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Niranam poets

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Niranam is a small village in southern Kerala, India, near to the town of Thiruvalla. In the 14th century, it was the birthplace of three generations of poets from the same family who became known as the Niranam or Kannassan poets, being Madhava Panikkar, Sankara Panikkar and Rama Panikkar. They were influenced by the Bhakti movement. As Panikkars, they were probably akin to members of the Nayar caste, which makes their claim to mastery of Sanskrit a significant feature because they would have been classed as Kshatriya in the Brahmanical system of ritual ranking known as varna. Shudras were not supposed to be familiar with that priestly language. They lived between 1350 and 1450 C.E.

It is believed that they all belonged to the same Kannassa family and that Madhava Panikkar and Sankara Panikkar were the uncles of Rama Panikkar, the youngest of the three. They revived the Bhakti school and in the place of the excessive sensuality and eroticism of the Manipravalam poets, the seriousness of the poetic vocation was reasserted. Madhava Panikkar wrote a condensed Malayalam translation of Bhagavad Gita, perhaps its first translation into any modern Indian language. Sankara Panikkars's main work is Bharatamala, a masterly condensation of Mahabharata. Perhaps the most important was Rama Panikkar who is the author of Ramayanam, Bharatam, Bhagavatam and Sivarathri Mahatmyam. Kannassa Ramayanam and Kannassa Bharatam are the most important of these Niranam works. The former is an important link between Cheeraman's Ramacharitam, Ayyappilli Asan's Ramakathapattu and Ezhuthachan's Adhyathmaramayanam. Ulloor has said that Rama Panikkar holds the same position in Malayalam literature that Edmund Spenser has in English literature.

References

Niranam poets Wikipedia


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