Thunchath Ezhuthachan

The poet Thunchath Ezhuthachan is acclaimed as the Father of Malayalam, the language of Kerala, India.  He lived in the 16th century. His literary works Adhyatma Ramayanam and Mahabharatam, both written in the style of Kilippattu, laid the foundation for a modern poetic language in Malayalam. The script for the present Malayalam too gained popularity through these two classic works of Ezhuthachan. Hence the title ‘Ezhuthachan’ or the ‘Father of (Malayalam) Language.

Ezhuthachan wrote the Ramayana and Mahabharata as if made to sing by the kili, the parrot. And thus originated the style called Kilippattu, the song of the bird parrot. The poet depended not on the Ramayana of Valmiki for his translation, but an Adhyatma Ramayana in Sanskrit, of a later period.

Any conclusive information on his full name, place of birth, family etc., is not available. There is a claim that his full name is ‘Ramanujan Ezhuthachan. There was a family called ‘Thunchath’ near the Shiva Temple of Thrikandiyur near Tirur in the Malappuram district of Kerala. And it is believed that the poet was born there.

Apart from Ramayana-Bharata Kilippattus, some other works too are credited to Ezhuthachchan, like Uttara Ramayanam, Bhaagavatam, Harinama kirttanam, Chintaratnam, Brahmanda puranam, Devi Maahatmayam, Irupatthinaalu vruttham, Shatamukha Ramayanam, and Kaivalya anvaneetam. Though not conclusively proved, the Malayalis love to believe that Harinama kirttanam and Bhagavatam in Malayalam were originally written by him.