P. Kunhiraman Nair (4 November 1906 – 27 May 1978), also known as Mahakavi P, was a renowned Malayalam poet whose works romanticised the natural beauty of his home state of Kerala in southern India and juxtaposed it with the hard realities of his life and times.
Born in Bellikoth near Kanhangad of North Malabar, P., as he is known (simply by his initial), led a Bohemian lifestyle, wandering across Kerala, living in several places, meeting their people and making them part of his life and literature. He worked as a school teacher, having taught at Koodali near Kannur and Kollengode in Palakkad district.
Poetry formed his main genre of work (it isn't exactly known how many poems he penned during his half-a-century career as many are irretrievably lost), though he has also penned stories, articles and a few plays. His autobiography, 'Kaviyude Kaalpaadukal' (The Footmarks of a Poet), is one of the celebrated works in prose in Malayalam.
The central Kerala belt of Valluvanad, known for its scenic charm and cultural vibrancy, worked as a major source of inspiration for the poet, who lived there for long—partly as a family man. His works are also dotted with metaphors from Kathakali, the classical dance-drama of his region.
Kunhiraman Nair was an award winner of both the Kerala Sahithya Akademi and the Kendra Sahithya Academy Award.
Also proficient in Sanskrit, Kunhiraman Nair initially worked at a printing press in Thrissur for a few years. Later, he published a newspaper from Kannur, before taking to teaching job and gaining name as 'Kavimaash' (poet teacher) among children. He retired from service in 1961. A sudden bout of illness claimed his life on May 27, 1978, when the poet was staying in a rest house in Thiruvananthapuram.
Kaliyachhan (Oriental Dance teacher, 1954)
Onassadya (Onam Feast, 1960)
Pookkalam (spring, 1964)
Thaamarathoni (Lotus Boat, 1966)
Vasantholsavam (Spring Festival, 1972)
Chilamboli (Tinkling of the Anklet Bells, 1974)
Ratholsavam (Chariot Festival - 2 volumes, 1978)
Thamarathen ( Honey of the Lotus, 1983)
Rangamandapam (Stage Canopy, 1956)
Upaasana (Worship, 1958)
Kaviyude kalpadukal(Footprints of poet)
Ennethirayunna njan(I searching myself)