Wales who was visiting India.
- The performing arts of Kerala, especially Kathakali and Mohiniattam which were gradually dying out, were encouraged by him. To give the arts its rightful place he founded the “Kerala Kalamandalam” at Cheruthuruthy in 1927. It is now a world famous institution, imparting training in classical dance forms. Both in literature and fine arts, Vallathol is one of the best representatives of the cultural renaissance of modern India.
- He died at the age of 80, full of honours. He had the satisfaction of seeing a new society take shape, a society for the creation of which his poetry had made valuable contributions.