Poet-activist Sugathakumari passes away

Thiruvananthapuram: Noted poet, writer and environmentalist Sugathakumari passed away here on Wednesday due to COVID-19 related complications. She was 86.

She breathed her last at 10.52 am at the Thiruvannathapuram Medical College Hospital here.

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, Kerala Pradesh Congress chief Mullappally Ramachandran, Union Minister of State V Muraleedharan, and BJP state President K Surendran mourned the passing away of the renowned poet.

A former Kerala State Woman’s Commission Chairperson, Sugathakumari was honoured with ‘Padma Shri’ in 2006. Many accolades she won in her lifetime included the Sahitya Akademi award, Kerala Sahitya Akademi award, and the Ezhuthachan and Odakuzhal literary awards.

Sugathakumari was a major voice in the coastal state on environment-related activities and social actions and would not allow even a single tree to be felled. She led several mass agitations against the destruction of environment.

Sugathakumari shot to fame during the 80s while leading a major agitation against the Silent Valley hydroelectricity project. The government had to cancel the project, as the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi directly intervened in the matter.

While she had many critics due to her style of functioning during the early days of environmental activities, recurring floods and climate changes even led her ardent critics to come out in support of her environmental activities.

Sugathakumari can be described as a person who walked the extra mile to preserve and protect the environment.

She also established ‘Abhaya’, a centre to house deprived women and children. Under the network, Abhayabala set up for the deprived children are imparted education and housing until Class 12 and thereafter housed at Athani, another unit under Abhayagramam for woman and children. Quie a few Abhayabala inmates have become engineers, lawyers, teachers, and even a doctor.


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