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Kannadasan — poet, who transcends time

Dignitaries with the portrait of Kannadasan, which was unveiled

Dignitaries with the portrait of Kannadasan, which was unveiled

Naan nirantharamanavan azhivadillai, Entha nilaiyilum enakku maranam illai... (Oru Koppaiyilae, Rathathilakam )

H ow prophetic! Nearly four decades after his demise, Kannadasan is remembered, for his poetry. Isaikkavi Ramanan, who set the ball rolling that evening, predicted that 50 years from now, history will place the poet among the front-ranking devotees of Krishna. So prolific and poignant is his work, he said.

True. If it was love for Kannadasan’s poetry, a fire that has warmed and soothed the heart in sorrow and joy, which drew this writer to the commemorative function, it was also a gesture of respect to the efforts of Kavirimaindhan, who had organised the programme on October 12, at Kaviko Arangam, CIT Colony. Under the banner of Kaviyarasu Kannadasan Tamil Sangam, Pammal, he has been doing this for 28 years. Based in Abu Dhabi does not make his task easy but the man simply worships Kannadasan.

It was a death anniversary tribute to the late Poet Laureate of Tamil Nadu and the galaxy of speakers revelled in heaping accolades on his genius and recalling their association with him. Most of them are regulars at such gatherings and one was surprised that they found something new to share with the audience. But that did not matter. New or old, one does not tire of listening to the glory of Kannadasan and anecdotes about his songs. From Saidai Duraiswamy, former Mayor, to veteran Saraswati Ramanathan they spoke from the heart, every word ringing true.

Sreekavi, writer and orator, spun magic with his voice and words. “What do I say after such an exhaustive speech,” wondered Chitralaya Lakshman. He, however, scored by underlining Kannadasan’s magnanimity, which allowed the poet to embrace contemporaries without reservations. “Only absolute confidence in oneself and a large heart make this possible. Kannadasan had both,” he observed.

Down-to-earth Kannadasan Ramaswamy, ticked off the advantages of being the poet’s son. “That is my identity, my calling card,” he declared, citing incidents.

The function had many layers. A portrait, a pleasing likeness, capturing the Emperor of Poets in a typical pensive mood, was unveiled and a book, Silai Piranda Kadhai , written by Kavirimanidhan was released.

Silver jubilee

“There is a long story behind the bronze statue, one of its kind, which stands in T. Nagar. I wanted to document the facts. The statue was inaugurated in 1994 by the then Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, and I finished the book in no time. But release has taken so long, but I’m happy it is happening in the silver jubilee year of the statue,” said Kavirimaindhan, who had spearheaded the efforts 25 years ago.

The recipient of the annual Kannadasan Award given by Tamil Sangam was veteran director-actor Visu. As he was indisposed, Sp. Muthuraman, another eminent filmmaker-director, received it on his behalf. Muthuraman traced the bond he has shared with Visu.

Among the special guests were the daughters of the late M.S. Viswanathan and Malathi Rangarajan.

Amidst the speeches of all the celebrities, the tribute of Ramapuram Saravanan stood out for its simplicity. An ardent fan of the poet, he recited Kannadasan’s verses on the Ramayanam. “He launders clothes for livelihood and I have seen him pressing garments even as he memorises stanzas from an open book. Such is his love for Kaviarasu’s poetry,” informed Kavirimaindhan. Loud cheers erupted and a shy Saravanan smiled in response. Kavirimaindhan did not fail to acknowledge the contribution of several of his comrades, who have supported him in his marathon journey. They were honoured on the stage.

The takeaway that evening was the thought — the dozen or more VIPs were from different walks of life but united by a silver thread called Kannadasan, in whose presence all differences vanished. That accounts for his immortality.

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Printable version | May 19, 2022 5:10:04 am | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/tribute-to-poet-kannadasan/article29785066.ece