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Vaikom Muhammad Basheer Biography: Novel, Age, Awards

NameVaikom Muhammad Basheer
Profession(s)Writer, Freedom Fighter
Date of Birth21 January 1908
Died5 July 1994 (aged 87)
Birth PlaceThalayolaparambu, Kerala
FamilyFather- Kaye Abdul Rahiman
Marital StatusMarried
SpouseFabi Basheer (m. 1956–1994)
ChildrenShahina Habib, Anees Basheer
Maranathinte Nizhalil
Mucheettukalikkarante Makal
Sthalathe Pradhana Divyan
Anavariyum Ponkurishum
Pathummayude Aadu
Thara Specials
Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
Vaikom Muhammad Basheer Biography

Who is Vaikom Muhammad Basheer?

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer was a writer of Malayalam literature. He was born on 21 January 1908 and died on 5 July 1994. He is popularly referred to as Beypore Sulthan.

He was a writer, humanist, freedom fighter, novelist, and short story writer. He is noted for his path-breaking, down-to-earth style of writing that made him equally popular among literary critics as well as the common man. His notable works include Balyakalasakhi, Shabdangal, Pathummayude Aadu, Ntuppuppakkoranendarnnu, Mathilukal, Janmadinam, and Anargha Nimisham and the translations of his works into other languages have earned him worldwide acclaim.

The Government of India awarded him the fourth highest civilian honor of the Padma Shri in 1982. He was also a recipient of the Sahitya Academy Fellowship, the Kerala Sahitya Academy Fellowship, and the Kerala State Film Award for Best Story. He was a recipient of the Vallathol Award in 1993.

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer Biography

Basheer was born on January 21, 1908, in Thalayolaparambu (near Vaikom) Kottayam District. His father is Kayi Abdurahman, a timber merchant, and his mother is Kunjathumma. He is the eldest child. His siblings were Abdulkhader, Pathumma, Haneefa, Anumma, and Aboobacker, in order from eldest and youngest. After completing his primary education at a local Malayalam medium school, he joined an English medium school in Vaikom, for higher education.

It was during this time, he met Mahatma Gandhi when the Indian independence movement leader came to Vaikom for the satyagraha, which later came to be known as Vaikom Satyagraha. He became his follower. He started wearing Khādī, inspired by the swadeshi ideals of Gandhi. Basheer would later write about his experiences on how he managed to climb onto the car in which Gandhi was traveling and touched his hand.

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer Spouse

Fathima Beevi (Fabi Basheer) is the spouse of Vaikom Muhammad Basheer fondly called her ‘Fabi’. She is the daughter of Areekkadan Koyakkutti master and Khadeeja. Fathima Beevi (Fabi) came to the life of Baheeer on December 18, 1958, when she was 20. She was a school teacher. On the first day itself, Basheer fondly renamed her Fabi.

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer Novels


Premalekhanam Novel
Premalekhanam Cover

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Premalekhanam was written in 1943 when Basheer was under imprisonment at Thiruvananthapuram Central Jail, Poojappura. He was a political prisoner on charges of raajadroham (treason), for writing articles against Dewan C. P. Ramaswami Iyer. Basheer mentions the writing of Premalekhanam in his later work Mathilukal. The love story that forms the plot of Mathilukal happened during the same prison term.

In the jail, he wrote many stories to entertain fellow prisoners, especially people sentenced to life. But at the time of leaving prison, the only work that he could get hold of was Premalekhanam. (Some of the other stories he later rewrote from memory). After his release, he published Premalekhanam in 1943. By 1944, the book was banned in Thiruvithankoor, although there was nothing political in it. The main reason for banning this book in Travancore is that Travancore was a Hindu country(princely state)where interreligious and intercaste marriages were strictly opposed, and the book indirectly favored interreligious marriages.


Balyakalasakhi Novel
Balyakalasakhi Cover

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Balyakalasakhi (Malayalam: ബാല്യകാലസഖി, meaning childhood companion). Balyakalasakhi is a Malayalam romantic tragedy novel written by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer. It is published in 1944. it is considered by many as Basheer’s best work. The story revolves around Majeed and Suhra, who are in love with each other since childhood. By Basheer’s own admission, the story is largely autobiographical.

Pathummayude Aadu

Pathummayude Aadu Novel
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Pathumma’s Goat (original title: Malayalam: പാത്തുമ്മായുടെ ആട് Pathummayude Aadu) is a 1959 Malayalam novel by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer. The characters of the novel are members of his family and the action takes place at his home in Thalayolaparambu. The goat in the story belongs to his sister Pathumma. Basheer begins the novel with an alternative title for the book, Pennungalude Buddhi (The Wisdom of Women).


Mathilukal Novel
Mathilukal Cover

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Mathilukal (Malayalam: മതിലുകൾ, meaning Walls) is a Malayalam novel written by Vaikom Muhammad Basheer in 1965. It is one of the most cherished and well-known love stories in Malayalam. Its hero, Basheer himself, and heroine, Narayani, never meet, yet they love each other passionately. Despite being imprisoned and separated by a huge wall that divides their prisons, the two romance each other

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer Awards and Honours

Sahitya Akademi honoured Basheer with their fellowship in 1970. In the same year as he was honoured with the distinguished fellowship by the Kerala Sahitya Akademi. The Government of India awarded him the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri in 1982. Five years later, the University of Calicut conferred on him the honorary degree of the Doctor of Letters on January 19, 1987. He received the Kerala State Film Award for Best Story for the Adoor Gopalakrishnan film, Mathilukal in 1989 and the inaugural Lalithambika Antharjanam Award in 1992 followed by the Prem Nazir Award the same year. He received two awards in 1993, the Muttathu Varkey Award and the Vallathol Award.

The Thamrapathra’of the Government of India (1972), Abu Dhabi Malayala Samajam Literary Award (1982), Samskaradeepam Award (1987) and Jeddah Arangu Award (1994) were some of the other awards received by him. Mathrubhumi issued a festschrift on him, Ormmayile Basheer (Basheer – Reminiscences) in 2003 which featured several articles and photos. The India Post released a commemorative postage stamp, depicting his image, on January 21, 2009.

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer is considered one of the best 10 famous Malayalam writers

FAQ about Vaikom Muhammad Basheer

Why is Basheer called Beypore Sultan?

Showing his love for the Beypore port town that had been his home after marriage Vaikom Muhammad Basheer described himself as the ‘Sultan of Beypore’ during an encounter with a visitor.

Which is the first novel of Basheer?

Premalekhanam (The Love Letter) is Vaikom Muhammad Basheer’s first work (1943) to be published as a book. The novel is a humorous story of love.

What is the real name of Basheer?

Basheer’s real name is Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, was born on 21st January 1908 and he is one of the prominent literary figures of Malayalam literature. He was also a freedom fighter, novelist, and humanist.

Which is the most famous work of Vaikom Muhammad Basheer?

Balyakalasakhi is the most famous novel of Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, which is among the most important novels in Malayalam literature

Which day is Basheer day?

July 5 is celebrated as Basheer day in remembrance of Vaikom Muhammad Basheer.

Source: Wikipedia

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