Honor to a Tamil writer after 25 years

Indira Parthasarathy, commonly known as Ee. Paa, is Sahitya Akademi’s comrade

After a gap of 25 years, the Sahitya Akademi chose a Tamil literary man – Indira Parthasarathy, commonly known as Ee. Paa – for his highest Fellowship honor.

In 1996, D. Jayakanthan, 62, was the youngest to become an Akademi Fellow. Before him, only two from the Tamil literary world – Rajaji or C. Rajagopalachari (1969) and TP Meenakshisundaram (1975) – were chosen. Although V. Raghavan (1979) and KR Srinivasa Iyengar (1985), both Tamils, also received the scholarship, they have been recognized for their contributions to Sanskrit and Indian writing in English.

In an interaction with The Hindu On Sunday, Professor Parthasarathy, 91, who is, in the words of the Akademi, a “prominent Tamil writer, scholar and cultural historian,” said: “At my age, getting this honor beats me completely. on how to react. I thank the Akademi for remembering me.

Speaking of the three previous recipients, he pointed out that Rajaji is known for his elegant Tamil prose. Meenakshisundaram was a “great Tamil scholar and fluent in many languages”. Jayakanthan was the “first full-fledged creative writer” to be named a Fellow.

Political themes

Author of more than 40 books, including 16 novels, 10 plays and six short stories, Professor Parthasarathy is known for his work on political themes. He considers the game Ramanujar his magnum opus. His Kurithi punal, written in the context of the Keezhvenmani massacre in 1968 of 42 poor farmers, won him the Sahitya Akademi Prize in 1977. He went on to win several prestigious awards, including the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad Prize and the Saraswati Samman. He is the only Tamil writer to have been awarded both the Sahitya and the Sangeet Natak Akademis. In the 1990s, he rejected the Kalaimamani Prize for the Tamil Nadu government’s attitude of ‘taking the artist for granted’.

The man of letters, who taught Tamil at Delhi University for 25 years, was delegated by the Union government to Warsaw University as a visiting professor of indology from 1981 to 1986. He had a pleasant surprise when one of his Polish students asked him for advice in his research on the uniqueness of participles in Tamil. Between 1988 and 1992, he was the founder-director of the Sankaradoss School of Performing Arts at the Central University of Pondicherry. He has also been Senior Fellow of the Union’s Ministry of Culture and has been a visiting scholar at various universities in Canada.

G. Thilagavathy, herself a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Prize, says that Professor Parthasarathy published many of his famous works while working at the University of Delhi. His innings at Pondicherry University were famous for introducing unconventional ways of welcoming diverse people for their basic skills despite not having or having modest university degrees. .

Ravi Subramanian, poet and director of several documentary films, including one on Professor Parthasarathy, describes him as the Bheeshma of the Tamil literary realm. “He’s versatile, which is rare in Tamil. He is an academic, short story writer, novelist, playwright and essayist. He is the first Tamil playwright to receive the scholarship, ”he said, adding that Professor Parthasarathy has been a source of great support and strength for young producers and directors of plays.

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