Tributes Pour In For Celebrated Activist-Poet Sugathakumari Upon Her Demise

Tributes on social media note the impact Sugathakumari 'teacher' left on Kerala's literary circles.

Tanvi Akhauri
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Sugathakumari Passes Away

Eminent Malayalam poet and social activist Sugathakumari passed away on Wednesday owing to complications related to COVID-19. Known fondly in Kerala as Sugathakumari 'teacher,' the 86-year old was a leading champion of the feminist, environmental, and human rights causes in southern India. The former chairperson of the Kerala State Women’s Commission, Sugathakumari was also the founder secretary of the environmental Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithi organisation and of Abhaya, a care centre for women and those with mental health issues.


Muthuchippi, Pathirappookal (Midnight Flowers), Paavam Maanavahridayam (Poor Human Heart), Pranamam are among Sugathakumari's most acclaimed works. Her poem Marathinu Stuthi (or Ode to a Tree) achieved the status of a protest symbol against environmental exploitation in the south. Sugathakumari's death is being mourned as an irreparable loss to the literary scene of India.

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Here are some social media tributes to the late Malayalam poet: 

Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala, marked Sugathakumari's demise calling her "a doyenne of Malayalam literature" who "has left an indelible mark on Kerala's cultural life."

Dr Shashi Tharoor, Congress' Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, also shared memories alongside Sugathakumari at a literary festival. He had previously shown concern for her well-being when Sugathakumari's health was compromised due to COVID-19.

Journalist Dhanya Rajendran spoke of the impact Sugathakumari left on her, and other women like her.

Noted author and politician Jairam Ramesh posted a social media note paying tributes to the late activist. He mentioned he had been in "regular touch with her," and the inspiration she provided for his upcoming book.

BJP's state president for Kerala, K Surendran, elaborated on Sugathakumari's unparalleled contribution to the education and environment in the state.

Actor Rajshri Deshpande, of Manto and Angry Indian Goddesses fame, thanked the late poet for inspiring her.

Calling her demise a "huge loss to Indian literature," noted author Anand Neelakantan expressed his condolences to Sugathakumari's family.

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Social Media Users Reminisce Sugathakumari's Impact

Many Twitter users are sharing fond memories of having been taught by Sugathakumari and the impact her literature left on them. Some even went on to share lines from her poetry that influenced them.

Actor Prithviraj Sukumaran also reminisced about receiving several awards from the late poet.

Social Activist Malayalam Poet Tributes COVID-19 Sugathakumari