"Though I have been at the receiving end of both forms, this work is a scientific critique. Marxism has paved way for scientific approach of critique rather than criticism" said famous poet and lyricist R.Vairamuthu
It has been forty years since my first work Vaigarai Megangal came out in 1972 and I am happy that it is now that a Marxist view of my works has been published, said famous poet and lyricist R.Vairamuthu.
Delivering the special address at the release of a book titled ‘Valarum Sigaram (Growing Peak) Vairamuthu’ written by Arunan of Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artist’s Association, on Sunday in Madurai, he said, “after a long time I am seeing a true critique of my work.”
Valarum Sigaram, authored by Arunan and published by Kavya Publishers, is a critique on the works of Vairamuthu who has 38 books to his credit ranging from novels, poems, prose, travelogue and compilation of his film song lyrics.
A pensive Vairamuthu talked a lot about modes of criticism which he termed as ‘shaping criticism’ and ‘destroying criticism’.
Though not sarcastic, Vairamuthu subtly put across that it was a bird’s eye view of his work and the author was selective in choosing from a big feast that was there. “Forty years of work was assessed in 6 months,” he said.
Finally, Vairamuthu who was in the midst of an ‘evening of eulogia’ categorically stated that he was in no way bigger than his predecessors like Bharathiar, Pattukottai Kalyanasundaram or Kannadasan. “Time gave me space to breathe so I excelled if Bharathi had got the support I received he would not have died so young.”
Popular debater K. Gnanasambandam who presided over said that this single book provides us an opportunity to know about Vairamuthu’s complete works till now. Moreover, he said that since it is a critique it would be a reference guide for scholars who intend to work in future.
Parvin Sultana, debater, in her felicitation speech said that research oriented works on popular subjects and writers are mostly not found in Tamil, even if found it is mostly biased or are hagiographies. “However, Arunan being part of TNPWA has provided us an unbiased work without any shades of veneration. Vairamuthu has crossed the boundaries of film lyric world and has carved a niche for himself in the literary world”, she said.
Sahitya Akademi Award winner and novelist, Su.Venkatesan, in his felicitation compared Arunan on par with veteran Marxist scholar S. V. Rajadurai and stated that his works on social history written from Marxist perspective will stand the test of time. Speaking about Vairamuthu, Venkatesan appreciated that his film lyrics are the best among his works because it was part of a medium which shapes (d) every aspect of Tamil cultural life and he used it to talk about the plight of wage labourers and peasants.
Vairamuthu’s works are a mix of Marxism and Periyarism, said S. A Perumal, editor, Semmalar magazine. M. Muthiah in his speech opined that Vairamuthu has aptly filled the space leftover after the demise of poet Kannadasan. His works would stand as icons that depict rural life.
Former M. P., Cumbum, P. Selvendran released the book and the first copy was received by Suresh. Mr. Selvendran said that Vairamuthu has scaled great heights hailing from a humble background without any backing from any form of resource. He also recalled an incident in his political life, how he as a first time M.P., ran ahead of seniors to get registered notices of call attention to speak on the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils in 1985. During his parliament speech, he recited Vairamuthu’s poem written about the struggles of Lankan Tamils.
Arunan, in his acceptance speech, said that this was the first time he is writing on a living a poet which is indeed a difficult proposition. He had initially sent the manuscript to the poet to get his acknowledgement and seeing that this was a critique on his works Vairamuthu did not hesitate to say, yes.
Answering on the much discussed question why a Marxist scholar who wrote a work like ‘Kaalanthorum Brahmaniyam,'( Brahminism Through the Ages) should write about Vairamuthu, he said that the poet’s secularism and rationalism made him an immediate choice. “Even after the fall of Soviet Union and perceptions that communism is a failed ideology, Vairamuthu wrote poems, lyrics and novels that supported the cause of the workers, peasants, he wrote against imperialism and about the dangers of globalisation. Marxism and TNPWAA made me approach him, ”Arunan added.