Today’s Google Doodle is celebrating the 113th birthday of famous Indian poet Balamani Amma, known as the grandmother of Malayalam literature. Born in Kerala’s Thrissur district, Balamani Amma was the recipient of numerous awards for her literary work, including Saraswati Samman and Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award. Balamani Amma was also the mother of Kamala Das, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature in 1984.
She never received any formal education and was homeschooled by her uncle Nalappat Narayana Menon, who was also a popular Malayali poet. Amma grew up studying his impressive collection of books and works. At the age of 19, she married V.M. Nair, the managing director and managing editor of the Malayalam newspaper Mathrubhumi.
Her first poem, titled Kooppukai, was published in 1930.
She received recognition as a gifted poet from the former ruler of the Kingdom of Cochin, Parikshith Thampuran, who awarded her with the Sahithya Nipuna Puraskaram.
Amma’s early poems glorified motherhood in a new light by adopting the ideas and stories of mythological characters and depicting women as powerful figures. She came to be known as the “poetess of motherhood”. Her most famous works include Amma (1934), Muthassi (1962) and Mazhuvinte Katha (1966).
(Edited from HT)