Thakazhi with wife Katha

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Thakazhi with wife Katha at his residence in Kuttanad, Allepey. Photographed him in 1995 for a magazine assignment.

Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai (17 April 1912 – 10 April 1999) was a novelist and short story writer of Malayalam language. Born in the village of Thakazhi, in Kuttanad, Alappuzha district of Kerala,  He focused on the oppressed classes as the subject of his works, which are known for their attention to historic detail. He wrote several novels and over 600 short stories. His most famous works are Kayar (Coir, 1978) and Chemmeen (Prawns, 1956). Pillai, a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, was awarded India’s highest literary award, the Jnanpith in 1984 for the epic novel Kayar.

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