Tamil writer A. Madhavan, who was inspired by the ideals of the Dravidian movement and the style of its writers, and combined it with naturalistic writing, has been selected for the first Vishnupuram Literary Award. The award, worth Rs.50,000, instituted by Vishnupuram Literary Circle, will be presented to him by Malayalam novelist Punathil Kunjabdulla in Coimbatore on December 19.
Most of Madhavan's stories are based in Chaalai, a commercial locality in Thiruvananthapuram. He has published a few short story collections (now published as a single volume) and three novels.
Born and brought up in the Kerala capital, family circumstances forced him to quit school and go to work. Later, he set up his own shop, Selvi Stores.
Sitting in his shop and watching the fight for survival unfold itself in Chaalai, Madhavan creates his stories in a distinct style and form. Whether it is human beings or animals, life is the same: a constant struggle.
If “ Ilakkiyam Pesi , a short story, talks about how a shop owner is fleeced by a customer who discusses literature, Paachi talks about a dog that is born and dies on the street.
Lust is the underlying theme of his works, that has been portrayed as a harsh reality.
Recalling his journey as a writer, the 76-year old Madhavan says, “I trod the Dravidian path for a time.”
“I am fully convinced that no one has contributed as much to the development of Tamil language as the Dravidian movement. But their politics is different,” says the writer whose short stories were once published in the Pongal issue of Murasoli, along with Anna, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and poet Kannadasan.
“Perhaps I would have joined politics if I were in Tamil Nadu,” said Madhavan, who despite his outstanding contribution to the literature, is yet to be recognised by the literary world.
“But I have no regrets. For awards you have to belong to some group and depend on someone,” he says.
The coordinator of the Vishnupuram Literary Circle K.V. Arangasamy says they plan to increase the award to Rs.1 lakh from next year.
“We know how good writers are ignored and awards go to those who do not deserve them. That is why we — a group of readers — came together to set up the award. The awardee will be selected by Tamil writer Jayamohan, Mr. Arangasamy says.
A book on Madhavan by Jayamohan will be released by director Mani Ratnam on the occasion.