N. Kumaran Asan (Malayalam:കുമാരനാശാന്) (1873–1924), also known as Mahakavi Kumaran Asan (the prefix Mahakavi awarded by Madras University in the year 1922 means "great poet" and the suffix Asan meaning scholar or teacher), was one of the triumvirate poets of Kerala, South India. He was also a philosopher, a social reformer and a disciple of Sree Narayana Guru.
Kumaran Asan initiated a revolution in Malayalam poetry in the first quarter of the 20th century, transforming it from the metaphysical to the lyrical. Deep moral and spiritual commitment is evident in Asan's poetry. His works are an eloquent testimony of poetic concentration and dramatic contextualization.
Asan was born in a merchant family belonging to the Ezhava community in April 1873 in Kayikkara village, Chirayinkeezhu taluk, north of Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, south India. Named Kumaru He was the second son in a family of nine children. His father, Narayanan Perungudi, was well versed in Malayalam and Tamil.His mother, Kaali. Asan inherited his taste for Kathakali and classical music. Kumaru trained in mathematics and Sanskrit for which he had a passion. Even though through his father's efforts, he got a job as a primary school teacher was not before and an accountant to a wholesaler at the age of 14, he quit the job two years later to pursue higher studies in Sanskrit. He undertook a studentship in poetry under Manamboor Govindan Asan. He wished to learn Yoga and Tantra and worked as an apprentice in a Muruga temple at Vakkom. It is said that the Muse of Poetry blessed him during this time. He composed a few devotional songs for the benefit of regular worshippers at this temple.
In 1917 Asan married Bhanumathiamma daughter of Thachakudy Kumaran - younger brother of Dr.P.Palpu's father. Asan had two sons, Prabhakaran and Sudhakaran. Bhanumathiamma, who was an active social worker, later remarried after Asan's untimely death. Bhanumathiamma died in 1975.
Handwriting of Kumaran Asan : From the notebooks of Asan kept at Thonnakkal Asan museum
This is a collection of poems. The poems published in this volume are longer than those published in Manimaala.
Asan scripted this epoch-making poem in 1907 during his sojourn in Jain Medu, Palakkad. A highly philosophical poem, ‘Veena Poovu’ is an allegory of the transience of the mortal world, which is depicted through the description of the varied stages in the life of a flower. Asan describes in such detail about its probable past and the position it held. It is an intense sarcasm on people on high powers/positions finally losing all those. The first word Ha, and the last word Kashtam of the entire poem is often considered as a symbolism of him calling the world outside "Ha! kashtam".
Oru Simhaprasavam (1909)
Nalini (Subtitle: Allengkil Oru Sneham) (1911)
A deep love story in which Leela leaves madanan, her lover and returns to find him in forest in a pathetic condition. She thus realizes the fundamental fact 'Mamsanibhadamalla ragam' (Love is not an artifact of flesh)
This is an epic poem (perhaps Kumaran Asan's longest work), written in couplets and divided into five parts.
This is a shorter epic poem consisting of 267 verses. Most of these verses are couplets, with the exception of the last three quatrains. There are, therefore, 540 lines in all.
Graamavrikshattile Kuyil (1918)
Chintaavishtayaaya Sita (1919)
This poem, divided into four parts and consisting of couplets, describes an untouchable beggar-woman" (also the name of the poem) who approaches Lord Ananda near Sravasti.
This is a collection of short poems.
This is a larger collection of poems of varying length.
Kumaran Asan also wrote many other poems. Some of these poems are listed in the book Asante Padyakrthikal under the name "Mattu Krthikal" (Other Works):
Pravaasakaalaththu Naattile Ormakal
This is another collection of poems that come from various letters Kumaran Asan wrote over the course of several years. None of the poems were longer than thirty-two lines.
The other poems are lesser known. Only a few of them have names:
This is another one of Asan's letter-poems.