MAYILADUTHURAI: Minister of Information and Publicity, MP Saminathan, while addressing demands for grants, announced the establishment of an auditorium and a statue for Samuel Vedanayagam Pillai, 19th century author, civil servant and social worker, at a cost of Rs 3 crore. The public, including writers and social activists, welcomed the announcement.
Born in Inamkulathur near Tiruchy on October 11, 1826, Samuel Vedanayagam Pillai, also known as Mayuram Munsiff Vedanayagam, moved to Mayuram (now Mayiladuthurai) for to work as the District Munsiff. He was instrumental in translating law books from English to Tamil. His novel, Prathapa Mudaliar Charithram, is recognised as the 'first Tamil novel'. He was also elected as the Municipal Chairman.
Renowned historian and leader of Mayura Yutham Movement, 'Komal' RK Anbarasan, said, "Vedanayagam served the people as a civil servant and was very instrumental during the times of famine. He had set up a school for girl children too. Born near Tiruchy, he dedicated himself to the welfare of Mayiladuthurai. We look forward for the establishments and request the installation of a statue too. His services as a judicial servant in Mayiladuthurai's court complex as well as the Madras High Court need to be acknowledged."
Mayiladuthurai Bar Association welcomed government's announcement. R Seyon, a public prosecutor, said, "Munsiff Vedanayagam offered his income to help the people during times of famine and suffering. We, from the bar association, have been urging for over a decade to recognise him and we thank the government for recognising our demands."
A Appar Sundaram, a social activist, said, "The wait was worth it, considering the amount allotted. His contributions to law and literature should be acknowledged."
R Seyon - a representative of Mayiladuthurai Spiritual Council, said, "A Christian, Vedanayagam maintained a rapport with Thiruvavaduthurai Aadheenam and was an example of communal harmony."
Vedanayagam's relatives and descendants reside in Cuddalore. Emelda, the wife of Joseph Xavier, the great-grandson of Vedanayagam, said, "Our family thanks the Government and the Chief Minister for honouring the request which we had been making for several decades. Honouring Vedanayagam Thatha means so much for our family."