Sanjayan – The ‘Hasya Samrat’ of Malayalam Literature
After Kunjan Nambiar, if someone deserves the title of ‘Hasya Samrat’ in Malayalam Literature, it’s none other than Professor Mannikoth Ramunni Nair or M. R. Nair, better known to Malayalis through his pen name, Sanjayan. His satirical essays criticizing the contemporary social state gives him a prominent place among contemporary writers of Malayalam who lived in the 20th century. September 13, 2017 marks his 74th death anniversary and this simple note is a true tribute to Kerala’s one of the prominent satirists. A short-lived writer, his contribution to Malayalam literature is immensely huge.
A brief note on Sanjayan’s early days
Sanjayan was born in Thalassery of Kannur on June 13, 1903. His education was completed from Thalassery Brannen College, Palakkad Victoria College and Madras Christian College. He completed his education with honours in English literature. Before the completion of his course, he earned knowledge in Sanskrit, French and German. In fact he had prolific and deep knowledge in Sanskrit language. He later learnt astrology and philosophy too.
Not a beautiful personal life
He was born into Othayoth Nair family in Thalassery. Madavil Kunjiraman Vaidyar and Paru Amma were his parents. He lost his father at a very young age of just 8, and later was brought up by his mother. He lost his wife through Tuberculosis. Their marriage was only three years when he lost her. He lost his only son also very soon. Sanjayan too pursued law studies while working as a lecturer at Christian college, but couldn’t complete the studies due to the same disease. Yet he let go personal issues and wrote several humour thoughts which his fans ponder still now.
He excelled in different fields
He excelled as a writer, critic, philosopher and journalist, and also lectured at colleges. He was the editor-in-chief of Viswaroopam, a satirical magazine published in Malayalam. He considered Mahatma Gandhi as his spiritual guru, and also penned a few writings supporting India’s freedom struggle movement. Sahitya Nikasham (in two parts), Sanjayan (in 6 parts), Haasyanjali, Othello (Translation) and Sanjayopaghyaanam (poetry) are the major works of Sanjayan, who lost his life at a very young age of only 40.
Read a few more articles on some of the stalwarts of Malayalam literature belonging to different eras. Click on the images in the gallery to read