Tamil Nadu

Vairamuthu apologises for remarks on Andal

After coming under attack from BJP and AIADMK members for his remarks on Andal, one of the Vaishnavite minstrels, lyricist Vairamuthu on Tuesday said he had not intended to hurt anyone and had only quoted from a book published by the Indiana University.

“What was published was not my opinion. It was the view of an independent researcher. The objective of literature is to elevate the status of literary figures and not to demean them. All know that my entire article speaks of the greatness of Andal. My intention is not to hurt anyone...[But] if I had hurt, I feel sorry,” the lyricist said in a statement. What triggered the controversy was his article Tamilai Andal , published in a Tamil daily, in which he had quoted from the book, Indian Movements: Some Aspects of Dissent Protest and Reform : “Andal was herself a devadasi who lived and died in the Srirangam temple.”

‘I admire Andal’

While BJP’s national secretary H. Raja launched a no-holds-barred attack on the poet, AIADMK spokesperson and former Minister Vaigaiselvan urged Mr. Vairamuthu to withdraw his comment. “He has expressed wrong views on Andal, who enriched the Tamil language by her poetry, during the month of Margazhi,” Mr. Vaigaiselvan said.

Asked about the controversy, Mr. Vairamuthu said anyone who had read the article would understand his admiration of Andal, and the controversial remarks actually were from a research article. “I do not subscribe to the views. I always feel, Andal, the only woman among the 12 Azhwars, had powerfully expressed her love for (Lord) Krishna while others had to assume the role of women ( nayaki bhavam ) to match her feelings in poetry,” he said.

In Bhakti literature, Azhwars and Nayanars assume themselves to be women at the peak of their bhatki. Nammazhawar penned hymns assuming himself as Parankusa Nayaki while Thirumangai Azhwar in his female avatar is known as Parakala Nayagi.

A scholar on Vaishnavite literature, on condition of anonymity, said the controversial remarks could have been avoided in the “outstanding piece” on Andal.

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Printable version | Jun 28, 2022 3:29:13 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vairamuthu-apologises-for-remarks-on-andal/article22407669.ece