Balakrishna Pillai (1889-1960), popularly known as Kesari Balakrishna Pillai because of his intimate
and long association with the journal of that title, was one of the most fascinating personalities in Modern Malayalam, Literature. Almost single handed and always fearlessly, he fought against the formidable autocracy of the Dewan of the erstwhile princely State of Travancore through the columns of Kesari. A man of unorthodox views, he mercilessly attacked the traditions and strove hard to Usher in a new era in conformity with the changing values of society. He was the first great critic to introduce in Malayalam in a big way the masterpieces of French, German and Russian literatures. Above all, his humanistic approach made him a champion of personal liberty and individualistic development. The credit for inspiring the writers of progressive fiction like Kesava Dev, Thakazhi and others goes to none other than Kesari Balakrishna Pillai.
Dr. K.M. George, the author of this monograph, is a well-known scholar, critic, creative writer and editor and also a recipient of the Soviet Land Nehru Award and the title of Padma Shree. He has over forty publications in Malayalam and English to his credit. Dr. George's reputation has transcended the national boundaries with the publication of Comparative Indian 'Literature, of which he was the Director and Chief Editor. For some time, he was Vice-President of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi. In this slender volume, Dr.George narrates Sri Pillai’s life and evaluates his works with understanding and competence and ably brings out the essence of his genius, for the benefit of non-Malayalee readers.
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