Rich tributes were paid to eminent Tamil scholar and freedom fighter MP Sivagnanam, popularly known as Ma Po Si, on his 17th death anniversary here, recently. Dignitaries including Madras High Court Judge P Jyothimani, head of Le Meridian Group of Hotels, Palani. S Periyaswamy, former Supreme Court Judge S Mohan, industrialist VG Santhosham, were among those who participated in the function.
Mohan said that the late leader lived a life with high values and morals. Hailing Sivagnanam, Justice Jyothimani said his writings appealed to the common man as much they did to the elite. He said, “His writings carry a lot of depth. Yet, his language is concise and clear. His works should be passed on to the next generation. More meetings on the contribution of leaders like Sivagnanam should be organised.”
The anniversary was organised by Ma Po Si’s daughter Madhavi and granddaughter Dr Rajeshwari.
Mylapore Ponnuswamy Sivagnanam (1906 – 1995) was also known as ‘Silambu Selvar’, for his erudition in Tamil. Providing information about the life and times of the late leader, the Dr Ma Po Si Trust, in its website, says that his political career began when he enrolled himself as a Congress volunteer during the Madras Congress Session in 1927.
The news of Gandhiji’s arrest on January 4, 1932, on his return from London, ignited a spark of nationalism in Ma Po Si.
He took part in Congress activities with enthusiasm, and this gave him an opportunity to cultivate his oratorical skills by addressing public meetings. Simultaneously, his association with trade unions also began, which brought him in contact with well-known trade union leaders such as V V Giri. Ma Po Si went to jail six times as a Congress worker.
With no formal education to his credit, Ma Po Si was able to earn the honour of being conferred a doctorate, the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature Honoris causa by the Madras University in 1981, a recognition of his well-earned distinction in various fields including high-level research in Tamil classics.