Jayakanthan was born on 24th April 1934 in the Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu. He is famously known by the name, JK. He was an Indian writer, whose famous compositions include, Rishimoolam, Once an Actress, Birammopadhesam, etc. He belonged to a family of agriculturists from Manjakuppam town of Cuddalore city. He was raised there by his mother and uncles, who were involved in politics. He was married to his maternal cousin, and the couple together had three children (one son and two daughters). He left school after the 5th grade and showed his interest towards politics.
At the age of 12, he took a major decision and took a journey to Chennai. Here at Chennai, he did many low-profile jobs and eventually after working for few years, he ended up becoming a compositor of the CPI’s printing press. It was here at CPI that the party leaders, including Baladandayutham, S. Ramakrishnan, and P. Jeevanandham, encouraged him to write. In his early 20s, he was the writer of the pro-communist magazine. His works were also printed in the Janasakthi newspaper, and he also wrote columns for several magazines in Madras, including Sarasvathi, Thamarai, Manithan, and Samaran.
JK’s early works are mostly based on the plight and discrimination faced by the people of slums. He was a great admirer of Indira Gandhi (ex-Prime Minister of India) and her works. He supported “Nehruvian Socialism”. He left CPI in 1957 and joined the Tamil Desiyak Katchi and later in 1965, joined the Indian National Congress. He was totally against the LTTE organization of Sri Lanka and condemned its activities openly and called it a fascist organization. JK published his first novel, “Vazhkkai Azhaikkiradhu “in 1957. The novel was about the plight and sufferings of a low-class family.
He has written forty novels in total. His last publication was the “Innum Oru Pennin Kadhai” in 1986. JK directed and wrote the script of the movie, “Unnaipol Oruvan” 1965. He has also written almost two hundred short stories which have fetched him various awards. He is the recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award for his book titled, “Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal” in 1972. In 1978, he also won the Soviet Land Nehru Award for his achievements in his political career. He was also honoured the Jnanpith Award in 2002. In 2009, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan Award by the then Indian President, Smt. Pratibha Patil.
He breathed his last on 8 April 2015.