Tamil Nadu

Writer Rajam Krishnan dead

Tamil writer Rajam Krishnan, who won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1973 for her novel  Verukku Neer, died here on Tuesday. She was 90. The end came at the Sri Ramachandra University Hospital, Porur near here, where she spent her last years.

Born in 1924 at Musiri in Tiruchi district, Rajam had very little formal education and was married at a very young age to Krishnan, a Central government employee, who died over a decade ago.

Life was kind and cruel to Rajam Krishnan.

In a way, her life resembled that of Manalur Maniammal, a Brahmin-widow-turned-Communist, whose life was portrayed by Rajam in  Pathaiyil Pathintha Adigal, a biographical novel.

Maniammal, who faced the prospect of expulsion from the party, too spent her last days alone selling pamphlets of the Communist literature. She was gored to death by a stag.

“Rajam Krishnan was keen on getting the book re-published and ‘Kalachuvadu’ brought it out as a classic edition. It was one of the movements she cherished despite her serious health conditions,” said Bharathi, a History Professor at Pachaiyappas College in Chennai who along with Tamil writer and IPS officer G. Thilagavathi, admitted her to an old age home after she had been left in the lurch.

“Barring the ‘Jnanpith’, she won most of the literary awards, including ‘Sahitya Akademi’, ‘Thiru-Vi-Ka’ and the ‘Saraswathi Samman’ awards, Ms. Bharathi said.

Rajam had sold her house at Tambaram and kept the proceeds in a bank. “However, a trusted relative had appropriated the money,” she added.

“She had friends and well-wishers ready to do anything for her. When the DMK was in power M. Karunanidhi nationalised her works and handed over the money personally to her,” said Ms. Bharathi.

Journalist and writer Maalan said Rajam Krishnan set a new trend in Tamil literature by undertaking extensive fieldwork before writing her novels. “She had not faith in imaginative armchair writing,” said Maalan, adding that she would visit the spot and live with the people about whom she wrote. Rajam was close to the Communist movement but she never identified herself with the party.

‘Verukku Neer’ deals with erosion of Gandhian values and its reflection on public and personal life. Another novel of hers, ‘ Mullum Malarum’ was based on her meeting with the dreaded Daku Man Singh, a notorious dacoit.

Sahitya Akademi winner Joe D’ Cruz said her another novel, ‘Alaivaaikarai’ was an authentic portrayal of the conflicts between the fishermen and the Church at Idinthakarai.  

The body of the deceased writer was donated to the Sri Ramachandara University Hospital, where she was allowed to spend seven years by its Chancellor V. R. Venkatachalam and Medical Superintendent S.  Mallikesan, who took care of her needs.

The CPI leader, R. Nallakannu, and C. Mahendran, besides the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artistes Association deputy general secretary Ra.The. Muth paid their homage to her at the hospital on Tuesday. The CPI (M) State secretary G. Ramakrishnan condoled her death.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 3:09:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/writer-rajam-krishnan-dead/article6524537.ece

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