VELLORE: As part of the centenary celebrations of the great Tamil scholar Dr Mu Varadarajan, fondly known as ‘Mu Va’ in the literary circle, the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) university here has taken the lead and credit to establish a Chair in his memory, to popularise the scholar’s literary works and to facilitate research in this regard.
In addition, the Vellore Tamil Sangam has announced the creation of ‘Mu Va endowment’ also at the VIT. What is more, Vellore city would soon witness the installation of a bronze statue of this great personality, also part of the centenary celebrations.
Not many would know that Mu Va was born in a tiny village called Velam near Wallajah in Vellore district. He studied in Tirupattur and worked as a clerk at the taluk office during the 1920s. He later took up studying Tamil and topped the state in the Vidwan exam. He married his uncle’s daughter Radha and worked as a Tamil teacher in an elementary school in Tirupattur. He was versatile in many languages including English, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi.
In the 1930s he worked as a Tamil Professor in Pachaiappa’s College in Chennai and became the first person to get his PhD in Tamil from Madras University. After holding various positions at Madras University, he assumed charge as the Vice Chancellor of Madurai University in 1971. Mu Va is also the first Tamil Scholar to receive a D Lit degree from American University. Besides serving as a member in various literary organisations such as Sahitya Academy and many governmental organisations like the Text Book society, he was a prolific writer whose published works include 13 novels, 6 plays, 2 short story collections, 11 essay anthologies, a book on the history of Tamil literature, books on Tamil linguistics and childrens’ books. In 1961, he was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for Tamil for his novel ‘Ahal Vilakku’.
The audience who had assembled to celebrate the centenary celebrations of the son of the soil here on Sunday were amazed to know that this man, born in an ordinary family and through his sheer hard work and perseverance rose to become a role model as a teacher and a scholar eulogised by the world community. They described Mu Va as a large-hearted simpleton who was willing to help anyone pursue an education. Varadarajan’s life is an inspiration for everyone and the contribution to the language by the forgotten hero deserved recognition and patronage from the locals they pointed out making a plea to the State Government to popularise all his books in recognition of his service to the language.
VIT chancellor G Viswanathan, president of the Mu Va centenary celebrations committee said that a personal contribution of `10 lakh has been received from former Vice Chancellor of Tamil Nadu MGR Medical University V P Narayanan, also a native of Vellore, for the creation of the Chair.
“The message from his life urges everyone to keep striving for excellence,” Viswanathan said. While many people conducted research on literary works, Mu Va had focused on conducting research on the Tamil language itself in comparison with other languages, said noted Parliamentarian Era Sezhiyan. A souvenir was released on the occasion by the DIG of police Sakthivelu, the first copy of which was received by Vengadasubbu, President of the Tamil Nadu Hotels Association.