Tamil poetry loses sufi voice as Kavikko departs

Born in Madurai on November 2, 1937, Rahman served as a professor for 29 years at Islamiah College in Vaniyambadi.

Published: 02nd June 2017 09:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd June 2017 06:26 AM   |  A+A-

Syed Abdul Rahman (Express Archives)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: A saga in Tamil literary world is no more - Syed Abdul Rahman (79), popularly known as Kavikko Abdul Rahman, passed away here in the early hours on Friday. He had been under treatment for quite some time and returned from hospital only a few days ago. The end came after he developed breathing trouble on Thursday night. He is survived by his son and daughter. The final rites will be held on Saturday.

Born on November 9, 1937, in a highly orthodox Muslim family in Madurai, closely related to the Arcot Nawab, Rahman served as a professor for 29 years at Islamiah College, Vaniyambadi, and opted for voluntary retirement to devote his time to literature.

Rahman, known for writing verses that would strike a chord with the reader straightaway, once said: “Poetry is in my genes because, my father used to pen Urdu poems and my grandfather too was a literary person.”  

DMK working president MK Stalin paying
homage to Tamil literary giant Syed Abdul
Rahman in Chennai on Friday | Express

As a graduate student at Thyagarajar college, Madurai, he was captivated by Kambaramayanam and vowed to write on a par with the great Kamban. He belonged to the Vanambadi literary movement.

Deeply interested in philosophy, Rahman had always tried to rise above religion. He had studied about Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Christianity with great interest and delivered many lectures on them.   Further, he had a special affinity for Sufism, as reflected in many of his works.

Speaking to Express, S S Shahjahan of National Publishers, which had published almost all works of Rahman, said: “Rahman had an unfulfilled wish. He started writing an epic like work on the life of Prophet Mohammed and released an introductory booklet on that. The magnum opus of Rahman is halfway through.  But unfortunately, the poet has taken leave before completing the task.”  

Rahman had received accolades from Tamil stalwarts like Ki Vaa Jagannathan, poet Kannadasan and A S Gnanasambandan. Also a pioneer of surrealism in modern Tamil poetry, Rahman had authored many volumes of poems and essays. Among his noted works are Paal Veedi, Neyar Viruppam, Muttaivaasigal, Suttu Viral and Karaigale Nadiyavadillai. His verses in Japanese poetic form of Haiku and the Urdu Ghazal are well known.

DMK working president M K Stalin, DK president K Veeramani, MDMK general secretary Vaiko, PMK founder S Ramadoss, VCK president Thol Thirumavalavan, Naam Tamilar Katchi leader Seeman, MMK president M H Jawahirullah, CPM State secretary G Ramakrishnan, and many others paid encomiums on Rahman’s contribution to Tamil literature.

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