The voice that had kept Kerala engrossed in provoking thoughts for nearly six decades,fell silent today. Writer,social critic and orator Prof Sukumar Azhikode,85,died on Tuesday morning at a private hospital in Thrissur. People from all walks of life condoled his death.
Sukumar,who inherited his surname Azhikode from his native village in Kannur,had a gift of the gab par excellence. He juggled with apposite words on varied issues ranging from politics to Upanishads. At podiums,he kept bricks and bouquets ready for fellow writers. Everywhere,he got a packed audience. On all critical issues during turbulent times,Kerala looked forward to his coherent thoughts from Azhikode. His words stoked up fire for social and political debates,often forcing his detractors to question his locus standi on many issues.
Author of 40-odd books in Malayalam,Azhikodes first literary work was published in a weekly in 1945. After having worked as a Malayalam teacher at various colleges in Kerala,he retired as a university professor in 1986. Winner of several state and national honours,Azhikode demonstrated his craftsmanship in Tatvamasi,a 1984 work on Indian philosophy. In 2007,he refused to accept Padma Shri,saying it amounted to discrimination in society. A Gandhian and bachelor,he unsuccessfully contested the 1963 Assembly polls as a Congress candidate.
In November 2011,Azhikode told a weekly: For me,the age of harbouring grudge is over. My mind is free from rancour. I understand people commit mistakes due to their hardships in life. About a month later,he was diagnosed with bone cancer at an advanced stage.