Tamil Modern Literature

March 26, 2007

Sundara Ramasamy: Some Jottings

Filed under: Poets — Vaa.Manikandan @ 6:37 am

Sundara Ramasamy (1931—2006), known as Su.Ra in literary circles, is one of the giants of Tamil modern literature. Sundara Ramaswamy: was born on 30th May 1931, in Thazhuviya MahadevarKovil, a village in Nagercoil). 

He wrote poetry under the penname Pasuvayya. His poetry collection “Nadunisi Naaykal (Dogs at midnight) created waves in Tamil creative world. All his poems are edited in the name of 107 kavithaigal(107 poems).

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  • “Oru Puliya Marathin Kathai” (The Story of a Tamarind Tree),
  • “J.J Silakuripukal” (J.J: Some Jottings, tr, A.R Venkadachalapathy, Katha, 2004)
  • “Kuzhanthaikal, Penkal, Aankal” (Children, Women, Men).

His talent manifests itself uniquely through his novels. Oru Puliamarathin Kathai (The Story of a Tamarind Tree, 1966), his first novel, was well received as a work that proved to be a new experience both in form and content, extending the frontiers of Tamil novel and creating new perspectives. 

He gave up active writing for nearly six years; and when he began again in 1973, he had gone far beyond executing an interesting and agile narration. He still remained a stylist, but his concerns took new directions and his language acquired a solid texture, retaining a powerful and pointed humour. 

Oru Puliamarathin Kathai has been translated into English (Tale of a Tamarind Tree, Penguin India, New Delhi), Hindi (Imli Puran, Nilakant Prakashan, New Delhi), Malayalam (Oru Puliyamarathinte Katha, D.C.Books, Kottayam) and into Hebrew language (by Ronit Ricci, Hakibbutz Hameuchaud Publishing House, Tel Aviv). 

He wrote well appreciated short stories. Some of his most famous short stories are Pallaku Thookikal, Pakkathil Vantha Appa and Rathnabayin Angilam. At the end of his life time his “Pillai keduthaal vilai” received tamil literary world’s attention in large. 

Sundara Ramasamy’s short stories are well acclaimed for their taut structure, subtle psychological observations and a subtle sense of humour. He predominantly followed a realistic narrative pattern in his fiction. An omnibus collection of his stories is available as “Kaakangal”(Crows).

He translated two malayalam novels into Tamil.

  •         Thottiyin magan (Thagazhi Sivasangara Pillai)
  •         Chemmeen(Thagazhi Sivasangara Pillai)

His collection of critical essays, “Aazhamum Virivum Thedi” (In Search of Depth and Wideness) gives a peek into his razor-sharp views on literature and awesome critical acumen.

The famous literary meetings which were conducted by Su.Ra in the name “Kaakangal” (Crows) in his house “Sundara Vilas” was the starting point for many of the healthy literature discussions in Modern Tamil literature space. 

He edited and published a notable literary magazine called “Kalachuvadu”. 

He was the mentor of writers like B. Jeyamohan, Lakshmi Manivannan and more. 

Su. Ra received Katha Choodamani award on January 2, 2004. 

He died on 15-October, 2006 in USA. 

Thanks:http://www.tamilnation.org, http://www.wikipedia.com, http://www.keetru.com         


March 12, 2007

Mahakavi Bharathiyar

Filed under: Poets — Vaa.Manikandan @ 6:53 am

 Mahakavi* Bharathiyar

Subramaniya Bharathi was born on 11 December 1882 in Ettayapuram in Tamil Nadu. He died on 11 September 1921.

Bharathi’s mother died in 1887 and two years later, his father also died. At the age of 11, in 1893 his prowess as a poet was recognised and he was accorded the title of ‘bharathi’. He was a student at Tirunelveli(Tamilnadu) Hindu School and in 1897 he married Sellamal. Thererafter, from 1898 to 1902, he lived in Kasi.

Bharathiyar & Chellamal

Bharathi worked as a school teacher and as a journal editor at various times in his life. He involved himself actively in the Indian freedom struggle At the sametime, he was fluent in many languages including Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, Kuuch, and English and frequently translated works from other languages into Tamil. Bharathi was a Hindu. But his spirituality was not limited. He sang to the Hindu deities, and at the same time he wrote songs of devotion to Jesus Christ and Allah. Bharathi was a vigorous campaigner against casteism. Bharathi served as Assistant Editor of the Swadeshamitran in 1904.He participated in the 1906 All India Congress meeting in Calcutta (chaired by Dadabhai Naoroji) where the demand for ‘Swaraj’ was raised for the first time. Bharathi supported the demand wholeheartedly and found himself in the militant wing of the Indian National Congress together with Tilak and Aurobindo.  

In April 1907, he became the editor of the Tamil weekly ‘India’. At the same time he also edited the English newspaper ‘Bala Bharatham’. In Madras, in 1908, he organised a mammoth public meeting to celebrate ‘Swaraj Day’. His poems ‘Vanthe Matharam‘, ‘Enthayum Thayum’, ‘Jaya Bharath‘ were printed and distributed free to the Tamil people.

In 1908, he gave evidence in the case, which had been instituted by the British against, V.O.Chidambarampillai. In the same year, the proprietor of the ‘India’ was arrested in Madras. Faced with the prospect of arrest, Bharathi escaped to Pondicherry, which was under French rule. From there Bharathi edited and published the ‘India’ weekly. He also edited and published ‘Vijaya’, a Tamil daily, Bala Bharatha, an English monthly, and ‘Suryothayam’ a local weekly of Pondicherry. Under his leadership the Bala Bharatha Sangam was also started. The British waylaid and stopped remittances and letters to the papers. Both ‘India’ and ‘Vijaya’ were banned in British India in 1909.

In 1912, Bharathy published his Commentaries on the Bhavat Gita in Tamil as well as Kannan Paatu, Kuyil Paatu and  Panjali Sabatham.

Bharathi was struck by an elephant at Parthasarathy temple, Thiruvallikeni, Chennai. He however survived the mishap. A few months later his health deteriorated and he died on September 11, 1921, not yet forty years of age. His funeral was attended by only seven people.

Looking at his literary works in retrospect Bharathiyar did appear to have had the vision of a prophet, the religious equanimity of a saint, the dreams of a patriot and the noble aspirations of a social reformer. Most of his predictions regarding his country and community and all his warnings regarding the malaise afflicting his society have materialized already. Others are gradually manifesting themselves overtly in recent years. He loved Thamizh and India with a passion and was proud of his cultural heritage. At the same time he was fully cognizant of the social repercussions of caste differences and how superstitions and blind faith in the old traditions have lead to stagnation.

More important is the fact that he had the courage and tenacity to stand up before a ruthless imperial power and was prepared to face all the personal consequences. The only weapon he had at his disposal to achieve his cherished goal was not wealth or physical ability but only his literary skill. Experience in other parts of the world has shown that the pen is mightier than the sword. Recognizing this, Bharathiyar did exploit his literary capacity and communication skills to exhort people to become masters of their own destiny and expel the foreign rulers out of their soil. However he did not hesitate to point out the social evils, which were gradually corroding the fabrics of the society. Upto this point in the history of Thamizh literature, the language was used for moral, religious, philosophical or spiritual purposes, for praising the patrons for their gifts, and for sheer literary pleasure. All references to social problems were either secondary or indirect. Now for the first time, a Thamizh poet has taken it upon himself to use the language to free his people from the clutches of a foreign power and open the eyes of the people to the bad elements, which were weakening their society.

Thus he set in motion not only a new and diffferent literary style which is aptly described as the Thamizh renaissance but also used the medium of the language to crusade against the suppression and oppression of the weaker sections of the society, the poor, the untouchables and women.

The short, crisp but simple style of his poems, his easy flowing prose-poetry formats with a specific social theme and his ability to set up folk type music understandable by everyone made a tremendous impact on people.

One can therefore appreciate the differences in the literary policy of Bharathi and that of other Thamizh scholars of the distant past. 

*Mahakavi- Great Poet 

(Edited with the Thanks from the articles of Mr.Nadesan Satyendra and Professor.C.R.Krishnamurthy.)

March 9, 2007

Modernsim: A Small Introduction

Filed under: General — Vaa.Manikandan @ 7:11 am

Modernism started in Western countries around 1890s.

Modernists believe that the traditional way of art, literature and even daily life become outdated; they wanted to sweep them aside.

Modernists called to re-examine the all the aspect of existence. There is no restriction for the areas for re-examination. It touches all the things, like architecture, medicine, economics, philosophy, literature etc.,

Modernists strongly believed that the traditional way and romanticism in every aspect of the life is main reason for the obstacle in progress.

In essence, the modernist movement argued that the new realities of the industrial and mechanized age were permanent and imminent, and that people should adapt their world view to accept that the new equaled the good, the true and the beautiful.

In Literature, the main theme modernism is to use free verse and reach the reality in the writing.

Tamil literature has more than 2000 years of history. All these 2000 years it has the literatures with grammatical construction.

Modernism entered in to Tamil literature almost half the century later. My assumption is the struggle for Indian freedom is the main reason for this delay. Free verse of writing tried successfully by Mahakavi Barathiyar in Tamil. He tried the different ways in his writing style. It seems most of the people accepted the way he wrote.


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