Sreekumaran Thampi hits out at Kerala Sahitya Akademi for 'insult' to him

Sreekumaran Thampi accuses Kerala Sahitya Akademi of insulting him over the rejection of 'Kerala Ganam' without prior notice or explanation.
Sreekumaran Thampi
Sreekumaran Thampi

 Thiruvananthapuram | Veteran lyricist-composer Sreekumaran Thampi on Sunday lashed out at the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, the state's apex literary body, for allegedly insulting him with regard to the penning of 'Kerala Ganam', which is to be adopted as the state's official song, as announced by the government

Thampi alleged that after the Akademi pressured him to write and compose the song, they disregarded it -- even after he made all the modifications suggested by the literary body. They went on to publish advertisements seeking submission of lyrics for Kerala Ganam, without bothering to inform him that his song had been rejected, Thampi told reporters here.

'They are now saying that a song submitted by lyricist Harinarayan has been chosen. Through this, they are declaring that he is a better lyricist than Sreekumaran Thampi,'' he said referring to himself. ''Rejecting my song after forcing me to compose it amounts to an insult to me.'' Hitting out at Akademi President K Satchidanandan, Thampi said he gave a one-word reply --''thanks''-- when he sent him the modified lyrics.

''Naturally, I thought my song was accepted. But no one has informed me so far that it has been rejected,'' he added.

He also accused Satchidanandan of deliberately insulting him now in retaliation over an old dispute between them.

Thampi said he would himself compose music for the song rejected by the Akademi and release it on YouTube soon. ''Let the people of the state decide whether it is worthy of being considered as Kerala Ganam,'' the veteran added.

Akademi President Satchidanandan rejected the charges and said no one in the expert scrutiny committee liked the song submitted by Thampi, which is why it could not be given clearance.

''We have received several applications and it was the song submitted by composer Harinarayan that came out very well. As a poet, I also feel that it is good. The Kerala Ganam is envisaged as a simple song which can be sung by everyone,'' he said.

He also made it clear that the final decision on the song would be taken by the expert panel.

''I hope Harinarayan's song will be selected,'' he added.

Sahitya Akademi Secretary C P Aboobacker also said a final decision would be taken by the panel, which comprises several eminent and scholarly persons.

A song that reflects the history, culture and other aspects of Kerala, and the one that equally blends music and literature will be selected as Kerala Ganam, he said.

He too rejected Thampi's allegation that the Akademi had insulted him. ''The Akademi has done nothing to insult him,'' Aboobacker claimed.

Meanwhile, state Cultural Affairs Minister Saji Cherian intervened in the matter and said he would soon meet Thampi in person to resolve the issue after taking stock.

The criticism by Sreekumaran Thampi against Kerala Sahitya Akademi came a day after eminent Malayalam poet Balachandran Chullikkad criticised the body for the ''poor'' remuneration he was given for participating in one of its recent programmes.

The poet said he received just Rs 2,400 as remuneration for delivering a lecture during a session of the International Literature Festival of Kerala and that he had to pay the taxi fare from his own pocket.

After the issue triggered a controversy, the Akademi authorities said the poor remuneration given to the eminent poet was the result of a technical mistake and that it would be rectified.

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