Women power through the pen

Syed Muthahar Saqaf
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Chat Dr. Sirpi Balasubramaniam applauds these female writers and poets, who not only address multiple issues with ease but also handle the Tamil language in an innovative way. Syed Muthahar Saqaf

Author and translator: Sirpi Balasubramaniam. Photo: R. Ashok
Author and translator: Sirpi Balasubramaniam. Photo: R. Ashok

T he Tamil literary world of late has been witnessing the emergence of many powerful female poets and writers. Their poems and writings on various issues have started making waves not only in literary circles, but also in the society at large.

Distinguished Tamil poet and two-time Sahitya Akademi awardee, Sirpi Balasubramaniam welcomes this trend and says that this will do a lot of good to the Tamil language and literature, besides propelling the younger generation towards the literary plane of this classical language.

“These young women have been emerging aggressively in the Tamil literary world in the past one decade. This augurs well for the whole Tamil fraternity”, Dr. Balasubramaniam says in an informal chat during his recent visit to Tiruchi. He is the convener of Tamil Advisory Board of the Sahitya Akademi.

The poets such as Ira Meenakshi, Sugirtharani, Kutti Revathi, Ilampirai, Sakthi Jothi, Leela Manimekalai, Salma, Kanimozhi and Tamizhachi Thangapandian have proved their worthiness by setting a new trend, much to the delight of senior writers.

He mentions Ira Meenakshi in particular, and points out that she is a forerunner.

These writers have been handling Tamil language in a unique and innovative way. He observes that they take pain to display variety and difference in their works. The early female writers in Tamil focused only on issues concerning women. But these modern female writers have proved to be a different lot. They address multiple issues confronting society with ease.

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Explaining the significance of such female writers in today's society, Dr. Balasubramaniam says that male writers dominated the Tamil literary world in the past millennium. Even women's issues were handled only by them.

But female writers have taken over smoothly tackling even serious issues. These women have, in fact, been excelling in their chosen field and will soon overshadow the men, he asserts.

As literature is an igniting point for sensitising the masses to the need for building up a growth-oriented society, this healthy trend is expected to inspire the youth to be achievers in every field.

Many grumble at the waning reading habit of the younger generation. But hopefully, they will be drawn to the sharp writings of these female talents. This trend will not only increase the quality of readership but be an indicator of development in Tamil literature.

Dr. Balasubramaniam describes these writers as the gift of the first decade of the 21st century. “No other Indian language can claim such a glory of simultaneous emergence of a galaxy of women writers, although noted writers are scattered across different periods. The top literary personalities of other languages are observing this trend with anticipation and an element of appreciation”, he says. “This trend will lead to healthy competition and pave the way for the emergence of budding poets and writers in large numbers soon,” he adds.

Dr. Balasubramaniam, first won the Sahitya Akademi Translation Award for ‘Agni Sakshi' in 2001 and another Sahitya Akademi award for his poeticalwork ‘Oru Gramathu Nadhi' in 2003.

He has so far authored 54 works, including 15 poetical and 14 prose works, seven translations, and is at present working on his autobiography.

“This attempt is to motivate those who aspire to climb the ladder in the literary field”, he says with humility.

No other Indian language can claim such a glory of simultaneous emergence of a galaxy of women writers…



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