With major works like Amma, Kudumbini, Koopukai, Shri HriDayam, Prabhanguram, Leikkotta, Lakhitam, Sopanam, Naivedyam, Mazhu Katha, Ambalatham, Bhavanatham, and more….the poems of Balamani Amma blends traditions and shines with holistic brilliance, in Malayalam. Balamani Amma also succeeded in composing poetry by harmonizing nature, woman, society, and spirit. She may have died on 29 September 2004, but even 19 years after her death, no one can erase her penmanship!
Virtues of Malayalam Poet Balamani Amma (8 Things About Her Life)
1. Balamani Amma’s early life:
July 19 is the birthday of Balamani Amma, a famous Malayalam poet who lived between the dates July 19, 1909 – September 29, 2004.
Balamani Amma was born in Nalapat tharavad of Thrissur district as the daughter of Chittanjoor Kunhunni Raja and Nalapat Kochukutti amma.
2. Balamani Amma had a famous uncle:
Nalapat Narayanamenon, the poet, was Balamani Amma’s uncle. Balamani, who had no formal education, was guided by his uncle’s book collection and teaching.
Balamani Amma did not receive an academic education. Balamani Amma’s church was the library of her uncle Nalapat Narayanamenon. Her uncle’s discipline laid the foundation for poetry. She started writing poetry from the age of sixteen. Koopukai was the first work published. It was in 1930.
3. Life in Kolkata after marriage to V.M. Nair:
In 1928, V.M., who was the managing director and managing editor of Mathrubhumi, married Balamani. Her husband passed away in 1977.
At an early age—19—she went to Kolkata where her husband V.M Nair lived. The poetess of Balamani Amma was brought out by the solitude and free time she got during her domestic life there. Husband V.M. Nair encouraged it significantly.
All the famous poems of Balamani Amma were born in the soil of Kolkata. The first collection of poems called Dharma Margam was released in 1938. Balamaniyamma’s famous works are Shri Hridiya, Lelikotta, Prabhankuram, Pranaam, Muthassi, Mazhuvin Katha etc.
4. Motherhood and her children:
Nalapat Balamaniyamma is the writer who gave the highest place to the feeling of ‘motherhood’ in her poetry. Inspired by Tagore’s works, she began her poetic career by portraying motherhood and infantile tenderness with self-effacement.
A famous writer in Malayalam and English, Her daughter was the prominent storyteller and poetess Kamala Suraiya alias Madhavikkutty, her other children are Shyam Sundaran Nair, and writer Sulochana, wife of CK Unnikrishnan Nair, who retired as the D. General Manager of Tata Tea.
Balamani Amma’s poems reflect the depth of the human mind in a simple and cheerful style. Motherhood and innocent infancy predominated in them. The main motif in Balamani Amma’s hymns is maternal love.
5. Died on 29 September 2004:
Balamaniamma dies after five years of Alzheimer’s disease. She evaluates her own poetry as a sweet substance that boils down to the heat of memories, a thought painful to comprehend as she lost her memory. On July 19, 2022, Balamani Amma’s 113th birth anniversary, Google honored Balamani Amma with a doodle drawn by artist Devika Ramachandran from Kerala.
6. Poetry Collections:
Shtri Hridayam (1939)
Prabhankuram ( 1942) Bhavanail (1942) On the Swing (1946) Laikkota
(1949) In Light (1951) They Sing (1952) Pranaam (1954) Lokantaramil (1955) Sopanam (1958) Muttassi (1962) Mazhu’s Katha (1966) Ambalathil (1967) In the city ( 1968) Veilaramha (1971) Amritangamaya ( 1978 ) Sandhya (1982) Nivedya (1987) Mathridhyam (1988) Classmates Kalankamata Kai Balamani Amma’s Poems – The Complete Collection (2005) -Mathrubhumi Books – Mother’s World (1952)
7. Balamani Amma Awards:
Balamani Amma, who wrote her first poem ‘Koopukai’ in 1930 received the ‘Sahityanipuna’ award from Parikshithu Tampuran, the Maharaja of Kochi 17 years later in 1947. Later, many awards and honors came to her.
Sahitya Nipuna Bahumamati (1963)
Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award (1964) – for ‘Muthassi’
Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award (1965) –
Kerala Sahitya Akademi Fellowship (1979) for ‘Muthassi’
Sahitya Kargantha Cooperative Sangam Award (1981) – for ‘Amritangamaya’
Padma Bhushan (1987)
Mooloor Award (1988) –
Samasta Kerala Sahitya Parishad Award for ‘Nivedya’ (1990)
Aashan Award (1991)
Lalithambika Antharjana Award (1993)
Vallathol Award (1993)
Kendra Sahitya Akademi Fellowship (1994)
Ezhutachchan Award (1995) – For comprehensive contribution to Malayalam literature.
Saraswati Prize (1996)
N.V. Krishna Warrior Award (1997)
In the same year Balamani Amma won the Saraswati Prize in 1995, she received the Ezhutachchan award and the NV Krishna Warrier award. She received the Kerala (1963) and Kendra (1965) Sahitya Akademi awards for her poem Muttassi. She also received the Lalithambika Antharjana Award in 1992.
The mother of all in Kerala, she was known as the poetess of motherhood – and for good reason!
Balamani Amma, who kept purity and simplicity in her poetry and life, attempted to construct female authorship that was different from that established in traditional discourses.
There is no idolatry, misogyny, or violation of tradition evident in their poetry. The poem is full of feminine characteristics like affection, love, domesticity, and motherhood. Along with it, there is a strong undercurrent of piety, philosophy, and often nationalism.
Balamani Amma is the first Malayalam poetess who tried to express the experience of a woman and a mother in the patriarchal world of Malayalam poetry.
Within the grace of female experiential writing, often the message of women’s freedom can be seen between the lines and rarely in the lines. Balamani Amma’s style is not shouting and shouting, but it is a concise and well-spoken style.