Renowned Malayalam poet and activist Sugathakumari, who devoted her life to the green cause, rights of girls and therefore the deprived, gave up the ghost at a Thiruvananthapuram hospital on Wednesday while undergoing treatment for Covid-19-related complications. She was 86.
Sugathakumari was one among the pioneers of green activism within the state that reflected in her poetry. She always warned people against the exploitation of Mother Nature and asked them to believe its impact on future generations.
“Do not bring flowers once I am dead. If you would like to recollect me, plant a banyan ,” she said once when asked how she wanted to be remembered. Sugathakumari earmarked an area for people to plant trees on the lawns of a home she found out for destitute and mentally challenged women in 1992. After her cremation, many of her friends planted trees.
Sugathakumari was at the forefront of agitation within the 1980s against a hydropower project in Silent Valley because it is home to species like lion-tailed macaque and far endemic flora and fauna within the picturesque Nilgiris. The agitation prompted the govt to constitute a panel under eminent scientist MGK Menon that advised against the project.