Friday, January 27, 2012
Actually he was a critic first and orator 2nd as his oratorical skill developed from his need to express himself. He saw everything that is taking place around him thru his critic's eyes and never feared to speak out against it, be that against a movie actor or a Minister or even the President of India. When he was awarded 'Padma Shree' in the year 2007 he refused to accept it on the ground that the Government was discriminating its people among themselves by conferring such awards when actually the constitution guaranteed to treat every one equally. Even at his late age he was very much present in the Newspapers on one issue or other and it was one reason for his demise to make such a sense of loss throughout the State.
He had no liking for any particular party. He worked for Congress party when he was young and later joined with the Leftist thoughts. However, in his later years he spared no parties or persons from his criticism. I think his left-leanings, if any, was only an expression of his sympathy for the poor and down-trodden..Nothing less and nothing more
Dr.Sukumar Azhikode was born in the year 1926 as the 4th son of Vidwan P.Damodaran and Madhavi Amma in Azhikode of Cannore District, Kerala. Though he was a commerce graduate his interest in literature led him to study languages. He earned M.A degree both in Sanskrit and Malayalam in his early twenties. He was teacher in Manglore St.Alotius college and Devagiri College and later as head of Malayalam dept. in Calicut University and also as pro-Vice Chancellor there. He tried his hand on journalism too while working in Deenabandhu, Harijan etc papers. But Azhikode, apart from his speeches, was best known for his critical and philosophical works.
The most discussed and acclaimed work of Azhikode was his book based on Upanishads named "Thatwamacy" He got 'Kendra Sahitya Academy' award for it. Speaking about awards, he himself might not have an idea as to how many awards he got or from where.
People liked his courage to tell the world what he thought right which was most of the time based on clear thinking and logic. He stood with Thilakan when no one was coming out for him to help by word or deed which includes the media and and even went to the extent of filing suit against Mohanlal. No one except Azhikode was capable of doing it, considering the popularity of Mohanlal. Later they compromised and withdrew case as Thilakan got in to films again. Though he was an eminent writer he was no snob. He talked about detective Novels just as he spoke about classics. He liked to read crime books either for a diversion from serious books or for its sheer thrill. Any way he used to keep a few of them in his bag.
He was afraid of Air travel and as a result of it he had to give up many a program abroad. But in Kerala he was always on the move to attend one program or other and rarely got time to be at home. As an orator he was unique and made more than 10,000 speeches both in and out of India. As Azhikode was unmarried he had the freedom to live as he fancied and he enjoyed that life.
Dr. Azhikode was admitted to hospital for back pain and general weakness and on examination he was diagnosed with cancer in the backbone. It could not be prevented from spreading and during the time he had to suffer from acute pain. He did not forget to crack jokes with the visitors even in the pain. The end came after a month in the hospital.
We will have to wait a long time to see a man like Sukumar Azhikode again.