Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer

Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer (6 June 1877 – 15 June 1949), born Sambasivan but popularly known as Ulloor, was an Indian poet of Malayalam literature and a historian. He was one of the modern triumvirate poets of Kerala in the first half of the 20th century, along with Kumaran Asan and Vallathol Narayana Menon.[1] Umakeralam, a mahakavya, and Kerala Sahitya Charithram, a comprehensive history of Malayalam language are two of his most important works.

Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer
Ulloor S Parameswara Iyer 1980 stamp of India.jpg
Born(1877-06-06)June 6, 1877
Changanacherry, Travancore
DiedJune 15, 1949(1949-06-15) (aged 72)
OccupationPoet, historian
Notable works
  • Umakeralam
  • Karnabhushanam
  • Pingala
  • Kerala Sahitya Charithram
SpouseAnanthalakshmi Ammal, Subbammal
  • Subramania Iyer (father)
  • Bhagavathi Ammal (mother)


The desire to rise seen in the flying fireflies, the enthusiasm brimming within the singing cuckoo' to offer worship to other beings, the skill of the full-blown flower to entice the entire world, the expertise of the jumping bird to move its feet....... I have read ambrosia-like suggestive poetry even in mere rust; I have heard with my ear sweet veena sounds even in silence, Excerpts from Ulloor's Bhoothakkannadi (Microscope)[2]

Ulloor was born on 6 June 1877 at Thamarassery Illam in Perunna, Changanassery in the south Indian state of Kerala to Subramania Iyer and Bhagavathi Ammal.[3] His early schooling was at Changanassery but father died when he was young and in 1890, the family shifted to Thiruvanathapuram where his mother raised him. He graduated with Honors in Philosophy from Maharajas College in 1897 and joined the Travancore State Services.[4] He continued his studies and took a graduate degree in Law and master's degrees in Malayalam and Tamil. He held various positions in the government service such as those of a Land revenue and Income Tax Commissioner before superannuating from service as the Chief Secretary of the State.[5]

Iyer married Ananthalakshmi Ammal in 1892 when he was only 15 years old but his wife died in 1903.[3] Subsequently, he married Subbammal in 1905, who died in 1930. He had three daughters and five sons from his two marriages. He died on June 15, 1949, aged 72.[6]


The statue of Ulloor in front of the State Central Library at Palayam

Iyer assumed his name, Ulloor, after the place of his ancestral home. Unlike the other two members of the modern triumvirates, Kumaran Asan and Vallathol Narayana Menon, who were romanticists, Ulloor was known to be a classicist and his works were marked by Sanskrit words, mythological references, satirical undertones and scholarship.[7] One of his most notable works was published in 1914, a mahakavya titled Umakeralam when the language had only one complete mahakavya until then, Rukmamgadacharitham of Pandalam Kerala Varma.[8] Poet K. Ayyappa Paniker noted that Umakeralam was a work of great devotion: devotion to the land, to the language, to a poetic tradition.[2] He also wrote short narratives or khandakavyas and Karnabhooshanam and Pingala are two notable works in that genre; the former an account of Karna's generosity and dedication to principles while the latter is a portrayal of the transformation of a courtesan[9] overnight into a pious and saintly character. Some of his other best known works were Bhakthideepika, and Chithrasala. Uloor also wrote quite a large number of lyrics and shorter pieces, now available in various collections.[4] The most noted of his historical works was Kerala Sahitya Charithram, which narrates the history of Malayalam language, culture, and literature and the book was published by the University of Kerala after the writer's death in 1949.[4] He did research on ancient literature and palm leaf manuscripts and was successful in discovering works such as Rama Charitham poem and Doothavakyam prose. Besides, he wrote a play, Amba and such other works in prose as Bashachampukkal, a study on Champu literature and Vijnana Deepika, a compilation of essays in four volumes.[3] He also wrote poems for children and the popular song, Kakke, Kakke, Koodevide is one among them.[10]


The Government of Kerala established Mahakavi Ulloor Memorial Library and Research Centre in 1956, to honour the memory of the poet, and it was shifted to a new premises in Jagathy, Thiruvananthapuram in 1966 which was inaugurated by S. Radhakrishnan, the then president of India.[11] The institution which houses a research centre and a public library, became the first open university in Kerala for non-formal education in 1978, offering courses in Sanskrit, Malayalam literature, poetry and telecasting.[12] It has also instituted an annual literary award, Ulloor Award, to recognise excellence in Malayalam poetry.[11] The India Post released a commemorative stamp in 1980, depicting his portrait.[13] On May 15, 1981, the then Indian President Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy unveiled a full size statue of Ulloor in the premises of the State Central Library, Kerala, at Palayam, Thiruvananthapuram.[4]



  • Parameswara Iyer, Uḷḷoor S. (1930). Aruṇodayaṃ. Thiruvananthapuraṃ: B V Book Depot. OCLC 38510518.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Uḷḷoor S. (1945). Sharanopaharam: Sabarimala Sastāvineppaṭṭiyuḷḷa sthothr̲aṃ. Thiruvananthapuraṃ: R T Pillai and Sons. OCLC 38513938.
  • Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer (1968). Manimanjusha.
  • Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer (1969). Tharaharam.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Ulloor S. (1969). Chithrashala. Ulloor Publications.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Uḷḷoor S. (1971). Tharangini (in Malayalam). Thiruvananthapuraṃ: Uḷḷoor Publishers. OCLC 5413640.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Ulloor S. (1972). Karna Bhooshanam (1 ed.). Ulloor: Ulloor Publishers.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Uḷḷoor S. (1973). Bhakthideepika: athavā, Cāttant̲e satgati (in Malayalam). Trivandrum: Ullur Publishers. OCLC 5834716.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Uḷḷoor S. (1977). Ulloorinte Padya Krithikal - Pt 1. Sahithya pravarthaka Saha. Sangam: Sahithya pravarthaka Saha. Sangam.0
  • Parameswara Iyer, Ulloor S. (1981). Umaakeralam. Thiruvananthapuram: Ullur Publishers.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Ulloor S. (1990). Pingala. Trivandram: Ulloor Publishers.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Uḷḷoor S. (2006). Sree Andal Kavithakal (in Malayalam). DC Books. ASIN B007E4WO40.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Uḷḷoor S. (2010). Ulloor Kavithakal Sampoornam (in Malayalam). DC Books. ASIN 8126428015.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Uḷḷoor S. (2012). Deshadanakili (in Malayalam). Lipi Publications. ISBN 978-8188012329.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Uḷḷoor S. (2013). Padyamanjari (in Malayalam). DC Books. ISBN 978-8126442034.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Uḷḷoor S. (2016). Dhoothavakyam (in Malayalam). Public Domain Books.


  • Parameswara Iyer, Ulloor S.; Vēlāyudhan Nāir, Jagati (editor) (1969). Hīra: Savyākhyānaṃ. Thiruvananthapuraṃ: Uḷḷoor Publishers. OCLC 31063558.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Parameswara Iyer, Ulloor S.; Sankaran, A. V (editor) (1971). Kāvyapr̲abhāvaṃ: savyākhyānaṃ. Trivandrum: Ullur Publishers. OCLC 31433537.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Parameswara Iyer, Ulloor S. (1979). Uḷḷoorint̲e Pr̲abandhaṅṅaḷ (in Malayalam). Thiruvananthapuraṃ: University of Kerala. OCLC 17607218.
  • Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer (2015). Kēraḷa Sāhitya Charitraṃ. Prakāśanavibhāgaṃ, Kéraḷasarvakalāśāla. ISBN 978-81-930368-4-6.

Translations into other languagesEdit

  • Parameswara Iyer, Uḷḷoor S.; Viśvanāthan, N. (translator) (1978). English essays and poems of Mahakavi Ulloor. Trivandrum: University of Kerala, Dept. of Publications. OCLC 7706032.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Ulloor S.; Ramachandran Nair, K. (translator) (1978). Selected poems of Mahakavi Ullur. Trivandrum: University of Kerala. OCLC 9978154.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Uḷḷoor S.; Kerala (India); Department of Cultural Publications (1998). Progress of Travancore under H.H. Sree Moolam Tirunal. Thiruvananthapuram: Dept. of Cultural Publications, Govt. of Kerala. ISBN 9788186365663. OCLC 51087846.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Uḷḷoor S.; Kerala (India); Department of Cultural Publications (2003). Essays on Travancore. Thiruvananthapuram: Cultural Publications Dept., Govt. of Kerala. OCLC 55147458.
  • Parameswara Iyer, Ulloor S.; K. Raghavan Pillai (translator) (1980). "The Ornaments of Karna". Journal of South Asian Literature. 15 (2): 38–71. JSTOR 40861160.

Works on UlloorEdit

  • Sahrudayavedi (1976). Ulloorinte Sahityasādhana: Padanaṃ. Trichur; Kōṭṭayaṃ: Sahrudayavedi ; National Book Stall (distributors). OCLC 33252123.
  • George, K. M (1977). Mahakavi Ulloor: a centenary volume. Trivandrum: Mahakavi Ulloor Memorial Library and Research Institute. OCLC 5240774.
  • Sukumār Azhikode (1979). Mahakavi Ulloor. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. OCLC 7328266.


  • His name at birth was Sambasivan and but was called by his family as Parameshwaran.[3]
  • K. Subramaniam, the director of Prahlada, the 1941 Malayalam movie, was the nephew of Ulloor.[14]


  1. ^ O. N. V. Kurup (2005). A. J. Thomas (ed.). This Ancient Lyre: Selected Poems. Sahitya Akademi. p. 10. ISBN 978-8126017911.
  2. ^ a b "Ulloor Parameswara Iyer (1877-1949)". keralacafe.com. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d "Biography on Kerala Sahitya Akademi portal". Kerala Sahitya Akademi portal. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d Mukesh (16 May 2012). "Statues Of Trivandrum: Mahakavi Ulloor S Parameswara Iyer". Yentha.com. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Remembering Ulloor Parameswara Iyer, the Man Who Immortalised Love in His Poems". KochiPost. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  6. ^ Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature. Sahitya Akademi. 1988. p. 1185. ISBN 978-8126011940.
  7. ^ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43821853-karnabhooshanam
  8. ^ "Translation as a synopsis of the Malayalam poetry Uma Keralam by Ulloor". Candid thoughts. 13 March 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Ulloor Smarakam". keralaliterature.com. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Mahakavi Ulloor Memorial Library and Research Centre". keralaculture.org. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Commemorative and definitive stamps". postagestamps.gov.in. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  12. ^ Chelangad, Saju (9 March 2014). "Of monarchs and movies". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 March 2019.

External linksEdit