Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Former Faculty of the School

G. Sankara Pillai

Gopala Pillai Sankara Pillai, also known as G. Sankara Pillai, was an Indian playwright, literarey critic, and director. He was born on June 22, 1930, and died on January 1, 1989. He is known as one of the founders of modern Malayalam theatre. He started the Nataka Kalari movement in Kerala and was the chairman of the Kerala Sangeeta NatakaAkademi. He was a supporter of ‘total theatre.’ He won a number of awards, including the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Drama in 1964 for the play Rail Palangal (Railway Track) and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for the best playwright in 1979. 
Pillai was born on June 22, 1930, in Naluthattuvila, Chirayinkeezhu taluk, Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala, south India. His parents were Ottaveettil V. Gopala Pillai and MuttaykkalKamalakshi Amma. After going to school in Kollam, Chirayinkeezhu, Attingal, and Thiruvananthapuram, he got his master’s degree in Malayalam literature from Travancore University, which is now called University of  Kerala. In 1952, he got the first rank and honours for his work. From 1953 to 1960, he worked as a lecturer at several colleges, including the Gandhigram Rural Institute in Madurai.
In 1954, Pillai went to the University of Kerala to do research on the folk music of Kerala. In 1957, he moved to Madurai to teach at the Gandhigram Rural Institute. He stayed there until 1961, when he started working at the Lexicon Office. 
Three years later, in 1964, Dewaswom Board College, Sasthamcotta opened, and Pillai went back to teaching there as a faculty member. He was on the study boards and fine arts faculties at Kerala, Calicut, Gandhigram, and Tanjaore universities. He was also a member of the UGC’s fine arts curriculum development committee.
Later, when the University of Calicut’s School of Drama and Fine Arts was created in 1977, he became the school’s first director. In 1988, the Mahatma Gandhi University opened the School of Letters, which is an interdisciplinary centre for literary research and study. U. R. Ananthamurthy, a famous Kannada writer and the university’s vice chancellor at the time, asked Pillai to be the institution’s head. He was in charge of the job when he died in harness on January 1, 1989, at age of 59. He never married and had no children. 
Pillai was one of the first people to start a modern Malayalam theatre. He was also a supporter of “total theatre,” which means that he helped give it a system and academic discipline. One of his most important contributions was starting the Nataka Kalari Movement in Kerala in 1967. He did this with C. N. Sreekantan Nair, M. Govindan, M. V. Devan, K. S. Narayana Pillai, and K. AyyappaPaniker. This movement helped theatre artists like Vayala Vasudevan Pillai and gave old plays like C. J. Thomas’s Avan VeendumVarunnu a new life. The movement put on plays every week in Kochi and started theatre classes, which were later taken over by the VaikkomThirunalNatakavedi playhouse movement. Because of this movement, the School of Drama and Fine Arts at the University of Calicut was founded in 1977, and he was the first director.  
Pillai went to Russia in 1977 as part of a group of Indian artists sent there by the Indian government. As part of the Festival of India, she went to Tashkent again with a group from the Indian Sangeetha Nataka academy. In 1986–87, he went to the UK on an invitation from the British Council. In 1987–88, he worked on a joint play production project and co-directed a play called The Exile in the Forest in London.
SankaraPillai’s first piece of writing was a one-act play called “Snehadoothan,” which came out in 1953. Then he wrote 43 plays and 11 books of collected essays. VivahamSwargathilNadakkunnu (1958), BharathaVakyam, Kiratham, ThirumbiVandanThambi(The Brother Who Came Back), Raksha Purushan (The Rescuer), Bandi (The Hostage), Sharashayanam (Bed of Arrows), Poymukhangal (Masked Faces),Kauzhukanmar(The Eagles), VilangumVeenayum, Pillai won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for playwriting in 1964.That same year, Rail Palangal, one of his plays, won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi’s annual award for drama. Three years later, the Sahitya PravartakaSahakaranaSanghom Award was given to him. G. Sankara Pillai also won the Nandikar National Award and the All India Critics Award. His biography has been included in two Oxford University Press publications, The Oxford Companion to Theatre and Performanceand The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance.

Narendra Prasad

Raghava Kurup Narendra Prasad was an Indian actor, dramatist, director, teacher, and literary critic (26 December 1946–3 November 2003). He was born in the erstwhile Kingdom of Travancore at Mavelikkara. Audiences and critics appreciate his body language and performance, and he is well-known for playing character parts and villains in Malayalam films. 
He attended N. S. S. College, Pandalam, for Pre-University and graduation (in Mathematics). For his master’s degree in English Language and Literature, he proceeded to the University of Kerala’s Institute of English. Even as a degree student, Narendra Prasad established himself as a prospective man of letters due to his voracious reading in Malayalam and English. He won prizes for his participation in Malayalam and English literary discussions, debates, and competitions held at the college and university levels. In 1985, his play Souparnikawas awarded the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award. 
Narendra Prasad began his career as a college teacher, joining Bishop Moore College in 1967 as an English lecturer. In 1968, he entered government employment and held the positions of Lecturer at Government Victoria College, Palakkad, and Government Arts College, Trivandrum, and Professor at University College, Thiruvananthapuram. In 1989, while employed as an English professor at University College, he was appointed director of the School of Letters at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam. He held this position until his death.

D. Vinayachandran

Vinayachandran was an Indian Malayalam poet who lived from 13 May 1946 to 11 February 2013. He is one of the advocates of the contemporary prose style used in Malayalam poetry. He was raised in West Kallada, in the Kollam district, and has spent more than thirty years teaching Malayalam in several colleges. His early schooling was received in Kallada . He entered the collegiate education sector as a lecturer and served in various government colleges around Kerala after receiving his master’s in Malayalam literature from Government Sanskrit College, Pattambi. He began teaching at Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam in 1991, and in 2006 he retired from the school. 
Vinayachandran was born on May 13, 1946, in the Kollam district’s PadinjareKallada. The poet holds a postgraduate degree in Malayalam language and is a Physics graduate. Later, he decided to become a teacher and began instructing Malayalam literature at the School of Letters at Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam as well as other government colleges throughout the state.  Although he had retired in 2004, he continued to teach at the school for another year as a visiting faculty member. 

Vinayachandran passed away on February 11, 2013, at the age of 66, in a Thiruvananthapuram private hospital. Vinayachandran, who had been battling a number of illnesses for some months, was brought into a private hospital two days ago by his friends, who discovered him there in a frail state and complaining of respiratory issues and unease. He was single.Vinayachandran won so many awards including Asan Memorial Literary Award (2006), Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award (1992), PandalamKeralavarma Award, and Changampuzha Award.

Moosath N. N.


Prof.Kurias Kumbalakuzhy

Prof.Kurias Kumbalakuzhy is a literary critic, educational thinker, historian. He has served as the former State Information commissioner, Director of State Children’s Literature Institute, Member of Syndicate, Senate and Academic Council at the University and Member of Examination Board at various universities. 

He has authored about thirty works in the categories of criticism, history, translation, poetry collection and study. His versatile literary acumen and scholarship  can be seen in the works on Malayalam literature, history texts, translations, motivational writing  and even the Bible Dictionary. Some of his significant writings include Kerala kavitayile tenum vayambum,Mruthyubodam malayala kalpanika kavitayil,Arsharatnangal,translations on Gitanjali and also Yohannan Croosinte mystic geetangal, history texts like Marakkaruthata charitra padangal,Charitram vartamanam vastavam, other texts like Kudumbajivitapadangal, Gruhastashramam , Prasangikkuka prasangakaravuka etc.

He has prepared and published the complete collections of poems by Mahakavi Kattakayam, Sister Mary Beninja and Arnos Pathiri.  He is also the recipient of KCBC Literary Award, Baninja Award, Cuttackayam Award, Millennium Literary Award, IC Chacko Award, John Paul Award, Kerala History Congress Award, Vailopilly Award, Godavarma Award.

Dr. P. Geetha

Dr. P. Geetha joined School of Letters as Reader in Women’s Writing in 1991. A product of Madurai Kamaraj University, she completed her doctoral programme from Calicut University. Her area of Specialisation is Indian Women’s Writing. She started her career in the Department of English, Calicut University in 1976. She has to her credit 36 Years Teaching & Research Experience in University English departments of Calicut University, Mahatma Gandhi University at M.A. & M.Phil level She retired from M.G. University services in 2011 while on deputation in Lal Bahadur ShastriSanskrit University, New Delhi as Director, Centre for Women’s Studies till 2016. She has served as
Dean, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Sree Sankaracharya Sanskrit University, Kalady,and as Memberof the Governing Body, CIEFL, Hydrabad. She has also been a lesson writer for the Distance Education programmes of Calicut University and Burdwan University. 32 students have successfully completed their doctoral research under her guidance. She has contributed chapters in critical Anthologies and translated some short stories of Lalithambika Antherjanam, for State Institute of Children’s Literature.

P. Balachandran

Padmanabhan Balachandran Nair was an Indian writer, playwright, scenarist, director, and actor. He was born on February 2, 1952 and died on April 5, 2021. He was well-known for his contributions to Malayalam literature and film. He was born on February 2, 1952, in Sasthamkotta, Kerala, to Padmanabha Pillai and Saraswati Bhai. They had two children: Sreekanth and Parvathy. Balachandran’s play Paavam Usman won him the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award and the Kerala Professional Nataka Award in 1989. Numerous films, including Ulladakkam (1991), Pavithram (1994), Agnidevan (1995), Punaradhivasam (2000), and Kammatti Paadam (2016), have been written by him. His debut as a director is Ivan Megharoopan (2012). He has also appeared in several films, Trivandrum Lodge (2012) being the most prominent.

P. P. Raveendran

P P Raveendran, critic and academic, has specialized in modern literature, Indian literature, and cultural studies. An active bilingual critic, his most recent publication is The Oxford India Anthology of Modern Malayalam Literature (2017), a massive 2-volume work that brings together Malayalam literature of the last 120 years in translation, of which he is one of the two editors. His other published books in English include Kamala Das (2017), Texts Histories Geographies: Reading Indian Literature (2009), OV Vijayan (2009), Joseph Mundasseri (2002), Postmodernism: Positions and Perspectives (2000), and Poetry and the New Sensibility (1996), as well as the edited volumes of poetry by Attoor Ravivarma and Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan translated by him under the respective titles, The Non-Resident Indian and Other Poems (2015) and The Cat Is My Grief Today and Other Poems (2009). The Best of Jayanta Mahapatra (1995) and The Best of Kamala Das (1991) are two other well-known volumes edited by him. His critical works in Malayalam are Adhunikatayude Pinnampuram [Modernity’s Backyard, 2017], Etirezhuttukal [Counter-writings 2013], Veendeduppukal [Recoveries, 2006], Samskara Padhanam [Cultural Studies, 2002], Adhunikanantaram [After Modernism, 1999], Michel Foucault [1998] and Edapedalukal [Interventions, 1997]. A contributor to the Routledge Encyclopaedia of Postcolonial Literatures in English (London and New York: Routledge, 2005), Raveendran has published extensively in India and abroad, including in such journals as American Notes and Queries (ANQ), Economic and Political WeeklyIndian Literature, and Journal of Commonwealth Literature. As editor/co-editor of Haritham: Journal of the School of Letters, he has put together 21 issues of the journal devoted to literary studies. A former Post-doctoral Visiting Fellow at the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University (Germany), he has held such positions as Dean, Faculty of Language and Literature, Mahatma Gandhi University, Dean, Faculty of Aesthetics and Art History, Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed to be University for Art and Culture, Dean, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, and Professor and Director, School of Letters, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam. He was a member the Syndicate of Mahatma Gandhi University and the Executive Board of the Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed to be University for Art and Culture. He has served on the General Council of the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, and on that of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Thrissur. He also served as a UGC Emeritus Fellow at Mahatma Gandhi University. `


Thirty two years in the field of teaching.  Dr. Harris has to his credit 10 books and more than 45 research articles published in English and Malayalam. He has also done around 50 translations of short stories, play and poems from English to Malayalam and vice versa.  He has delivered talks in more than 100 academic conferences and symposia in India and abroad.

Dr. Harris has extended his service as member of a number of academic and cultural bodies which include Kerala Sahithya Academy, Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, Malayalam Language Advisory Committee, Kendra Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi and Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore. Besides, Dr. Harris has also functioned as Visiting Professor at the Department of Media Studies, University of Trier, Germany.

In addition to teaching and research, Dr. V. C. Harris is actively engaged in theatre and film. He has directed and staged more than 15 plays and is a regular invitee to International Film Festival Of Kerala.


Dr. Krishnan has more than 30 years of service to hi credit. His areas of interest include American Literature and Fiction Studies. He also served as member, Board of Studies (UG) University of Calicut During 2000-05, Member Board of Studies (PG) University of Calicut during 2009-14.  He also served as Chairman, Board of Studies School of Letters, Mahatma Gandhi University,  Kottayam and Board of Studies (PG), Mahathma Gandhi University.

He served on the Managing Committee of Chinmaya International Foundation, Shodha Sansthan, Veliyanad, Piravon. He is now serving on the Board of Editors of Haritham, Journal of School of Letters. He was on the Board of Editors, Dheemahi, Journal of CIFSS, Veliyanad, Piravom during2011-15. Dr. Krishnan served as the Associate Editor of INBOFA 2012 Souvenir and the Associate Editor of Silver Jubilee Souvenir, Mahathma Gandhi University and is also serving as Editorial Board Member, Mahathma Gandhi University e-journal since 2015. He was a member of the Core team that prepared the course materials for additional Skill Acquisition Project (ASAP), Government of Kerala. As a Former Director of School of Letters, he played the lead role in designing and coordinating the Course work for PhD in language and literature that he edited. He has coordinated several seminars/ workshops at School of Letters.

He has to his credit several articles and translation in English and Malayalam, apart from a book of translation.