An introduction on vintage Lankan Thamil poets
T. Kanagaratnam belongs to a tradition of earlier Thamil scholarship
and has done a fine job in making even contemporary readers understand
and appreciation of verses if not poems
One of the Colombo residing Thamil scholars T. Kanagaratnam's -
latest book is 'Eela Naatu Pulavarhalin Kavi Thiramum Thani
Paaadalakalum' (The Poetic Versatility of Lankan Poets and Solo Songs).
He is a London BA graduate and a many-tongue poet (Panmoli Pulavar).
Among the languages he knows are Thamil, Sanskrit, Sinhala and English.
He is knowledgeable in Saiva Siddhantham and Buddhism.
He has written 20 books in Thamil so far. They include Jataka
Stories, Scouting children's books, rural labour methods, Translation of
Sinhla Stories, Translation of Thamil stories into Sinhala (?), and on
Easy Thamil in Inhale. He had worked for 18 years in the Educational
Publications Department. He has won several prizes for his works.
In the book under review he has introduced 27 early Lankan Thamil
Those introduced are:
Somasundara Pulavar (1878-1953), Pulavarmani A Periyathambi
(1889-1978), Aasukavi Pulavarmani Kalladi Vealan (1860-1944),
Muththukumarra Kavirasa Sekarar (1780-1851), Sivasambu Pulavar
(1852-1910), Murugesa Pandithar (1830-1900),Vidthuva Siromani Kanesa
Iyer(1878-1958), C. Y. Thamoatharampillai (1832-1901), Kavignar
Mahalinga Sivam (1891-1941), Muthuthamil Pulavar M. Nallathamby
(13.9.1896-8.5.1951), Yaalpaanan V Sivakolunthu, K Mylvagana Pulavar
(1875-1918), Paavalar Thuraiappapillai (20.10.1872-24.6.1929), Nadduva
Suppianaar (19th century), Muhandiram Sathasiva Iyer (1882-1950),
Arulvaakki Abdul Kaathiru Pulavar (1866-1918), Pulavar Sivankarunaalaya
Paandiyanaar (1872-1903), Ilamuruganaar, Santhakavi S Sinniahanaar
(2.3.1895-28.5.1971), Anthakhapulavar Seigu Alavuddin(1890-1938), K.
Sitabesan (1887-1959), Vidyaratnam S. Nadarasan (10.7.1910-28.6.1988),
Veanthanaar (5.11.1918-18.9.1966), Vipulananda Adigal (1896-1947),
Chunnai Kumaraswami Ulavar (1854-1922), Pulavarmani Alhaj A M Shrifuddin
(4.05.1909- 2001), and Kavignar Neelavanan (31.6.1931-12.1.1978)
The book is dedicated to the author's Guru, the late S.Kanesa Iyer
who was a scholar particularly in Tholkaapiyam. The book is published by
Manimekalai Prasuram in Chennai.
The publisher says that the list of Lankan poets begins with
Arasakesari. These poets contributed to the Thamil language and Hindu
religion. Quoting an article in Uthayathaarakai by Kalathoor Vedagiri
Mudaliyar, the publisher says that only people from Yaalpaanam speak
pure Thamil. (This is not totally correct from the reviewer's point of
A valuable note from the publisher is that he gives a list of books
that give the history of some of the poets who had contributed to the
language and religion. The books are:
Paavalar Charithra Deepam by Sathasivampillai, Thamil Pulavar
Charithram by Kumarasami Pulavar, Maddakkalappu Pulavar by Poopalapilai,
Eeela Naattu Thamil Pulavar Charithram by Kanesa Iyer and History of
Lankan Thamil Poets that Lived in the 20th Century by Pandit Apputhurai.
What the writer T. Kanagaratnam has done in this book is his own
literary appreciation and commentary on some of the poems by the poets
listed. The writer belongs to a tradition of earlier Thamil scholarship
and he has done a fine job in making even contemporary readers
understand and appreciation of verses if not poems.
The cover displays photographs of some of the earlier Lankan Thamil
I benefited reading this book as I really did not know much about our
This book should be found in the libraries of the universities,
schools and public libraries.