TAMIL NADU

The literary world of Swadesamitran and Deepam

Collections of articles in erstwhile Tamil journals released

T. Ramakrishnan

CHENNAI: Tamil journalism has witnessed the launch of several leading magazines over the past century, particularly in the last five to six decades.

These periodicals threw up numerous high-quality writers and journalists, inspired by idealism, spirit of service and patriotic fervour.

The essays, interviews and short stories published by them reflect the ethos of the time.

Kalaignaan Pathipagam, a Chennai-based publishing group, has recently brought out collections of the works published by `Swadesamitran' and `Deepam', two reputed journals that had significantly helped shape public and literary opinion in the State. `Swadesamitran' had a long and chequered history. It was started by G. Subramaniya Aiyar, who felt the need for a Tamil newspaper when the freedom struggle was passing through a critical phase.

`Deepam' was founded much later, in April 1965 and ran as a monthly for 23 years. It had Na. Parthasarathy, a popular Tamil writer, as editor. Both the journals provided a platform for a wide range of writers to display their skills. For instance, `Swadesamitran' carried the works of seasoned writers such as Ka. Naa. Subramaniam, M. Varadarajan and S.D.S. Yogi. It also ran an article of late Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran (written in 1965) about his passion for an old car when his wife wanted him to replace it with a new one.

The works published by `Deepam' have been brought out in two volumes, one of which runs to about 1,400 pages.

Important names in Tamil literary circles such as Kannadasan, M.V. Venkatram, Sundara Ramaswamy, Dominic Jeeva, Vannadasan and Choodamani, wrote for the magazine.

A notable inclusion is an insightful analysis of modern Tamil literature by Albert B. Franklin, who came to Chennai as an American diplomat in the early 1960's, learnt the language and became a great lover of the Tamil society and culture. The collections are the result of painstaking efforts of Vallikkannan and P. Muthukumaraswamy ( `Swadesamitran') and V. Sabanayagam (`Deepam').

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