'It's a pity that Tamil writers are popular only in this State’

Veteran journalist V Gangadhar remembers writer Devan on his centenary year

Published: 10th September 2013 07:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th September 2013 07:56 AM   |  A+A-


It is a pity that many of our Tamil writers are not known in places other than Tamil Nadu, said veteran journalist V Gangadhar, during a lecture organised by the Devan Endowment here on Sunday.

The lecture ‘Oh, For A Devan Today’ was organised on the occasion of the centenary year celebrations of writer Devan. Gangadhar said Devan’s writings would take readers on a trip down the memory lane.

“In early days, Devan’s writings entertained only the masses of two Brahminical sects — Iyers and Iyengars. Gradually, his writings turned inspirational,” he said.

“Take Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels for instance, if one had read the novel during his or her younger days, he or she would have be mistaken it for a comic. But if one had read the same novel at a later stage, the reader would have come to know that it was a satire on Englishmen over their whimsical fancies,” he added.

Pointing out that most of Devan’s writings had elements of nostalgia, Gangadhar said, “Despite being nostalgic, whatever Devan points out in his stories will have reference to modern life.”

Devan, who did not have children, had kid characters in many of his stories. His longing for a child reflected in his stories, Gangadhar said, adding that his wish however remained unfulfilled till the end.

Talking about the works of Devan, Gangadhar noted that Thuppariyum Saambu, Justice Jagannath and Rajathin Manoratham were his masterpieces.

“Detective Saambu in Thuppariyum Saambu is similar to Perry Mason created by Erle Stanley Gardner. In the novel Justice Jagannath, Devan has wonderfully captured the court proceedings. Rajathin Manoratham’s story is centred on the construction of a house.

A total of 40 characters were introduced by the author, with each speaking Tamil in varied dialects. Through this novel he captured readers of a wide gamut in South Indian society,” Gangadhar said.

Referring to the supporting characters used by Devan in his works, Gangadhar said this was on the lines of Charles Dickens’s works.

“Like how Dickens introduced many small characters in Pickwick Papers, Devan too created many such memorable small, supportive characters,” he said, emphasising that one of Devan’s strengths was the ‘domestic humour’ in his writings.

“Sadly, we lack laughter and satire today. Why not Devan’s writings be prescribed for colleges and schools? We need more Devans today,” said Gangadhar, who has had a career spanning for more than 40 years in magazines such as the Readers Digest.

 Gangadhar later became a columnist and political satirist. His columns such as ‘Slice of life’ grabbed the attention of many. He is the author of the biography on music virtuoso M S Subbulakshmi, titled M S Subbulakshmi: The Voice Divine.


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