Make your own free website on Other contributions to isait Thamizh (continued)

c) aruNAchala Kavi (`R]aclkfkvi) (1712-1779) His rAma n^Ataka KIrthanai (ramnadkkf kIrftftA[) is popular even at the present time. His compositions are sung in almost every music concert today. These include: ("[f pqfqi eka]fGArya (Emak[mf), '[kfK niRptmff niA[kffk vrmff `Rqfvayf (rakmaliAk), `nftram ecqnftriymf (EktarekqAq), ramA[kfk]f]arkf k]fEdE[ (Emak[mf), yaer[fB rakvA[ (Aprvi).

d) MArimutthA PiLLai (mariMtftapiqfAq) was a contemporary of aruNachala Kavi and a devotee of Thillai n^atarAjar. His songs which are still popular in music and Bharatha n^Attyam concerts are: ("TkfkitftA[ EmaFta[f u[kfK 'nft[f mIAtya (CrdfF), kaAltfT\kfki ni[f$Dmf etyfvEm u[fA[ ('TKlkamfEpati), oRkfkalf civcitmfprmf (~rpi).

e) GOpAlakrishNa BhArathi (EkapalkiRxf]parti) (1800-1895) He was a contemporary of the great ThiAgarAjar (tiyakrajrf) and had composed a large number of Thamizh songs including the famous n^an^than Saritthira KIrthanaikaL (nnft[f critftir kIrftftA[kqf). His other popular compositions are: (cpaptikfK EvB etyfvmf cma[maKma (~Epaki), tiRvF cr]mf '[fB na[f nmfpi vnfEt[f (kamfEpati), nd[mf ~F[arf evK nakrikmak (vcnfta).

f) Kavi Kunjara BhArathi (kviKwfcrparti) (1826-1889) His famous work is the azhakar KuRavanji (`zkrf Kbvwfci), a dance drama. Others who have written a large number of Thamizh songs include: GhAnam KrishNa Iyer (ka[mf kiRxf]_yrf) noted for his patham (ptmf), (EvlvEr uAmtf EtF oR mdnfAt (Aprvi), n^Ilakanta Sivan (nIlk]fdciv[f) whose songs are still popular hits in music concerts. (nvcitftiepbfbaLmf (krkrpfriya), '[fAbkfK civkiRAp vREma (Mkari), ~[nft ndmf ~Dvarf tilfAl (p>rfviklfya]i), ;kprmf tRmf epRAm (kmasf).

The Thamizh poets of the twentieth century who have made tremendous contributions to Thamizh music include: KOtIswara iyer (EkaGsfvr _yrf), MutthiAh BhAgavathar (MtfAty pakvtrf), MAyUram Viswan^Atha SAstri (may>rmf visfvnat casftiri, PApanAsam Sivan (papnacmfciv[f), SuddhAnan^tha BhArathi (Ctfta[nftparti), PeriaswAmi ThUran (epriyCvami T\r[f), ambujam KrishNa (`mfp<jmf kiRxf]a) and others.

g) Though the Thamizh people deserve much credit for preserving their literary (;ylf) heritage including the grammatical usage for two millenniums, the same thing cannot be said of their efforts in safeguarding their musical traditions. In fact, but for some extraordinary, nay desperate attempts on the part of a few dedicated Thamizh lovers, many today would not even be aware that a highly developed system of Thamizh music system was in vogue during the first few centuries of the Christian era. Whether this pathetic situation arose due to highly technical nature of the classical music being confined to a small circle of royalty and social elites or due to vested interests in the social hierarchy of the time is only of academic interest.

The generosity of philanthropists led by RajAh Sir aNNAmalai ChettiAr (raja crf `]f]amAl ecdfFyarf), the political leadership of R.K.Shanmugam ChettiAr (~rf.Ek.c]fMkmf ecdfFyarf) and C.N.aNNathurai, the literary caliber of n^Amakkal Kavignar rAmalingam PiLLai, YOgi SutthAnan^tha BhArathi (Eyaki Ctfta[nft parti) and BhArathi DhAsan (partitac[f), the academic strength of n^Avalar SOmasun^thara BhArathi, (navlrf EcamCnftrparti), T.P.MInAtchi sun^tharan (Epraciriyrf mI[adfciCnftr[f), M. VaradharAjan (M.vrtraj[f), A.K. Chithambara n^Athan ChettiAr (".Ek. citmfprnat ecdfFyaaf) and L.P.K.rAman^Athan ChettiAr (el.p.kR.ramnat[f ecdfFyarf), ViyApurip PiLLai (Avyap<ripf piqfAq) and the patronage of a large number of Thamizh lovers, too numerous to be mentioned individually made the birth of the Thamizh isai Sangam possible.

Leading musicians, HarikEsanallur MuthiAh BhAgavathar (hriEkcnlfL\rf MtfAtya pakvtrf), ChitthUr SubramaNiya PiLLai (citfT\rfCpfpirm]iy piqfAq), M.M.DhandapANi DhEsikar (t]fdpa]iEtcikrf), Mathurai SOmasun^tharam (mTAr EcamCnftrmf), SIrkAzhi GOvindarAjan (cIrfkaziEkavinftraj[f) and others nurtured the activities of the Thamizh isai Sangam by demonstrating that the singing of Thamizh compositions in major music concerts was aesthetically very satisfying and meaningful. The outcome of the efforts of these and other large number of Thamizh lovers too numerous to be mentioned individually is that isait Tamizh received a big boost and remains as a viable force in the twentieth century. Dr. rAmanAthan's PaN research is being followed by a large number of scholars and musicians.

12.3. The Stage, n^Atakat Thamizh, (nadktf tmizf)

Of the three divisions of Thamizh literature (Mtftmizf), the one which had undergone radical changes in its format and contents since ancient times is the Stage n^Atakat Thamizh, (nadktftmizf). As in so many other facets of their literary pursuits, the ancient Thamizh people had stipulated specifications for the physical set up of the stage (`rgfK, `Av). ThiruvaLLuvar has used the analogy of people thronging to the stage and disappearing as soon as the dance is over to emphasize the fleeting nature of wealth.

Ptftadf dAvkfKzatf tbfEb epRwfeclfvmf
EpakfK mTviqinf tbfB

The stages were used for different types of dances (PtfT) specific for the regions, e.g., Aychiyar Kuravai (~yfcfciyrf KrAv), Kuravaik kUtthu (KrAvkfPtfT), KoRRavaik (ekabfbAvkfPtfT). The dances were, in essence an enactment of mythological legends. They were also used for conveying thanks to the deities for good rains and crops or paying homage to the valour or patronage of Kings and chieftains. iLango atikaL (;qgfEka `Fkqf) had portrayed various kinds of dances performed in the different regions (tiA]) in several chapters (`rgfEkbfB kaAt, Ev[ibfkaAt, ~yfcfciyrf KrAv).

The dancers for whom dancing was a hereditary avocation were called ViRaliar (vibliyrf) and KUtthar (Ptftrf). The singers who accompanied them were called PANar (pa]rf). Even at this early point in history, there was a distinction between the high form of dancing performed before the elites and those meant for the recreation of the rural folks (EvDv vri). When the Bhakthi movement was at its peak, stories pertaining to the godheads were played on the stage. Up to the medieval period, the Thamizh stage was used mainly as a forum for dances. This tradition continued till the 18th or 19th century when dance dramas; rAma n^Atakam (ramnadkmf - `R]aclkvi, nnft[arf critftirmf - EkapalkiRxf]partiyarf, `zkrf Kbvwfci - kviKwfcr parti, Kbfbalkf Kbvwfci - tiriPdracpfp kvirayrf were performed on the stage. Other kinds of dance dramas included the PaLLu n^Atakam (pqfQ nadkmf) which is the dance drama performed by those in the agricultural sector describing themes specific to agrarian conditions e.g., MukkUdal paLLu (MkfPdbf pqfQ) by ennayinAp pulavar ('[f[yi[apfp<lvrf), n^ondip paLLu (ena]fFpf pqfQ) by MArimutthup pulavar (mariMtfTpfp<lvrf) is a humorous political satire.

With the arrival of the Europeans into the subcontinent, the definition of 'stage' began to assume a different meaning. By this time, Shakespearean plays became popular throughout the English speaking world. Following this trend, Thamizh authors began to imitate English poets (Shakespeare, Sheridan) in writing plays in verses involving fictional themes and characters. Sun^tharam PiLLai's (Cnftrmf piqfAq) ManOnmaNiam mE[a[fm]iymf made history in this regard, though the play was difficult to enact as a play on the stage. Pammal Sampan^tha MuthaliyAr (p.cmfpnft Mtliyarf), considered to be the doyen of the Thamizh stage, wrote the famous play, ManOharA (mE[akra), which later appeared as a film with SivAji GanEsan (civaji kE]c[f) playing the role of ManOharan. Sampan^tha MuthaliyAr was the founder of the SuguNa VilAs Sabha (CK]vilasfcpa) which fostered the growth of the Thamizh stage in the years to come.

Others who have made tremendous contributions to the Thamizh stage in recent times include: NawAb rAjamAnickam (nvapf rajma]ikfkmf), T.K.S. Brothers (F.Ek. 'sf. cEkatrrfkqf), R.S.ManOhar (~rf.'sf. mE[akrf), ChO rAmasAmi (Eca ramcami K.A.ThangavElu (Ek.". tgfkEvL), SivAji GanEsan (civaji kE]c[f), S.V.SEkhar (' and many others. Several Shakespearean plays and Sanskrit dramas were translated into Thamizh and readers interested in additional details would find a series of very interesting articles in "The Heritage of the Thamizh people" published by the International Institute of Thamizh Studies (1983).

The introduction of the cinemas in the third decade of the twentieth century brought about some remarkable changes in the field of n^Atakat thamizh. Though the stage is still surviving with expositions of plays with mythological, social, historical or political themes, the films are now dominating the scene. The film industry has become one of the most powerful and influential industries in Thamizh n^Adu. Many estimates indicate that more films are made in Thamizh n^Adu than in many parts of the world.

The growth of the film industry with reference to the literary contents has been reviewed (tiAr vqrfnft vitmf). In addition to providing a huge industrial base and job opportunities to a large number of talented artists, the film has become a very powerful medium for the propagation of social, educational and political messages which the previous generations were unable to accomplish. The free flowing literary prose style introduced by C.N. aNNAthurai (`biwrf `]f]aTAr) and M. KaruNAn^ithi (kAlwrf M.kR]aniti), the brand of lyrics popularized by BhArathi DhAsan (parti tac[f) and KaNNa DhAsan (k]f]tac[f) aptly supported by the histrionic talents of N.S. KrishNan ('[f.'sf.kiRxf][f), SivAji GanEsan (civaji kE]c[f) and M.G. rAmachandran (mkfkqf tilkmf 'mf.ji.~rf.) and the musical expertise of T.M. Soun^dararAjan (F.'mf. ecqnftrraj[f) and P.SusIlA (pi.CcIla) are some of the more memorable milestones of the film industry.

In order to document properly all the actors, directors, musicians, and technicians who have made significant contributions to the development of the film industry, it is necessary to devote a book exclusively for the purpose. It is gratifying to note that critical analyses of the literary style used in the mass media have been the subject of several doctoral theses in many Indian and foreign universities (ArOkian^Athan, 1982).The advent of high technological innovations, the impact of western culture and the increase in the migration of people from the rural to the urban centers are to a large extent responsible for the radical changes in the format and content in the films one encounters today. In the assimilation of these modern concepts, one would hope that our own cultural identity which has survived for centuries upto this time is not surrendered.

12.4. Bibliography

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ArOkian^Athan, S. (1982) Language use in mass media with special reference to Tamil radio programs. Doctoral Thesis, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

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Zvelebil, K.V. Lexicon of Tamil Literature. E.J. Brill, New York. (1995) pp.783.