Tamil writer Melanmai Ponnusamy passes away

October 30, 2017 07:07 pm | Updated 08:42 pm IST - CHENNAI

Tamil writer and Sahitya Akademi award winner Melanmai Ponnusamy, who captured the lives of the marginalised people in the semi-arid regions (Karisal Bhoomi) in southern Tamil Nadu in an authentic and poignat language, passed away on Monday. He was 66.

He won the award in 2008 for his short story collection, Minsara poo . He had published 22 short story collections, six novels, six novellas and a collection of essays. His first short story was published in Semmalar , the literary magazine of the Communist Part of India (Marxist).

A fifth standard drop out, Ponnusamy, a native of Melanmarainadu in Virudhunagar district, was a full-time writer and actively involved in party work. He earned a livelihood by working as a farmer and running a provision shop in his village.

When he won the Sahitya Akademi award, Ponnusamy said it was a recognition for his writings which portrayed the poor who were the victims of society and the State.

He would say he was greatly influenced by the Soviet Literature and what underpinned his writings was the value of human relations even in the face of adversity.

Writer and theatre personality Mangai, recalling the days she had worked with him said, in Tamil literature from writing in serious smaller magazines to popular magazines like Kalki and Ananda Vikatan , Melanmai Ponnusamy was a pioneer in that shift.

“But he made it clear that he was not going to compromise on what and how he was going to communicate both in terms of style and content,” Ms. Mangai said, adding that he was an unassuming man who could identify himself with an ordinary man in the street, a child and an elderly person.

Condoling his death, CPI(M) state secretary G. Ramakrishnan said Ponnusamy was one of the founding members of the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers Association and functioned as its president. He was also part of the editorial board of the Semmalar .

“He always take pride in declaring himself as the writer of the CPI(M). His contribution to progressive literature would always be rememberd,” said Mr Ramakrishnan.

He was also won Ilakkiya Chinthani award, Adithanar Award and Tamil Nadu State Government’s award.

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