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Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan Biography | Poet

Photo of Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan

There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to the life of Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan. What we do know is that he was a great Indian poet and linguist from around the 16th century. Historians believe that he may have been born sometime around 1495 in Trikkantiyur and died around 1575. Since scholars and historians are not sure as to when he actually lived, they are in agreement that he lived during the 16th century.

Ezhuthachan is known as the father of the Malayalam language, which is the main language of Kerala. He is believed to have refined the language and was one of the main reasons why Malayalam became its own independent language.

The Unknown Educational Background of Ezhuthachan

Scholars and historians are unsure about the educational experience of Ezhuthachan. We know that he had some sort of schooling, however. A lot of assumptions can be made about Ezhuthachan, but based on his accomplishments throughout his career, it’s an easy assumption that he excelled in school and was likely very influential in the classroom. The fact that he is considered the father of the Malayalam language and essentially created another alphabet gives historians a reason to believe that he was a bright spot in the classroom and likely had some innovative ideas.

Summary of the Life of Ezhuthachan as Historians Know it

After his educational career ended, historians believe Ezhuthachan got married and celebrated the birth of a daughter. Many sources believe that Ezhuthachan is of the Kaniyar caste. Some also believe that his father was a Nambudiri Brahmin. This caused some controversy during his time, but historians are unsure as to what exactly happened with the limited information available.

Biggest Achievements for Ezhuthachan

Obviously, the biggest achievement for Ezhuthachan is becoming known as the father of the Malayalam language. Not only did he refine the entire language, he also taught people to worship and respect the language and the Arya-ezhuttu alphabet, which he also created. The contributions that he made to the Malayalam language are so significant that he was deemed as the father of the language.

When there was an increase in significance of the Sanskrit language, some issues arose. Some words became distorted as different languages were getting confused with one another. There were talks about creating a completely new alphabet, but that wouldn’t be easy because of the complications with people accepting the language everywhere.

That’s when Ezhuthachan stepped in and created the Vattezhuthu alphabet, which was derived from a popular song. The alphabet grew with its popularity and started being taught as if it were the Malayalam alphabet.

Some of the major works for Ezhuthachan include Keralolpathi, Devi Mahathmayam, Kerala Natakam and Harihara Sudham.

The Immense Significance of Ezhuthachan

In a way, Ezhuthachan is a culture. Since language is so highly regarded as representing a certain culture, it is believed that Ezhuthachan and his achievements have created a culture. In a way, this is true since the language was somewhat coined by Ezhuthachan and is still being taught today.

Ezhuthachan does not have any original compositions that are credited to him, but what he has done with the Malayalam language cannot be compared to any other achievement by any other Indian poet.

Adhyatma Ramayanam is one of his works that is considered to be a major landmark in Malayalam literature. It is somewhat of a spiritual work that is believed to have given momentum to the Bhakti cult. This is significant because Ezhuthachan was a Bhakti poet during his time.

Since Ezhuthachan has died, his spirit still lives on. In fact in his ancestral home of Thunchan Parambu is now a pilgrimage centre. It is somewhat of a language shrine that is looked upon as legendary in and around Kerala. Parents bring their kids to Thunchan Parambu when they are first introduced to language.

There is also a period of time during the months of October and November when parents bring their kids to write their first letter. Parents have the choice of helping their children write the letters, or they can choose to have teachers help them write the letters for the first time. It is a significant moment in the lives of the children and it also pays respect to the father of the Malayalam language, Ezhuthachan. 

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