Vaikom Muhammad Basheer: A Legendary Figure of Indian Literature


Vaikom Muhammad Basheer: An Iconic Presence in Indian Literature

“On July 5, Basheer’s Memorial Day, let’s take a look at the life of this philanthropist who captured the life of a common man in the pages of books”


Vaikom Muhammad Basheer stands as an icon in the Indian literary world. His unique writing style, heart-warming storytelling and profound observations have earned him a special place in the hearts of his readers. This essay explores the life, works and lasting legacy of Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, whose words continue to fascinate readers even today.

Early Life and Background

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer was born on January 21, 1908 in Thalayolaparam town, Kerala. Coming from a humble background, Basheer’s childhood was full of financial and personal difficulties. His experiences during this period greatly influenced his writing, which often displayed empathy for the downtrodden and a deep understanding of human nature.

A sculpture of Vaikom Mohammed Basheer's ‘Pathummayude Aadu' at Mananchira,Kozhikode
A sculpture of Vaikom Mohammed Basheer’s ‘Pathummayude Aadu’ at Mananchira, Kozhikode

The Literary Journey Begins

Basheer’s literary journey began in 1937 with the publication of his first story “Ente Thangam” (My Beloved). Simplicity and authentic depiction of everyday life characterized his writing style. Basheer’s stories resonated with readers because of their relatability and ability to touch the core of human emotions. A sculpture o Vaikom Mohammed Basheer’s ‘Pathummayude Aadu’ at Mananchira, Kozhikode

Panning Masterpiece

The novel “Balyakalasakhi” (Childhood Friend) published in 1944 is one of Basheer’s most famous works. This poignant story explores themes of love, friendship and the impact of social norms on individuals. The novel won widespread acclaim and established Bashir as a prominent voice in Indian literature.

Social and Political Action

Apart from literary activities, Basheer was also active in social and political activities. He passionately fought for the cause of the marginalized and fought against social injustices. Bashir’s writings often reflected his progressive and egalitarian views and made him a respected figure in the struggle for social reform.

Basheer on a 2009 stamp of India

Imprisonment and Deportation

Bashir actively participated in the freedom struggle during the freedom struggle in British India. As a result of his involvement, he served multiple prison terms. His experiences in prison and subsequent exile shaped his worldview and deepened his writings. Basheer’s ability to blend reality with fiction has created an unparalleled narrative style.

Literary Achievements and Recognition

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer’s literary achievements have earned him many accolades and accolades. He received honours such as the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship and Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian honours. Bashir’s works were translated into many languages, further expanding his reach and influence.

Cultural Impact

Basheer’s influence extends beyond the realm of literature. His writings have been adapted into plays, films and television series, reaching wider audiences and introducing new generations to his stories. Basheer’s unique voice and storytelling techniques have become an indelible part of Kerala’s cultural fabric.

A handwritten letter by Basheer displayed at an
exhibition conducted by Kerala Sahithya Academy


In conclusion, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer remains a revered figure in Indian literature. His ability to capture the essence of human emotions, address social issues and mix humour with deep insight makes him a great storyteller. Basheer’s works continue to inspire and enlighten readers, ensuring that his legacy lives on for generations to come.

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