Renowned poet Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri (93) on Friday reacted humbly to the news of him winning the country's most prestigious literary award, the Jnanpith, by saying, "Bigger and better poets than me did not get the award... I'm happy."
The celebrated poet, popularly known as Akkitham, who won the 55th Jnanpith award for his outstanding contribution to literature, said his works have always been connected to the country's culture.
"I don't think that what I wrote was always right and please forgive me for that. Bigger and better poets than me did not get this award, but I got it and I am happy. I feel I got it because of the longevity of my life. I'm sad that the strength behind my works -- my wife -- is not with me now," said Akkitham.
Akkitham became the sixth Keralite to be conferred with the Jnanpith.
Legendary writer M.T. Vasudevan Nair, who had won the award in 1995, said he was really happy to hear the good news of Akkitham winning the prestigious award.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is on tour to Japan, reacted by saying that this award for Akkitham was a huge appreciation for Malayalam literature.
"His works always reflected the pains of human beings and always had a deep concern for mankind," said Vijayan.
Akikitham's acclaimed works include "Irupatham Noottantinte Ithihasam", "Balidarashanam", and "Dharma Sooryan", among others.
Akkitham was decorated with the Padma Shri in 2017.