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S Ramesan Nair, Veteran Malayalam Poet and Lyricist, Dies at 73 of Covid-19 Complications

S. Ramesan Nair
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

S Ramesan Nair, the veteran Malayalam poet and lyricist, died of Covid-19 complications on Friday in Kochi, Kerala.

He was 73.

Nair, who had tested positive for Covid-19 a few days ago, was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Kochi. According to sources, his test results returned negative for the virus a couple of days before his demise. 

Nair was born on May 3, 1948, in Kumarapuram village in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu. The poet, who held a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a post-graduate degree in Malayalam Literature, worked as a sub-editor at the Kerala Bhasha Institute and as a producer at All India Radio for around 20 years. 

He has written over 2000 devotional songs and the lyrics for 170 film songs in Malayalam. Nair made his debut as a lyricist in the film Pathamudhayam in 1985. Some of his notable songs include Neeyen Kinavo, O Priye, Oru Rajamalli Viriyunna Pole, Kiliye Kiliye, Ambadi Payyukal Meyum, Gurucharanam, and Puthumazhayayi Vannu Nee.

The Sahitya Akademi Award recipient had translated Tamil literary works like Thiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural and Ilango Adigal’s Silappatikaram into Malayalam. The Kerala Sahitya Akademi and Thapasya Art and Literary Forum mourned the demise of Nair. The late poet had served as the president of the latter for a few years.

Speaking to Silverscreen India about the late poet, KP Mohanan, secretary of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi said, “Nair’s anthology of poems titled Guru Pournami won the Kendra Sahitya Akademi award in 2018. The book is a collection of poems about the life and ideals of social reformer and spiritual leader Sree Narayana Guru. In 2010, he was conferred the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award for lifetime achievement in the literary field.”

Elaborating on Nair’s contribution to literature, Thapasya Art and Literary Forum’s State Vice President Lakshminarayanan said, “He published around 20 books of poetry and did extensive research on Buddhism. He also wrote four plays and five pieces of children’s literature. He was known as ‘Bhakta Kavi’ by the public for his songs in praise of Lord Guruvayurappan and other deities. He was also the recipient of the Sanjayan Award.”

Lakhsminarayan added that Nair shared a good relationship with renowned poet-essayist Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri when the two worked together at All India Radio, Thrissur.

Several artists from the Malayalam film industry, including actor Mohanlal, singers MG Sreekumar and Anoop Sankar, took to their social media handles to pay tribute to the late lyricist.

Photo Source: Screenshots of Social Media Posts

Actor Kunchacko Boban, mourning the demise of Nair and recalling that the lyricist had penned the O Priye song from his 1997 film Aniyathipravu, wrote: “His soulful lyrics will live for eternity.”

Singer KS Chithra shared her memories of working with Nair on Facebook. In her post, she said, “Very sad to hear about the passing away of S Ramesan Nair sir. I was fortunate to sing quite a few songs penned by him. Apart from movie songs, he had written many unforgettable devotional songs too. Extending my heartfelt condolences to his family.”

Composer Vidyasagar, on his Facebook page, wrote that Nair was a “humble human being” and mentioned that he had recently written a song for him “about Mother Nature” which may be his last work. “I fondly recollect our association from the days of Chandrannudikkunna Dikkil till date,” he added.

According to a report on The News Minute, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled Nair’s death. “His demise is a huge loss to the Malayalam language and literature. His work on Sree Narayana Guru has timeless value,” he said in a statement.

The Kerala CM recalled that he was transferred from All India Radio over political issues after his play, the political satire Shathabhishekam, became widely popular in Kerala. Following this, Ramesan resigned from his job at AIR, Vijayan said. 

Nair is survived by his wife and son. The latter, Manu Ramesan, is a composer working in the Malayalam film industry.

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