|Author||Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai|
|Translator||R. E. Asher|
Thottiyude Makan (Scavenger's Son) is a 1947 Malayalam novel written by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai.The novel portrays three generations of a working-class family engaged in Alleppey as scavengers. When it first appeared in India in 1947, the novel caused great controversy in its portrayal of the untouchables as people with real feelings.
Malayalam is a Dravidian language spoken in the Indian state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry (Mahé) by the Malayali people, and it is one of 22 scheduled languages of India. Malayalam has official language status in the state of Kerala and in the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry (Mahé) and is spoken by 38 million people worldwide. Malayalam is also spoken by linguistic minorities in the neighbouring states; with significant number of speakers in the Nilgiris, Kanyakumari, and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu, and Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada districts of Karnataka. Due to Malayali expatriates in the Persian Gulf, the language is also widely spoken in Gulf countries.
Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, popularly known as Thakazhi after his place of birth, was an Indian novelist and short story writer of Malayalam literature. He wrote over 30 novels and novellas and over 600 short stories focusing on the lives of the oppressed classes. Known for his works such as Kayar and Chemmeen, Pillai was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, the third highest Indian civilian award. He was also a recipient of the Jnanpith, India's highest literary award, awarded in 1984 for the novel Kayar.
In the novel Thottiyude Makan, we witness the story of three generations of thottis, cleaners of night soil. The first two generations struggle to attain individuality; they suffer and die unfulfilled, oppressed and ostracised, but their struggles enable Mohanan, the third-generation thotti, to assert his individual dignity and lead his fellow untouchables to rise against oppression and prejudice.
Night soil is a historically used euphemism for human excreta collected from cesspools, privies, pail closets, pit latrines, privy middens, septic tanks, etc. This material was removed from the immediate area, usually at night, by workers employed in this trade. Sometimes it could be transported out of towns and sold on as a fertilizer.
After completing his law, Thakazhi joined Keralakesari (a magazine run by Kesari Balakrishna Pillai) as journalist. He also practiced under P. Parameshwaran Pillai in Ambalapuzha Munsiff court. During this period he met with people's problem which was the inspiration to write Thottiyude Makan.
Akathoot Balakrishna Pillai (1889–1960), better known as Kesari Balakrishna Pillai, was a Malayalam writer, art and literary critic and journalist, considered by many as one of the most influential thinkers of modern Kerala. He was the eponymous founder of the newspaper, Kesari and was one of the three major figures in modern Malayalam literary criticism, along with Joseph Mundassery and M. P. Paul. Besides works such as Kesariyude Lokangal, Navalokam, Sankethika Nirupanangal Sahitya Nirupanangal, Rupamanjari, he also wrote a text in English under the title, Outlines of the Proto-Historic Chronology of Western Asia.
The novel was translated into English by R. E. Asher under the title Scavenger's Son. Tamil author Sundara Ramasami has translated the novel into Tamil.
Chinnaswami Subramania Bharati, also known as Bharathiyar, was a Tamil writer, poet, journalist, Indian independence activist and a social reformer from Tamil Nadu. Popularly known as "Mahakavi Bharati", he was a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry and is considered one of the greatest Tamil literary figures of all time. His numerous works included fiery songs kindling patriotism during the Indian Independence movement.
Ramaswamy Aiyer Krishnamurthy, better known by his pen name Kalki, was an Indian writer, journalist, poet, critic and Indian independence activist. He was named after "Kalki", the tenth and last avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu. His writings include over 120 short stories, 10 novellas, 5 novels, 3 historical romances, editorial and political writings and hundreds of film and music reviews.
Silappadikaram is one of Five Great Epics according to later Tamil literary tradition. Ascetic-prince Ilango Adigal is credited with this work, who was the younger brother of reputed warrior-king Senguttuvan of the Chera dynasty.
Madath Thekkepaattu Vasudevan Nair, popularly known as MT, is an Indian author, screenplay writer and film director. He is a prolific and versatile writer in modern Malayalam literature, and is one of the masters of post-Independence Indian literature. He was born in Kudallur, a small village in the present day Pattambi Taluk, Palakkad district (Palghat), which was under the Malabar District in the Madras Presidency of the British Raj. He shot into fame at the age of 20 when, as a chemistry undergraduate, he won the prize for the best short story in Malayalam at World Short Story Competition conducted by The New York Herald Tribune. His debut novel Naalukettu, wrote at the age of 23, won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 1958. His other novels include Manju (Mist), Kaalam (Time), Asuravithu and Randamoozham. The deep emotional experiences of his early days have gone into the making of MT's novels. Most of his works are oriented towards the basic Malayalam family structure and culture and many of them were path-breaking in the history of Malayalam literature. His three seminal novels on life in the matriarchal family in Kerala are Naalukettu, Asuravithu, and Kaalam. Randamoozham, which retells the story of the Mahabharatha from the point of view of Bhimasena, is widely credited as his masterpiece.
Ottupulackal Velukkuty Vijayan, commonly known as O. V. Vijayan, was an Indian author and cartoonist, who was an important figure in modern Malayalam language literature. Best known for his first novel Khasakkinte Itihasam (1969), Vijayan was the author of six novels, nine short-story collections, and nine collections of essays, memoirs and reflections.
Parutholli Chalappurathu Kuttikrishnan, popularly known by his pen name Uroob was an Indian writer of Malayalam literature. Along with Basheer, Thakazhi, Kesavadev, and Pottekkatt, Uroob was counted among the progressive writers in Malayalam during the twentieth century. He was known for his novels such as Sundarikalum Sundaranmarum and Ummachu, short stories like Rachiyamma and the screenplays of a number of Malayalam films including Neelakuyil, the first Malayalam feature film to receive the National Film Award. He was a recipient of several honours including Kendra Sahithya Academy Award and the inaugural Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Novel.
P. Kesava Pillai, better known by his pen-name P. Kesavadev, was a novelist and social reformer of Kerala, India. He is remembered for his speeches, autobiographies, novels, dramas, short stories, and films. Odayil Ninnu, Nadhi, Bhrandalayam, Ayalkar, Ethirppu (autobiography) and Oru Sundariyude Athmakadha are some among his 128 literary works. Kesavadev along with Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai and Vaikom Muhammad Basheer are considered the exponents of progressive Malayalam Literature.
Sundara Ramaswamy was an Indian novelist and exponent of Tamil modern literature from Thazhuviya Mahadevarkoil, Kanyakumari district,Tamil Nadu. Ramaswamy began his literary career translating Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai's Malayalam novel, Thottiyude Makan into Tamil and writing his first short story, "Muthalum Mudivum", which he published in Pudimaipithan Ninaivu Malar.
N. Sreekantan Nair was a longtime Member of Parliament of Kollam, freedom fighter, trade unionist and writer.
Oru Pennum Randaanum is a 2008 Malayalam feature film written and directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan.
Malikathazhathu Pulluvazhy Narayana Pillai, affectionately known as Nanappan among his friends, was a journalist and writer of Malayalam literature. Known for his novel, Parinamam, and a number of short stories including Murugan Enna Pambatty and George Aaramante Kodathi, Pillai was associated with Far Eastern Economic Review and McGraw-Hill World News. He was awarded the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Novel in 1991, but he declined the award.
Kainikkara Kumara Pillai (1900–1988), younger brother of Kainikkara Padmanabha Pillai, was a Malayalam teacher, actor and playwright, who wrote classics such as "Harichandra".
Chemmeen is a Malayalam novel written by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai in 1956. Chemmeen tells the story of the relationship between Karuthamma, the daughter of a Hindu fisherman, and Pareekutti, the son of a Muslim fish wholesaler. The theme of the novel is a myth among the fishermen communities along the coastal Kerala State in the Southern India. The myth is about chastity. If the married fisher woman was infidel when her husband was in the sea, the Sea Goddess would consume him. It is to perpetuate this myth that Thakazhi wrote this novel. It was adapted into a film of same name, which won critical acclaim and commercial success.
Samuel Vedanayagam Pillai (1826–1889), also known as Mayavaram Vedanayagam Pillai, was an Indian civil servant. Tamil poet, novelist and social worker who is remembered for the authorship of Prathapa Mudaliar Charithram, recognized as the "first modern Tamil novel". The novel reflects Vedanayagam's own ideals of women's liberation and education.
Naalukettu is a Malayalam novel written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair. Published in 1958, it was MT's first major novel. The title attributes to Nālukettu, a traditional ancestral home (Taravad) of a Nair joint family. Like many other novels written by MT, Naalukettu is also set against the backdrop of the crumbling matrilineal order of Kerala in a newly independent India.
Kayar is a 1978 Malayalam epic novel written by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai. Widely considered as one of the most seminal works in Malayalam literature, Kayar received many major literary awards including the Jnanpith, India's highest literary honour.
Aarachaar is a Malayalam novel written by K. R. Meera. Originally serialised in Madhyamam Weekly in continuous 53 volumes, the novel was published as a book by DC Books in 2012. It was translated by J. Devika into English under the title Hangwoman: Everyone Loves a Good Hanging.
Ronald E. Asher is a British linguist and educator specialised in Dravidian languages. He is a fellow of Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1964), a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1991), and a Honorary fellow of the Sahitya Akademi.