Literature And Art
Pursuit of scholarship has been an article of faith with the members of the Pandalam royal family. Many are the poets, play-wrights, artists, astrologers, Sanskrit scholars and teachers who have adorned the annals of the family.
They made valuable contributions to Sanskrit and Malayalam literature and allied fields. Recorded knowledge of their works are lacking up to about 900 ME(1725AD).
Historical works on literature give names of about 7 such scholars who were born during 900-1000ME. The 11th century ME was the golden era for the Palace which found itself blessed with the birth of at least 20 men of letters. Name of at least one female member is also seen among them.
Mahakavi Pandalam Kerala Varma(1054-1094 ME) occupies a unique position in the history of Malayalam literature. He started writing poems in Sanskrit from the age of 12 while pure Malayalam poems were written from the age of 19. There was practically no form of poetry during his time which he had not touched upon. There is no comparison to his work as the Editor of ' Kavana Kaumudi ' which he edited , printed and published out of his great love for poetry and poets. Almost all known poets of his time, among others , have contributed to this fortnightly news paper which included editorials, news, advertisements and notifications, all in poetry. The editorials covered almost all social, political & other topics of contemporary importance. The editorials on corruption and inefficiency in Administration were excellent by any standards.
In 1979, a number of Kerala Varma's works were re-printed in about 1400 pages in 2 volumes as 'selected works'. All his works put together is supposed to go above 5000 pages which can form an ocean of information for a serious research student.
One member of the family is described as a scholar in all South Indian languages, in addition to Malayalam & Sanskrit. At least 4 names are mentioned to be experts in painting, music, sculpture and carpentry.
At present there is one great Kathakali exponent and one writer with a collection of short stories published to his credit.
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