Tamil Nadu

Writer ‘Chayavanam’ Kandasamy is no more

Sa. Kandasamy

Sa. Kandasamy   | Photo Credit: S_THANTHONI

Tamil writer, critic and documentary filmmaker Sa. Kandasamy, who won the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel Visaranai Commission — the death of an innocent bus conductor in police custody — died here on Friday. He was 81 and is survived by his wife, a daughter and two sons.

His documentary film on terracotta art — Kaaval Theivangal — won the first prize at the Angino Film Festival, Nicosia, Cyprus.

In the literary world, his name became inseparable from his novel Chayavanam, depicting socio-economic transformation through the destruction of a thick forest area for the construction of a sugar factory. In Tamil Saivite bhakti literature Chayavanam, a village near Poompuhar, is referred to as Chaikkadu.

“I read a report submitted by socialist leader Ashok Metha about the entry of sugarcane as a cash crop into India. My uncle, an enterprising man, had gone to Burma and I imagined what he would do if he returned to my village. Though I wanted to write 1,000 pages using sugarcane as a symbol of transformation in a village, I wrote 15 pages per day for 20 days,” Kandasamy had said in an interview to Prof. R. Rajagoplan, which is part of the book Kandasamyin Padaippulagam. It was published by Vasagar Vattam run by the late Lakshmi Krishnamurthy. Kandasamy was 25-years-old when the novel was published.

Born in Mayiladuthurai, Kandasamy was exposed to literature of the Communist and Dravidian movements at a very young age. Later he came to Chennai where his brother worked as an engineer. He studied in Singaram Pillai school and worked in the Chennai Port Trust.

Kandasamy steered clear of “isms” in his writing and reiterated that it was for the critics to discover the “isms” in the works of a writer.

His writings were shorn of adornments and he attributed the style to his deep learning of Sangam literature. “Decoration is an enemy of art. Only third and fourth-rate writers add to their writings the aspects that are actually nothing to do with art,” he said in the interview.

Mr. Rajagopalan said the cultural history of the people on the fringes of urban and rural settings was emphasised in the writings of Kandasamy. “He employed a language that was suitable to the level of the character. A reader might miss the weight of the story in the first reading because of the simple language. But a discerning reader will easily find the greatness of the writer,” he said.

Kandasamy’s powerfully explains the generation gap in his story, Oru Thakkaiyin Meethu Naanku Kankal (Four eyes on a float). The feelings of a grandfather bordering envy over his grandson’s fishing ability is the theme of the story that was made into a film by director Vasant.Kandasamy also directed documentaries on famous personalities in literature and art, including those of S. Dhanapal, sculptor-painter, and Tamil writers Jayakanthan and Ashokamitran. He also shot a documentary on Prapanchan.

Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam condoled the eminent writer’s death. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M.K. Stalin, hailed Kandasamy for having underscored that writing did not mean ornamental style of narration. PMK founder S. Ramadoss, CPI(M) State secretary K. Balakrishnan, Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar) chief G.K. Vasan, L. Murugan, president of the State unit of the BJP, Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhgam general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran and members of the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association were among those who condoled his death.

(With inputs from T. Ramakrishnan)

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 6:37:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/writer-chayavanam-kandasamy-is-no-more/article32244228.ece

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