Renowned Poet Sugathakumari Passes Away After Battling COVID-19 Complications

Sugathakumari was an acclaimed poet and activist who was a prominent figure in various feminist movements in South India.

Sugandha Bora
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Sugathakumari Passes Away

Renowned Malayalam poet Sugathakumari passed away today due to COVID-19 related complications. According to reports, the doctors stated that the poet was suffering from bronchopneumonia, a pneumonic condition causing inflammation in the air sacs of the lungs.


The poet was undergoing treatment after testing positive for novel coronavirus in a private hospital. She was moved to the Medical College Hospital in Kerala afterwards when her condition deteriorated. She reportedly had co-morbid conditions like heart and respiratory ailments, which worsened her health.

Legacy of the Padma Shri winning poet

The 86-year old poet and activist was one of the prominent faces of  feminist movements not only in Kerala, but also South India. She was also an environmentalist and the founder secretary of the Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithi, an organisation for protection and revival of nature, and of Abhaya, a home for destitute women and a care centre for people with mental health issues. She was also the former chairperson of the Kerala State Women's Commission.

Sugathakumari took an active part in the protests against a private airport project at Aranmula, Pathanamthitta and that of the people’s movement against a hydroelectric project at Silent Valley in Palakkad.

Her poem Marathinu Stuthi, which translates to an Ode to a Tree, became a symbol for the protest from the intellectual community. This poem impassioned the movement and became the opening song of most of the campaign meetings.

The poet received a huge number of accolades in her lifetime. She won the Padma Shri award in 2006. Moreover, she was also the recipient of various other awards like Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, Odakkuzhul Award, Ezhuthachan Award and many more.


A few of her highly acclaimed works include Muthuchippi, Pathirappookal (Midnight Flowers), Paavam Maanavahridayam (Poor Human Heart), Pranamam, Irulchirakukal, Ambalamani (Temple Bell) and Thulaavarshappacha (The Monsoon Green).

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Feature Image Credits: Twitter

Sugandha Bora is an intern with SheThePeople.

Coronavirus Indian Women Poets Indian feminists Sugathakumari