Thi.Ka.Si. was another gift of Tamiraparani

Tirunelveli Ganapathiappan Sivasankaran (T.G. Sivasankaran), popularly known as Thi.Ka.Si., who passed away in Tirunelveli on Tuesday (March 25), five days prior to his 90th birth day, is one of the big names of Tirunelveli literary circle along with Vallikannan, Ki. Rajanarayanan, T.M.C. Ragunathan (Tho.Mu.Si).

Sivasankaran made an indelible mark in literary criticism and journalism for many decades. He was an honest spokesperson on literature with Marxist leanings, and there is no writer or literary journalist who has not come into contact with Thi.Ka.Si.

Unique ability

As one committed to the Marxist perception of life, Thi.Ka.Si. was endowed with unique creative abilities. The Tamiraparani region has produced many outstanding literary personalities, Thi.Ka.Si., a contemporary, one of them.

Born on March 30, 1924, Thi.Ka.Si. grew up in a literary environment. He was one of the progressive writers of the early 1950s, contributing to the diverse fields of literary criticism and creative writing.

He began his career as a short story writer and poet and blossomed into a well known Marxist critic. The works of Marx and Lenin and the Russian writer Gorky impressed him most at the young age. Later he came into contact with N. Vanamamalai, renowned Marxist critic, who eventually became his friend, philosopher and guide. He was also impressed by the works of K. Kailasapathi and K. Sivathambi, both leading Sri Lankan Tamil critics.

His Marxist moorings never prevented Thi.Ka.Si from seeking spiritual values of the purest kind. He loved both ethics and Marxism and he believed that without ethics, Marxism cannot achieve its goal.

‘Prasanna Vikadan’ was his first short story, which he wrote in 1942. Many journals carried his works in the next decade. He authored several books on criticism. His article published under the title ‘Vimarsanangal, Mathippuraigal and Paettigal’ won him the Sahitya Akademi award in 2000. He had close contacts with Leftist parties and also had a long stint with the Soviet Information Service and later as Chief Editor of ‘Taamarai’, a literary magazine.

Thi.Ka.Si. held the late Vallinayagam and Tho.Mu.Si. in high regard. It was the former who brought out the writer in Thi.Ka.Si. and moulded and motivated him in many ways.

Thi.Ka.Si. was always proud of being a literary critic. Every member of the progressive work of his period admired his ebullience and this could be gauged from the encomium paid by none other than Sivathambi; “Thi.Ka.Si. is not only a literary critic, but also a perfect literary activist.”

What are the qualities of a good critic? Thi.Ka.Si. was of the firm view that a critic should always have a positive outlook, and in the name of criticism, youngsters should never be nipped in the bud. He opposed egoism, elitism and sectarianism, which he thought played havoc with the growth and development of modern Tamil literature.

He reminded the budding writers that the duty of the writer is not only to be creative, but to fight for progressive values and noble ideas. A writer should always defend the right causes and strive for the uplift of society, he maintained.