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12. Present Situation

12.1. Introduction

After India achieved independence, the development of Thamizh received an incredible amount of support from administrators and politicians. One of the chief architects of this movement was the former chief minister, c.n.aNNAthurai (`]f]aTAr) With his tremendous oratorical capacity and fluency in both Thamizh and English, he was able to unify the weaker sections of the society, using the promotion of Thamizh language and culture and the eradication of social inequities as his major platform. Thereafter successive governments took over the task of championing the cause of Thamizh.

The name of the state was changed from Madras state to Thamizh n^Adu to depict the cultural identity of the region. The salaries and status of Thamizh teachers were upgraded; all official transactions were conducted in Thamizh; expert committees were set up to coin appropriate Thamizh words in scientific and technical fields; research institutions and universities were established with the main purpose of promoting Thamizh language and reviving Thamizh culture.

In addition to giving a moral boost to the development of Thamizh, these and other measures resulted also in qualitative changes in the spoken and written style of the language. The general standard of spoken Thamizh especially in public speeches improved very much. True to the pattern set up by the leaders, speakers became very proficient in employing rhymes ('TAk) and alliterations (EmaA[),which improved the overall quality of the speeches. Regardless of their political affiliations, people thronged to listen to the flamboyant speeches made in these public forums.

There was also a profound change in the literary format of Thamizh. The Thamizh people were more than willing to adopt themselves to new situations. They seem to have lived up to their reputation in following the rules of n^annUl (n[f{\lf) in this regard. The following lines mean that 'the old order changeth yielding place to new':

pAzy[ kzitLmf p<tiy[ p<KtLmf
vZvl kalvAkyi [aE[.
(n[f{\lf 462)

Up to this point in Thamizh history, the literary policies adopted by scholars over centuries were, in general, restricted to the following objectives: a) stipulating grammatical rules governing literature, b) imparting moral or ethical instructions and religious teachings and c) conveying spiritual or philosophical messages.
With the advent of political freedom and industrial and technological developments, changes in life styles and social orders became inevitable. The impact of western civilization brought in by the audiovisual media, fast jet travels and computers had also exerted its influence on people and their thinking. The traditional practices within the family system leading to the suppression of individual liberties were questioned. All sections of the community, quite justifiably, demanded a fair share of the gains made in social developmental plans.

These are the circumstances which caused a change in the literary policy from moral or religious instruction to social reforms. The main theme of the literary works at the present time is therefore social reforms in its various dimensions. The salient features of changes in literary formats in the three branches of Thamizh (;ylf, ;Ac, nadkmf) are discussed below.

12.2. Literature (;ylf)

12.2.1. Kavithai (kviAt)

From the Sangam period, the bulk of Thamizh literature consisted of the poetic format (kviAt), though the literary policy (epaR]fAm), format (vFvmf) and expression (evqiyID) varied from time to time and between authors. It is fair to say that, in spite of the tremendous depth and literary beauty of the Sangam works, the authors frequently got carried away and expressed themselves at a high level. Ordinary people who did not possess an adequate background in literature were not in a position to appreciate the niceties of the poems. The result was that literary pursuits ended up being the domain of a select group of Thamizh elites.

The short format of poems in simple style introduced by SubramaNiya BhArathiyar (Cpfpirm]iy partiyarf) prompted others to develop this style further.These efforts ultimately resulted in a style referred to as, 'puthuk kavithaikaL' (new poems) ( p<TkfkviAtkqf). Many people found the style of the puthuk kavithaikaL appropriate and adequate for their purpose. The literary policy of the puthuk kavithaikaL was essentially the discussion of contemporary social and political issues. Following the footsteps of SubramaNiya BhArathiyAr, several authors were involved in popularizing the puthuk-kavithaikaL. The most well known and highly regarded authors in this respect are BhArathi DhAsan (partitac[f), KaNNa DhAsan (k]f]tac[f) and n^Amakkal rAmalingam PiLLai (namkfklf ;ramligfkmfpiqfAq). BhArathi DhAsan (partitac[f)

Kanaka Suppurathinam (k[kCpfp< rtfti[mf) (1891-1964), a native of Pondicherry (p<TcfEcri), was an ardent follower of MahA Kavi SubramaNiya BharathiyAr's literary style and social policies. His high devotion to BhArathiyAr prompted him even to change his name to BhArathi DhAsan (partitac[f), follower of BhArathi) to reflect his adoration of the great poet. Because of his revolutionary ideas regarding the eradication of religious superstitions and social discriminations and the use of pure Thamizh, he was referred to as Puratchik Kavignan (p<rdfcikfkviw[f). The following poem by n^Amakkal Kavignar rAmalingam (namkfklf kviwrf ;ramligfkmf) explains the literary policy of BhArathi DhAsan. "BhArathi DhAsan considered service to Thamizh as his mission in life; save the purity of his mother tongue; lead a virtuous life; change the idiosyncrasies arising from old traditions; and use new formats to convey revolutionary ideas."

tayfemazitf eta]fEd tvem[tf tagfki
tayfemazipf p]fpi[f t[iAmAykf kakfKmf
vayfAmEy t[f{Ad vazfvi[f uyirfpfpayf
MTAmyibf p<KnfTq Mr]fkAq mabfbi
p<TAmyibf paDmf p<rdfcikf kviw[f.

Elaborating further on his concept of new formats, BhArathi DhAsan explained his position as follows: "I am not against the great grammatical texts, TholkAppiam and n^annUl; While we should thank them for their guidance over the centuries, we would be doing a big disservice to these two great works if we do not come with new works to replace them; indeed it would be a blow dealt to our literary personalities."

olfkat epRmf p<kzftfetalf
kapfpiyMmf n[f{\Lmf
tmizrfkf eklflamfff
nlfkriy n[fAm eylamff
nlfki[ '[f$lf naMmf
n[fbi ecalfEvamf
eclfplN\bf $]ffD ecl
`vfviRN\lf tiRvFyilf
p<tiy N\bfkqf
plfkaEvlf ;RN\bfKmf
pziEy, nmf p<lvrfkfKmf
pziEy y[ffE$ ?

Like so many other social reformers, BhArathi DhAsan desired that his society did not lag behind others in the march of progress. With this in mind he suggested that other aspects should be considered in the formulation of new literary policies. " Let us translate all the books in all the disciplines in the whole world into Thamizh so that our youngsters do not depend on others for updating themselves; let us not divert the beauty of Thamizh only for religious teachings; let us have free libraries all over the place; we have wasted several generations talking about the glory and superiority of Thamizh but never bothered to remove our drawbacks."

ulkiyli[f `dgfkLkffKmf TAbEtaBmf N\bfkqf
oRtftrftAy ;lfflamlf Urbiy<mf tmizilf
clcel[ 'vfvidtfTmf payfcfcid Ev]fDmf
tmiezaqiAy mtgfkqiEl cayfkfkaAm Ev]fDmf
;lvcN\bf kzkgfkqf 'vfvidtfTmf Ev]fDmf
'gfkqf tmizf uyrfev[fB namfecalflicf ecalflitf
tAlMAbkqf plkzitfEtamf KAb kAqnf Etamilfl
tktftkaytf tmiAztf tapipfEpamf varIrf.

The similarities between BhArathi DhAsan and his peer, SubramaNiya BhArathi in their literary and social policies are striking as can be seen from the following poem. "We should write Thamizh books in a simple style so that everyone can understand; new grammar books have to be written; we have to coin new terminology for all the new developments taking place all over the world and use illustrations to explain them in the beautiful Thamizh language; if any Thamizh student is illiterate due to financial constraints, let us feel ashamed and do something about it."

'qiynAd yilftmizfN\lf 'Ztidv<mf Ev]fDmf
;lkfk] N\lf p<titak ;ybfBtLmf Ev]fDmf
evqiy<lkilf cinftA[yilf p<tiT p<titak
viAqnfTqfq 'vbfbi{kfKmf epyrfkeqlflamf k]fD
etqiv< BtfTmf pdgfkEqaD CvFeylamff ecyfT
ecnftmiAzcf ecnftmizayfcf ecyfvTv<mf Ev]fDmf
'qiAmyi[alf oRtmiz[f pFpfpilfAl '[f$lf
;gfKqfq 'lfElaRmf na]idv<mf Ev]fDmf.

The other issue on which BhArathi DhAsan stood firm is relevant today and pertains to the inability of many Thamizh people to speak or write Thamizh without mixing words from English or other languages. Along with MaRai Malai atikaL (mAbmAl`Fkqf) and SUrya n^ArAyaNa SAstrikaL (Vrfynaray]casftirikqf = pritimalfkAlw[f). BhArathi DhAsan was a strong proponent of the Pure Thamizh Movement (t[itftmizf;ykfkmf). In the following poem he said:"We call our restaurants as clubs in English and cloth shops as 'silk shops' in English; in the streets of Thamizh n^Adu there is everything else except Thamizh".

u]v<tR viDtitA[kf
kiqpfep[ Ev]fDmf EpaLmf
uyrfnft pdfDtf
T]ikfkAdkfKcf cilfKxapf
'{mfplAk etagfKvtalf
cibpfp<pf EpaLmf
m]kfkvRmf et[fbliEl
Kqira ;lfAl ? Etapfpilf
nizla ;lfAl ?
t]ipfpritamf T[fpmiT
tmizktfti[f tmizftfetRvilf
tmizfta[f ;lfAl

Despite these persuasive appeals from distinguished authors of our own generation and the tremendous efforts of the government in fostering Thamizh language, it is indeed a paradox a) that several leading Thamizh magazines persist in the liberal use of English idioms, phrases and transliterations even in stories, anecdotes and essays and b) that in the audiovisual media people from all walks of life seem to take pride in alternating between Thamizh and English even in a pure Thamizh program.

Whether this pathetic situation has resulted from an inability or unwillingness of the elites to speak in our mother tongue or whether it is born out of a desire to express their proficiency in English and emulate other cultures in the name of modernism or whether it is the impact of the medium of instruction in the general educational system is a matter for serious consideration by everyone concerned.

At any rate the time and energy spent in coining new Thamizh equivalents for highly technical English words that are emerging almost on a daily basis are not likely to yield the desired solution. For this purpose transliteration would be more than sufficient. Students studying the technical subjects in Thamizh would be able to compete with others in the international arena. It would be better to spend these efforts in inculcating a sense of pride in our literary heritage in the minds of students, educationists, journalists and officials.

Along with so many social reformers of his time, BhArathi DhAsan was a revolutionary keen on introducing changes in the Thamizh language. He was also deeply concerned about the outmoded social traditions that needed to be eradicated. In the following poem he expressed his frustrations when young girls could not marry some one they love but had to marry according to the social customs and traditions. He cursed the society responsible for this pathetic situation.

m]f]ayfpf Epak , m]f]ayfpf Epak
m[mfepaRnfta m]mf m]f]ayfpff Epak
cYMkcf cdfdEm , cYMk vzkfkEm
nIgfkqf mkfkqf `A[vRmf
"gfkatiRkfk m]f]ayfpf EpakEv. rAmalingam PiLLai (namkfklf ramligfkmfpiqfAq)

New horizons in Thamizh literary policy

Like MahA Kavi SubramaNiya BhArathiyAr, rAmaligam PiLLai belonged to a generation of Thamizh poets who grew up at a time when the struggle for political freedom was in full swing. People in different walks of life, endowed with talents in different disciplines were heavily influenced by GAndhiji's idealism and social and moral philosophy; these patriots developed deep convictions about the supreme value of freedom and were willing to make any sacrifice for the sake of achieving freedom for their country. The nonviolent approach advocated by GAndhiji appealed to them as the best tool at their disposal to defy the super power.

The need to address the social problems which deplorably persisted in the society for centuries (uplift of women, education of masses, eradication of poverty, untouchability, religious exploitations and superstitions) was felt as urgent as never before. n^Amakkal rAmalingam PiLLai's literary policy was a bold and courageous bid to bring out these problems to the attention of the Thamizh people. In recognition of his literary genius as well as his contribution to the society, he was made the first poet-laureate of Thamizh n^Adu and given the title "n^Amakkal Kavignar" (namkfklf kviwrf).

In fact his first claim to fame came from the following poem in which he exhorted Thamizh people to join GAndhiji in his nonviolent struggle against Britain which did not involve the sword or blood:

ktftiyi[fbi rtftmi[fbi
y<tftema[fB vRKT
ctftiytfti[f nitftiytfAt
nmfp<mfyaRmf EcRvIrf (ktf)
o]fF `]fFkff K]fDvidfD
uyirfpbitft li[ffbiEy
m]fdltftilf k]fFlat c]fAd
eya[fB p<TAmEy (ktf)
KtiAryilfAl yaA[yilfAl
ekalfLmf ~AcyilfAlEy
'tiriey[fB yaRmilfAl
"bfBmf ~Acyilfltayf (ktf)
EkapmilfAl tapmilfAl
capgfPblf ;lfAlEy
papma[ ecyfAk eya[fBmf
p]f}maAc yi[ffbiEy (ktf).....

His love of Thamizh was as deep as his thirst for Indian independence. In an excellent summary of the literary achievement of the Thamizh people over the millenniums, n^Amakkal Kavignar used a simple style in the following poem to inspire them to stand by GAndhiji's nonviolent struggle.

tmiz[f '[febaR ;[M]fD
t[Ey `vrfkfekaR K]M]fD
`mizftmf `v{Ad emaziyaKmf
`[fEp `v{Ad vziyaKmf
`bivi[f kdAlkf kAdnftv[amf
`mirftmf tiRkfKbqf `Adnftv[af
epabiyi[f ~AcAykf KAbtftidEv
epaRnftiy N\lfkqf uArtftiDva[f
kviAtcf CAvkAq vFtfetDtfta[f
kmfp[f padfer[pf epyrfekadtfta[f
p<viyilf ;[fpmf pkrfnftevlamf
p<]f]iy MAbyilf NkrftftiDva[f
ptfti[i capmf plitfTviDmf
parilf ;mfemazi olitftidEv
citftircf cilpfptikarmAt
ecyftv[f Tbv<Ad Orrc[f.
cinfta m]im]i EmkAly<mf
ptfTpf padfed{mf EckrMmf
nnfta viqkfek[tf tmizfnadfF[f
nakri ktftiA[ mikkfkadfDmf.
Etva rmftiR vackMmf
tikZmf Eckfki zarfp<kZmf
Ovapf epRgfkAt ~zfvarfkqf
uArkQmff tmiz[f vazfvaKmf.
tay<mf ~[vrf eca[f[etlamf
tmiz[f wa[mf ;[f[et{mf
pay<mf Tbv<ekaqf pdfF[tftarf
padLmf tmiz[f epdfep[lamf.
utftm[f kanftiyi[f `RAmkAq
u]rfnftv[f tmiz[f epRAmy<d[f
ctftiypff Eparilf kd[iRnfta[f
canftmf tv$ Td[iRnfta[f.

n^Amakkal Kavignar painted a brilliant and moving account of various social events and turmoils, which occurred during the development of Thamizh in the following poem. He stressed the need to recognize the purpose of why all these sacrifices were made and appealed to the Thamizh people that now was the time to stand behind the nonviolent movement of GAndhiji.

tR]mf ;TEv, tR]mf ;TEv
tmiza , 'ZnftiRda.
kRA]yi[f vFvamf kAlkqi[f MFvamf
kanfti ey[fe$RM[i canftiey[fbAzkfkirarf.
vqfQvrf vazfkfAky<mf tiRkfKbqf vKtftTmf
tqfqRmf tay<ma [vRdlf tkitftTmf
vqfqli ramligfk Cvamikqf vFtftTmf
kqfqmilf pdfF[tftarf kvAly<mf ;tbfEk. (tR)

Acvrfkqf p> ]fdTmff cm]rfkqf ma]fdTmf
Av]vrf vRtftMmf p<tftrfkqf vadfdMmf
Amyb "Cta[f ciLAvyilf mritftTmf
mhmfmT npiyvrf mkizfnftTmf ;tbfEk (tR)
kmfp[f kvitftibMmf viflfliyi[f cnftMmf
ecmfepaRqf Eckfkizarf Etdtf etrinftTv<mf
Apmfprwf Ecatiyarf paFpfpkrfnftTv<mf
nmfpi[ yavRmf nvi[fbTmf ;TEv (tR)

n^Amakkal Kavignar took tremendous pride in describing the glory of Thamizh as could be seen in the poem below. Among other things he praised the Thamizh people belonging to different religions living in peaceful coexistence.

tmiza, u[kfkiT tR]mf vayftftT.....
"C tmizrlfl '[fbiDmf kar]tftalf
;kzfnfT viDv tilfAl tmizf nadfdarf
EpCmf tmizrfkqilf kiRsfTAvpf EpabfBki[fb
epRAmy< Adyvrfkqf plEprfkqf (tmiza)
mkmfmT pibnftT mbfe$REtcmf `vrf
mkiAm viqgfKminfttf tmizfnadfFlf
`kmfmkizfnf t{ti[mf naPrf ~]fdvA[
~rarf etaZki$rf `biyaEya (tmiza)

n^Amakkal Kavignar's similes are simple but unique in their expressions. In all his literary works, patriotic and social messages are always beautifully woven into the main theme. This is clearly seen in one of his famous works, avanum avaLum (He and She), (`v{mf `vQmf). He first described the heroine as follows: "One cannot compare her to a deer because the deer has always a puzzled look (mRQtlf) ; one cannot compare her eyes to those of a fish because fish do not have very black eyes; one cannot compare her to honey because even honey tends to become insipid; one cannot compare her forehead to a crescent moon because the rest of her face is not as dark as the moon".

More importantly he presented the heroine as a modern girl who fought for the freedom of women and for the removal of old traditional practices which put them down. He also made his heroine champion the cause of remarriage of widows and crusade against child marriage. In a style characteristic of a social reformer, he made his heroine condemn men who talked about the chastity of women while they themselves committed adultery.

ma[f '[ `vAqcf eca[f[alf
mRQtlf `vQkf kilfAl.
mI[fvizi uAdya eq[f$lf
mI[iEl kRAm ;lfAl.
Et[femazikf KvAm eca[f[alf
etvidfDtlf Et{kf K]fD.
P[fpiAb enbfbi '[f$lf
KAbMkmf ;R]fD EpaKmf.

mBm]mf matrfkffkilfAl
mtAlAy vitAv yakfki
nBm]pf p> v< mi[fbi
nlflOrf T]iy<mf ;[fbi
uBm]lf EtAr Epal
oqinftiRnf etaDgfkcf ecyfy<mf
ciBm[pf pa[fAm Eynmf
Etctfti[f nacmf '[fpaqf

kbfep[pf EpC varfkqf
kbfpiA[pf ep]fkEq kakfkpf
pbfpl ep]fA] naFpf
pcpfplamf ~]fkqf mdfDmf
`bfp<tmf ~[taKmf
`niyaymf ;nft nadfF[f
nbfptmf ekDtft et[fB
naeqlflamf Anvaqf ngfAk.
(`v{mf `vQmf)

n^Amakkal Kavignar's work is a nice blend of simple but touching literary style intended to expose social problems which have long been neglected. It is difficult to describe how deeply n^Amakkal Kavignar was devoted to GAndhiji and his teachings. The following is an example of his feelings:

kvipaFpf epRAm ecyfykf kmfp [ilfAl
kbfpA[kfkigf kilfAlynfftkf kaqi tac[f
ecvi naDmf kIrftftA[kfK tfyak rilfAl
EtcIy partiyi[f tibMmf ;lfAl
p<viVDmf `bivi{kfEkarf p<TAm tnfT
p<]f]iyMmf k]f]iyMmf p<kZmf Ecrfnft
uvma[mf EvebvRmf uArkfk eva]f]a
utftmramf kanftiyAr uvnfT Epc.

In addition to several lyrical and narrative poetry, n^Amakkal Kavignar had also written an autobiography, "en Kathai" ('[f kAt). KaNNa DhAsan (k]f]tac[f) (1926-1981)

KaNNa DhAsan's given name was A.L. MuthiAh. He was one of the most popular contemporary Thamizh poets. When he applied for his first job, the interviewer asked his name. Not willing to tell his real name, he said spontaneously that his name was KaNNa DhAsan, which stuck with him for the rest of his life.

Thanks mainly to his involvement in the field of cinema, he had been referred to as 'a folk poet of the masses' by Zvelebil (1995). Though this may be true, it does not do full justice to his literary genius and contribution to the Thamizh renaissance. He may be regarded as one of the pioneers of the new literary style, the puthuk kavithaikaL(p<TkfkviAtkqf). He did have a checkered personal life and a public life full of controversy.

During his professional career as a Thamizh poet, he had spanned the entire gamut of political, social and religious ideologies. This is why one could observe such wide differences in his literary themes and philosophy depending upon at what point in his life the works were written. It is hardly possible to encounter any Thamizh poet whose interests ranged from over indulgence in the sensual pleasures of life, through social and political reformatory zeal to religious sublimation at the end.

The six volumes of KaNNa DhAsan KavithaikaL (k]f]tac[f kviAtkqf) cover a variety of topics in which the social and political issues of the twentieth century are depicted with absolute frankness and in an extremely simple but stimulating manner. The first three volumes deal with his interactions with political peers and mentors such as PeriyAr E.V.rAmasAmi n^Aickar (epriyarf ;ramcami naykfkrf) and C.N.aNNAthurai (`]f]aTAr), and his involvement in the anti-Hindi movement. The other volumes give a completely different picture of the author, probably as the result of his own disillusionment with the establishment of the day. KaNNa DhAsan's literary works will be remembered by folks and elites for his appealing style and exposition of social issues, which unfortunately earned him as many enemies as friends. This disenchantment can also be discerned in his work from time to time.

KaNNa DhAsan's works are replete with mOnai (EmaA[), alliteration and ethukai ('TAk) rhyme. In mOnai, the letter which begins each line should begin at least one other foot (cIrf) in the line. In the following poems, examples of mOnai created by the appropriate sounds (oliy[fkqf) of letters are shown:

va]ikrf ciripfpi {\Ed
va]iptf tibAm EtgfKmf
epagfKem[f `RAm `]f]apf
p<lv[i[f ciripfpi {qfEq
cgfkMtf tmiZmf nadfDcf
c[tftirqf yav<mf EtgfKmff.

Ecrfki[fb epaRqfkAqcf ecmfAmyayf 'nfnaQmf
kakfkv<mf tibAm ;AlEy
ejyikfki[fb kdfciyilf NAzki[fb vitfAtAytf
EtREmarf `biv< miAlEy.

The ethukai ('TAk) is placed at the beginning of the line and refers to the identity of the second letter. The following example is typical of KaNNa DhAsan's literary style, in which the grammatical beauty is graced with meaningful choice of words (ecalfflakfkmf) :

`[fp<kfEka ;Rvrf Ev]fDmf
`ZAkkfEka oRvrf EpaTmf
;[fptfTkf kiRvrf Ev]fDmf
"kfktfTkf ekaRvrf EpaTmf.

The word VaNNam (v]f]mf) refers to beauty in Thamizh literature. This may be accomplished in several ways; one is to repeat the same letter(s) repeatedly in every line. An example follows:

epriyarfkfKpf epRmf vayfpfp< `vrftmf Etabfbmf
pibEvarfkfKpf epRmfEpB `vrftmf wa[mf
`biyarfenwf cbiv> b `biv<cf ecabfkqf
`Abvarfnlf uArEkdfdarf `bivarf kIzfAmcf
cibiyarftamf `biyarf uqtf tiRnaqf t[f[ilf
epriyarfta[f nmf `]f]a `biv<cf eclfvmf
Epraq[f TA]nibfkcf ciBAm "T

To enhance the vaNNam, KaNNa DhAsan used the same word repeatedly in each line. The poem was sung in praise of KAmarAja n^AdAr (kamraj nadarf) and the word (nadarf) ecatfT Ckmf nadarf , ecanftnftA[ nadarf
epa[fe[[fBmf nadarf , epaRqf nadarf, ta[fpibnft
`[fA[Ayy<mf nadarf , ~ActA[ nadarf ,
naeda[fEb naFtft[f nlema[fBmf nadat
nadaAr naed[f$rf.

The manner similes were handled differently by different poets in Thamizh literature has been pointed out throughout this monograph. KaNNa DhAsan used the word, (Epalv<mf) as the (uvAm uRp<) in the following poem:

~Dva rilfla `rgfkmf Epalv<mf
paDva rilflapf padlf Epalv<mf
EtDva rilflacf eclfvmf Epalv<mf
PF[aqf ;[fbitf TvqfkiEb[f Etazina[f.