The 14th death anniversary of the Rationalist, writer, ex-serviceman and activist, Pavanan (Puthan Veetil Narayanan Nair a.k.a., Puthan Veetil Narayanan) has been observed on June 22, 2020 (today). As part of remembering Pavanan, the Rationalists Association of Kerala is organising a Webinar this evening at 7.00 P.M., presided over by Advocate K.N. Anil Kumar. While T.K. Shakthidharan will deliver the welcome speech, Dr. Aju Narayanan will inaugurate the Webinar. Advocate Rajagopal Vakathanam will deliver Pavanan Rememberance speech and the spouse of the author, Parvathy Pavanan, whose Memoir had won the Best Work in Autobiography by the Kerala Sahitya Academy, will reminisce about the memories of her husband. Iringil Krishnan will deliver the Vote of thanks.
Born on October 26, 1925 at Vayalalam, near Thalassery in the Kannur District of Kerala, , to Mahakavi Kuttamath Kunniyur Kunhisankara Kurup (Poet) and Puthan Veetil Devaki Amma, Pavanan (The abreviated pseudonym from his name Puthan Veetil Narayanan Nair) was a great literary critic of his times. In fact, the late Malayalam poet, left wing activist and lyricist, P Bhaskaran who was instrumental in changing his name from PV Narayanan Nair to Pavanan. He was also a rationalist and left wing political activist. Pavanan’s early part of education was from Raja’s High School in Nileshwaram in the present Kasargode District of Kerala, followed by Brennen College High School, also in Thalassery.
After his education, Pavanan had served in the Army of British India between 1944 and 1946. After serving the Army, Pavanan joined the Cooperative Department in North Kerala as an Inspector for a brief while and in 1949, he took up the cudgels of journalism as his career in tandem with left-wing political activism as well. He joined Jayakeralam, a Malayalam journal, which was published from the then Madras (now Chennai). After the initial foray into journalism, he moved to Pourashakthi as a Sub-Editor from 1952-53, only to move to Deshabhimani, the mouthpiece of the undivided Communist Party of India as a staff reporter.
What is more, during the period when the first Communist Ministry was formed in Kerala State, Pavanan was a correspondent of Deshabhimani in Thiruvananthapuram. He had also served as the General Secretary of the Kerala Working Journalists Union.
Pavanan had a meteoric rise in his profession and soon, he served as Correspondent of India Press Agency as well as the Editor of Navayugam. Also the period between 1970-75 Pavanan served the Soviet Information Office as Style Editor in Madras and eventually becoming General Editor of Manorajyam Group of Publications during 1984-86 period. He was also the Director-in-Charge of Vishwa Vinjana Kosham, an Encyclopedia, published by Government of Kerala from 1988-94.
Always associated with literary activities along with his journalistic and other pursuits, Pavanan also served the Kerala Sahitya Academy as Assistant Secretary from 1975 to 1978, in addition to being its Member Secretary for six years.
As a rationalist, Pavanan had worked hard to create public awareness against social maladies which were plaguing during his time. He was the Founder Chief Editor of Yukthirekha, the organ of Kerala Yukthivadi Sangham (Rationalists Association of Kerala), which is a acclaimed rationalist group in the State. He served as the President of the Association for a long time, till he had his health deteriorating due to Alzheimer’s disease. Pavanan breathed his last on June 22, 2006 at Thrissur after prolonged battle with his illness. If he was so productive to the society when he was alive, even after his death, his eyes were donated to the eye bank following the great man’s wish. Even the funeral took place sans any religious rituals, as per his wish. Even in death, Pavanan had upheld his rationalist ideal, inspiring thousands of rationalists in Kerala.
Pavanan was adept both in his native language, Malayalam and English. He has authored three works in English such as a Journey Through Moscow and Georgia, What Happened in China and Buddhist Influence in Malayalam Literature.
In Malayalam, Pavanan had authored 15 books such as Keralam Engane Jeevikkunnu (1967), Parichayam (1968), Soviet Unionanil Krushchevinu Sesham (1965), Mahakavi Kuttamath (1980),
Pavanante Thiranjedutha Prabhandangal (1988), Adyakala Smaranakal (1990), Sahitya Nirupanam, Yathra Vivaranam, Thathva Chintha, Yukthivadam, Jeevacharithra Smaranakal, Yukthi Darsanam (Editor) (Published by Kerala Yukthivadi Sangham), Brahmananda Shivayogi (Biography); Matham, Marxism, Mathetharatwam and Peristroicayum Socialisavum (1992).
Pavanan had received many awards during his lifetime including Soviet Land Nehru award, Putheyan Award, Vylopilli Award, V.T. Bhattathiripad Memorial Award, Mahakavi G Memorial Award, Kuttipuzha Award and more.
Pavanan and Parvathy have three children.
The first son, C.P. Rajendran is a Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research and living in Bangalore.
The Delhi-based English poet, film script writer and former Editor of Times of India, C.P. Surendran is the couple’s second son.
The couple’s daughter, C.P. Sreerekha is an author, who is living in Thrissur. Renowned journalist and critic, late C.P. Ramachandran is Pavanan’s brother in law. Both the families of Pavanan and Parvathy have produced many writers, journalists and critics. Parvathy’s eldest sister’s daughter, C.P. Prabhavathi (spouse of late writer, M.P. Narayana Pillai) and the latter’s two brothers, C.P. Ravindran and C.P. Udayachandran were all established writers.
Sreerekha’s book, Chuvanna Pettiyum Neela Thapalum (Red Box and Blue Letter), is a compilation of essays ranging various topics, where the author talks about her father, Pavanan. In fact, Pavanan was so attached to this daughter and was greatly dependent on her, especially during his sunset years. The unsung hero, Sreerekha was the one who took care of Pavanan till his end.
While speaking to her about her husband and his memories, Parvathy Pavanan says: “Pavanan was more fond of our daughter Sreerekha. I was aware that the duo used to pull my legs about my not so consistent temperament. Even during our marriage, my mother told Pavanan that her daughter is the most favourite in their family, although, she would never tell him that my behaviour is top class. Nevertheless, my mother asked Pavanan to take care of me after marriage. For that, Pavanan’s response was interesting. As long as I can hold my pen and so long as my brain functions, mother’s daughter will never face hunger. But, later, I neither realised whether I faced hunger nor faced any hardships. My daughter is of great support to me all the time. Till today, my only daughter is taking care of me with utmost care.”