Tamil Nadu

U.Ve. Swaminatha Iyer’s house razed

The house in Chennai where Tamil Thatha U.Ve. Swamintha Iyer lived was demolished. Photos: V. Ganesan and K.V. Srinivasan

The house in Chennai where Tamil Thatha U.Ve. Swamintha Iyer lived was demolished. Photos: V. Ganesan and K.V. Srinivasan  

He occupied it as a tenant in 1904 after his transfer from Kumbakonam to Presidency College

Thiyagaraja Vilas, where ‘Tamil Thatha’ U.Ve. Swaminatha Iyer lived and published his works for over four decades, was razed to ground recently. The house was situated on Pillaiyar Koil Street in Tiruvatteeswaranpet in Chennai.

Chennai Corporation, a couple of years ago, denied permission for demolition after the buyer of the house planned to construct a new structure.

Now the house is gone forever.

It was named after Thiyagaraja Chettiyar, who recommended Swaminatha Iyer to the Tamil teacher post that fell vacant after his retirement.

“Swaminatha Iyer decided to name the house after Chettiyar by way of atonement for his failure to mention his name in the first edition of Seevaka Chinthamani,” said P. Saravaranan, who has compiled the prefaces of Swaminatha Iyer.

Though Iyer in his autobiography Yen Charithiram said that he had a reason for omitting Chettiyar’s name, he had not elaborated on it.

He occupied the house in Tiruvatteeswaranpet as a tenant in 1904 after his transfer from Kumbakonam to Presidency College here in 1903. The monthly rent was Rs 20 and he bought it in 1909. The details of the house have been narrated by Swaminatha Iyer’s student Ki.Va. Jagannathan in his book Yenathu Aasiriyar Piraan. Even though the owner of the house had agreed to sell it to someone else, he cancelled the deed when he had come to know that Iyer was interested in buying the house.

Mr. Saravanan said Swaminatha Iyer also dedicated Aingkurunooru to Thiyagaraja Chettiyar, probably the only person who received such an honour. “Though he had published so many books, he had dedicated them to no one,” he explained.

Besides publishing ancient literary works and grammar, Swaminatha Iyer also had plans to bring out one book a month. “He, however, could bring out only Thiyagaraja Kovai,” said Mr Saravanan.

When Chennai faced evacuation during the World War-II, Swaminatha Iyer left for Tirukazhukundram, where he died in 1942.

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Printable version | May 20, 2020 6:42:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/uve-swaminatha-iyers-house-razed/article6761369.ece

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