(Last Updated on : 15/03/2013)
Ullur Parameswam Iyer was a modern Malayali poet, a part of Great trio of Malayalam literature
. He was a prolific scholar-poet who contributed immensely to Malayalam literature. Ullur Parameswam Iyer is known for his versatility, his lyricism, the innovative techniques of his prosody and most of all for his productivity. Ullur's five-volume history of Malayalam literature is still the best work on pre-twentieth-century Sanskrit, Tamil, and Malayalam. There are a number of critics who tried to attack Ullur for being a member of the ruling class. However it cannot be denied that the service he rendered to modern Malayalam literature through works such as Umakeralam, Karnabhushanam, Bhakthi Deepika, and Kiranavali ensured his position among the Great Trio. One of his most memorable poems is Prema Sangitam. It is a beautiful, highly wrought pre-Raphaelite lyric about the beauty of love.
In the Great trio, Ullur was the most classical among the three poets. He was the author of the epic on Kerala known as Umakeralam. While in the middle of his career, he abandoned part of his classicism and became a part of the new movement that was being popularized by Asan and Vallathol. As a first step, he adopted the Dravidian meter in his works and enriched it with his flawless technical skill. His main contribution was to help in developing a sense of pride about the Indian identity of Malayalam-speakers. Being a top official in the government and an orthodox Brahmin
himself, he based most of his works on the rather high principles of an ever living India of Sanskrit culture. He was most successful in providing the best fusion of the Aryan and Dravidian cultures.
The passion of the poet for asserting and unifying the people on the basis of cultural identity is most prominently seen in Chithrasala (The Art Gallery). In this poem, the poet
takes the American writer Katharine Mayo for a demonstrative tour of the eternal India. In her Mother India, Mayo had attacked Indian culture and made many contemptuous and prejudiced remarks on Indian womanhood. Ullur took it upon himself to set the record straight by revealing to the American writer the gallery of portraits of men and women of the Indian tradition, describing their greatness, showing how the women often emerged nobler and wiser than their consorts.
Thus the contribution of Ullur to the field of Malayalam literature has been immense. Perhaps his greatest contribution lies in the fact that he tried to do away with the confines of regionalism and constantly emphasised on the cultural identity of the country.