Well-known writer UA Khader, whose novels and stories over the last five decades in Malayalam are considered among the finest published works in the language, passed away at a private hospital in Kozhikode at the age of 85. He had been suffering from respiratory ailments for a long time.
Khader, whose father was Malayali and mother of Burmese origin, was born near Rangoon (now Yangon) in present-day Myanmar. During the Second World War, he and his family fled Myanmar and came to Kerala where he had his school and college education. It was believed to be his companionship with prominent IUML leader CH Muhammad Koya, who went on to become the state’s chief minister, that led Khader into the world of books and writing.
As soon as he began writing and his stories came to be published in literary magazines, it became apparent that Khader’s name would be etched into the history of Malayalam literature. He went on to work in various government capacities and headed the Purogamana Kala Sahitya Sangham, a progressive body of artists and writers. He was a member of the jury of the state film awards four times.
Khader won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 1983 and the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award in 2009 for his most acclaimed work ‘Thrikkottur Peruma’. Some of his other works are Raziya Sultana, Arabikadalinte Theeram, Chempavizham, Arippravinte Premam and Srishtavinte Khajana.
Khader worked in the state health department’s administrative section from 1964 till 1990. He also worked on deputation at the Kozhikode Akashvani between 1967 and 1972.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled Khader’s death, terming it as an irreplaceable loss for Malayalam literature and especially the progressive literature front. “Throughout his life, he held onto secular and progressive values which was reflected in his creative works as well,” the CM said.
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