Tamil Nadu

V.O. Chidambaram Pillai's entire writings to be published in two volumes

V.O. Chidambaram Pillai (VOC)

V.O. Chidambaram Pillai (VOC)  

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Introduction has been written by Communist leader P. Jeevanandam

The country knows him primarily as a freedom fighter who launched the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company (SSNC), seeking to put an end to the monopoly of the British in sea trade.

But V.O. Chidambaram Pillai (VOC), who was awarded a double life-sentence by the British court, was also a redoubtable Tamil scholar and prolific writer and had penned commentaries on Tirukkural and Sivagnana Potham.

Though his works were published separately by various publishers, VOC Noolagam, a Chennai-based publishing company, has compiled the entire work of VOC, and they will be published in two volumes soon.

“Today, politics and politicians are looked down upon by the youth because of the all-pervasive corruption. The life of VOC offers a ray of hope at a time when corrupt politicians, jailed for scams, are offered rousing reception,” said poet Ilayabharathi, founder of VOC Noolagam.

The two volumes running into 1,500 pages have an introduction written by Communist leader P. Jeevanandam and an obituary by Dravidar Kazhagam founder Periyar in Kudiyarasu.

“He lost his lawyer job, made many sacrifices, went to jail when there was no special classes in jail, faced huge losses and lived a poor life till his last days ….,” Periyar had noted. After his release from jail, he lived in Chennai, eking out a livelihood selling rice and ghee. It was while staying in Chennai that he plunged fully into a literary pursuit and taught Tamil to many people.

Besides his autobiography written in verse form, adhering strictly to the rules, the collection includes articles written by his contemporaries and others about him.

VOC also had a special interest in self-help books of James Allen and translated some of them when he was in the Coimbatore prison.

“Every Tamil should read his books and it should be translated into many languages,” he said in the preface.

V. Arasu, former head of Tamil Department, Madras University, who published 13 books of VOC, pointed out a problem in one of his works. “He wrote commentaries on the ancient literary work Innilai, an ancient literary work. Later, it was proved that it was a wrong book. He had received palm manuscripts of a different book,” he said, and stressed the need for removing the work from the collection.

For many years, commentaries on Book of Virtue (Arathupal) and Book of Polity (Porutpal) were available. Subsequently, Book of Love was also found and the new edition includes this third book.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 10:43:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vo-chidambaram-pillai-s-entire-writings-to-be-published-in-two-volumes/article30552885.ece

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