Thottiyude Makan

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Thottiyude Makan
(Scavenger's Son)
Author Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai
Translator R. E. Asher
Country India
Language Malayalam
Genre Novel
Publisher DC Books [1]
Publication date
Pages 126

Thottiyude Makan (Scavenger's Son) is a 1947 Malayalam novel written by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai. [2] 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. [3]

Malayalam language spoken in Kerala and Lakshadweep of India

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 novelist and short story writer of Malayalam language

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.


Plot summary

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 Historically used euphemism for human excreta collected from cesspools, privies, pail closets, pit latrines etc.

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. [1]

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. [4]

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  1. 1 2 "10th DC Books impression of Thottiyude Makan releases". DC Books. January 8, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  2. K. Ayyappa Panicker (April 24 - May 7, 1999). "The end of historiography?". Frontline . Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  3. "Scavenger's Son". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  4. Neela Padmanabhan (March 9, 2004). "On men and matters". The Hindu . Retrieved July 2, 2013.