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Odakkuzhal Award presented to Zachariah

By Our Staff Reporter


KOCHI, FEB. 2. The culture of giving awards and honours was, in a way, a form of idolatry, said the Malayalam writer, Paul Zachariah.

Speaking after receiving this year's Odakkuzhal Award, given by the Guruvayoorappan Trust, from the noted critic, M. Leelavathy, at a function here on Monday, Mr. Zachariah said when a writer was idolised, all awards came his way. A major fallout of this trend was that young talents as well as aged persons who refuse to be idolised were ignored. However, the blame for this did not lie on the `idols' themselves but on the whole structure of institutions presenting awards. Awards were, in fact, the other side of our critical milieu, which help bring a writer and his/her writings into focus before the public for some time.

Mr. Zachariah wondered who would really benefit from the awards. He said thinking of the concept of `benefit' had always been considered bad in our society. The cultural identity of Kerala was being defined by new groups, which included both the conventional classifications like caste and religion as well as the new economic classes. "The Malayali was forgetting to ask whether anything would be of benefit to all Malayalis," he said. This was reflected in the struggle at Plachimada, which refuses to consider that the water being taken there was only a fraction of that lost through sand-mining all over Kerala, said Mr. Zachariah.

The journalist, K.C. Narayanan, said Mr. Zachariah had created a new Malayalam through his writings. Delivering the G. Memorial Lecture, R. Vishwanathan stressed the need to re-read the works of G. Sankara Kurup in contemporary context.

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