Tamil Nadu

Anbazhagan struck a balance between literature and politics

Having studied at Annamalai University when it was one of the greatest higher educational institutions in the State with some of the best minds, Dravidian stalwart K. Anbazhagan, who died on Saturday, struck a balance between his literary pursuits and politics.

He ran a magazine named Puthuvaazhvu, which was launched on a Pongal Day in 1948.

“But unlike Murasoli [founded by former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi], Puthuvaazhvu confined politics to the editorials of the magazine. The other pages were dedicated to literature, social issues and book reviews. But it had no reservations when it came to criticising the Congress government,” recalled K. Thirunavukkarasu, a historian of the Dravidian Movement.

Anbazhagan, who served as the general secretary of the DMK for 43 years till his death, was a great admirer of poet Subramania Bharati, though Dravidian leaders regarded Bharathidasan as the poet of their Movement.

“If western scholars delve deep into Tamil and bring out its greatness, we appreciate their efforts. Similarly, we have to appreciate Bharathiar, and the question of his caste or race never comes into the picture,” Anbazhagan had once told Mr. Thirunavukkarasu.

Tirukkuṛaḷ commentary

The DMK stalwart was keen on writing commentaries for Tirukkuṛaḷ and read almost every single work on the subject.

DMK founder C.N. Annadurai, who was lodged with him in jail in 1963, had recorded what he had seen in the cell.

“Anbazhagan was surrounded by Valluvar. Yes. There was Parimelazhagar’s Valluvar, Parithimarkaignar’s Valluvar, Varatharasanar’s Valluvar, Ilakkuvanar’s Valluvar, Namakkallar’s Valluvar, Ki.Va. Jagannathan’s Valluvar and Manakkudavar’s Valluvar. He was writing a research book. I had the opportunity to discuss it with him,” Annadurai had reminisced.

Anbazhagan later gave up the idea of writing commentaries on Tirukkuṛaḷ, arguing that there were already enough books on the subject. He did, however, author 30 books on various subjects, including literature, Tamil marriages and the Dravidian Movement.

While working at Pachaiyappa’s College, he would ride a bicycle to the premises. Recalling one of his classes in a book, Mu. Sathasivam, a former student of the college, noted: “He taught Villibharatham for 40 minutes and dedicated 20 minutes to a conversation with students, and inculcated in them the idea of rationalism.”

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 7:05:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/anbazhagan-struck-a-balance-between-literature-and-politics/article31018446.ece

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