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Grand finale: The panel of orators.
Grand finale: The panel of orators.


The 26th Silappadhikara Vizha held at Coimbatore offered a feast for the lovers of Tamil literature.

The twenty-sixth ‘Silappadhikara Vizha,’ organised by Ilango Adigal Ilakkiya Mandram, Coimbatore, at Nani Kalaiarangam, offered a rich feast to the lovers of Tamil literature. The two-day event began with the presentation of ‘Doctor U.Ve. Swaminatha Iyer Award’ (instituted by Sri Krishna Sweets) to T. Gnanasundaram, Professor of Kamban Chair, Pondicherry Central University, in appreciation of his significant contribution to Tamil literature and research.

K.P. Aravanan, former vice chancellor, Manonmaneeyam Sundaranar University, who presided over the function, presented the award and gave an impressive speech on the role of great epics in uplifting mankind. Later, R. Rukmani, a veteran orator, kept the audience spell-bound with her enjoyable and enlightening lecture on the topic, ‘Poompugaaril Sila Pugaargal.’ Despite the soft voice and the subdued style, I.K. Subramanian’s well-researched speech on the topic the following morning, ‘Ullinum Ullam Sudum’ (the thought of it will scorch the heart) went straight into the hearts of the listeners.

Rare feature

This year’s ‘Sangappalagai’ brought the great poets Ilango Adigal, Kambar, Bharathiar and Bharathidasan together on the same stage. K. Murugesan as Kuruvi Padiniyaar and N. Nanjundan as Nachaathaarkkiniyar (as parodies for Kaakkai Paadiniyaar and Nachinaarkkiniyar respectively) introduced this rare feature ‘Neerai Santhikum Nerupu Thundangal’ in a novel and amusing manner.

S. Sathiyaseelan as Ilango Adigal and T.Gnanasundaram as Kambar occupied the centre stage. A. Arivoli donned the mantle of Bharathiar and Jothi Ramakrishnan played the role of Bharathidasan. The two hours that fleeted by were full of thought-provoking and emotionally rich discussions. One could not but admire the vast erudition of the scholars as they poured forth evidences from various sources to support their stand.

A dance drama based on the trial scene from Silappadhikaram (Vazhakkurai kaathai) was presented by Sathyanarayanan, in the evening, in which students of Mani Higher Secondary school participated. The debate (Patti mandram) on the topic, ‘Which epic elevated the greatness of womanhood, Silappadhikaram, Manimekalai or Kamba Ramayanam?’ formed the grand finale. M. Rajarathnam and Gangai Manimaran ably argued for Silappadhikaram, T.K. Subramaniam and V.Sankaranarayanan tried to establish the superiority of Manimekalai while Punitha Ekambaram and Sharada cited various instances to prove that Kamba Ramayanam deserved this honour better.

Gana Sitsabesan as the moderator, pointed out that Silappadhikaram vividly portrays the incredible heights a woman can reach. The housewife Kannagi becomes fury incarnate once her husband gets killed unjustly. Not being satisfied with the king’s death she burns down the whole city. But finally, she forgives everybody and rises to the level of a divine being. He declared ‘Silappadhikaram,’ the winner, amidst thunderous applause. ‘Poompugar Potrodi,’ a book based on Silappadhikaram by K. Murugesan was released by Thayammal Aravanan.

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