Wednesday, May 9, 2007

On the Banks of River Mahe

My earlier post Mahe - Petite France in Kerala. brought some enquiries whether M. Mukundan’s famous Malayalam novel Mayyazhi Puzhayude Theeranghalil is available in English or French. I contacted the author through Sunil K. Poolani, Publisher and Managing Editor of Frog Books, Mumbai (,

M. Mukundan has confirmed that the book has been translated into French and English. The French version is brought out by the famous publishing house, Actes Sud. The English translation is published by East-West (Manas), Chennai, India

Now, a brief note on the author and his books. Mukundan is, undoubtedly, one of the most reputed writers in India today and his books make great reading. Wikipedia points out ‘Mukundan's magnum opus Mayyazhi Puzhayude Theeranghalil (On the Banks of River Mahe) fetched him the award for the best novel published in the last 25 years…’

Mukundan was born in Mahe, the former French Colony, in 1942. Starting from 1961, he has been a prolific writer. Thirty-two books by him and two about him are in Library of Congress collection. Three novels by Mukundan were made into movies. He wrote the script for one of them and won the award for the Best Screenplay! A number of his works have been translated into English.

Mukundan is the recipient of many honors including three Kendra Sahithya Academy Awards (National). Mayyazhi Puzhayude Theeranghalil also won the Crossword Award. In 1998 the French Government conferred on Mukundan the title Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.

Mukundan’s language is simple and expressive. There are innumerable compliments paid to this great writer by publishers, critics, editors, the media and readers. I would like to quote one by Prof. KN Panikkar in ‘Interrogating Colonialism: Novel as Imagined History, ‘Mukundan's novels provide a reading of the history of colonialism unavailable in a historian's oeuvre.'

Mukundan lives in Mahe. He is currently the Chairman of the Kerala Sahithya Academy.



Meera's Blog said...

i love mukundan's and mt's novels.every time we go to kerala,we stop by the DC books and get as many new books as we can and bring it back with us:)

Unknown said...

Meera, these two are great authors. May be you should try MT's Selected Screenplays. They are almost visual.

Anonymous said...

Good to know Mukundan's book on Mahe is available in english.
Have been keen on reading it since both my parents hail from Mahe & have admired it for it's untouched natural beauty.

Unknown said...

The translation is by Gita Krishnankutty. I haven't read the English version bu am sure that it is good. Do get hold of a copy.

Anil said...

Does anyone know the title of the English translation of "Mayyazhi puzhayude theerangalil"? I could not find it in Books in Print. Please email me if you know. Thanks.

While searching for it, I came across this reading by M.Mukundan :

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work.

Jay said...

Btw, Mukundan lives in Delhi, not Mahe. In a Bhashaposhini interview (in 2007, I guess), he had indicated that even after retirement he would continue in Delhi, because thats where he spent 40 years of his life.

Unknown said...

Jay, thanks for pointing out that Mukundan still lives in Delhi. But when I wrote the post, he was in Mahe.

Unknown said...

Celina, thank you for your comment. Somehow I missed acknowledging it earlier. Sorry.