Renowned poetess and social activist Sugathakumari, who was getting treated for coronavirus infection at Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital, passes away after her conditions declined. The Sahitya Academy recipient was on ventilator, eventually succumbing to bronchopneumonia.
A fierce activist, Sugathakumari protested against a private airport project at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta and participated in the movement against a hydroelectric project at Silent Valley in Palakkad in 1973. She was the founder secretary of the Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithi and also spearheaded the Save Silent Valley protest. Abhaya: Where the mind is without fear, is a mental health home set up by her, which stemmed out of concern towards patients requiring mental healthcare.
She received Ezhuthachan Puraskaram in 2009, Kerala Sahitya Akademi award in 1980 for Pathirapookal, Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award in 1982 for Rathrimazha, the Odakuzhal Award in 1984 for Ambalamani and was awarded with Padma Shri in 2006 in recognition of her poetry. She has also contributed to children’s literature with Vaazhathen and Oru Kula Poovum Koodi.
Born as the daughter of freedom fighter Bodheswaran and VS Karthiyani, she had a humanitarian spirit that reached everyone in need. She was fierce when it came to standing for one’s right and protested against the forces that tried to disrupt the harmony of nature.