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I have studied Tamil as first language for 12 years. My Tamil was pathetic. I had to struggle to read Tamil and my writing was and still is very bad. The lessons sort of never evoked any passion or liking for Tamil. All I could read was about Kadavul Valthu and Thirukural in poetry and in prose stories of how richer people tortured poor people. Like most of us around Tamil was burden.
Then in college I met one of my best friends Balakumar , his father was once short story writer was even awarded best writer of the year(I just cant recollect which magazine or which year). He reads lot of Tamil Literature.At that point of time my exposure to Tamil literature was only reading Hi Madan and film news in Anandha Vikatan(sorry to term these as Tamil Literature!). He urged me to read Ponniyin Selvan by Kalki for long time. But I just felt my Tamil was so poor I cant read anything in Tamil.
Then I came here to do my MS in UT Arlington. I had to catch up with loneliness and while away time in my job(which is to sit idle for 6 hours at a stretch). While in job I got a blog which had translated version of Ponniyin Selvan.I read first 10 chapters and it was very interesting, I couldn’t stop reading anywhere. So I went on with the English translation and blog had only 41 chapters. At the end of 41 chapters I couldn’t wait any more , so I started reading the book in Tamil from project Madurai. The book was good and really interesting. It made me realize that the imagination level involved in reading Literature in native language is far more interesting. Finally after 4 months I finished the book(2500 page book…the longest ever i have read). At the end of the book my liking for Tamil literature started.
I am sort of person who likes controversies more. I would like to read speculative stuff like Taj Mahal was Hindu temple etc. In the same way I came across a small interesting piece of speculation that Murugan and Skanda,Shanmuga are not the same gods. It interested me a lot. Then in all wikis about Tamil , I saw a reference book called Smile of Murugan. I thought that book could be an answer to Muruga-Subramanya puzzle. I was in look out for the book and finally got hold of it through inter library loan. Fortunately for me the whole book was about history of Tamil. Pure research work by distinguished Czech scholar in Dravidian literature and linguistics, Dr.Kamil Vaclav Zvelebil. It introduced me to the Sangam literature and gave a great idea why I should be proud to have Tamil as my mother tongue.
After reading his book I got interested in Tamil love poems in Sangam. I went to my library and to my great surprise , I got hold of Sangam tamil poems translations by A.K.Ramanujan and George L.Hart . I also got hold of Silapadigaram translation by Alian Danielou.
Then to my surprise Dr. Zvelebil had written books on all the topics I had interest on. So I continued to apply books on inter library loan and read his three books about Murugan and currently reading his book about Tamil Shiddars.
I am currently also reading a book ‘Tamil Temple Myths ‘ by David Shulman. My further interest lies in books of Iravatham Mahadevan (an Indian epigraphist, National Fellow of the Indian Council of Historical Research, an expert on the Indus script and Early Tamil epigraphy and the Dravidian substrate in Vedic Sanskrit). I also would like to read this book ‘ Tamil Heroic Poetry ‘ by Kailasapathy which covers the puram genre of the Sangam Literature.
If any body is interested in reading books of Dr.Zvelebil about Tamil Literature and its History can mail me. I canrecommend you the required books. My mail id is firstname.lastname@example.org
In my blog I would be posting translations of poems from Sangam literature and other interesting Tamil poems. I would also post any interesting bit of history which I find in any of the books I read.
I wanted to register my blog as Katrathum Petrathum in memory of Sujatha. But it was already registered. So I named my blog after a thirukural ‘KARKA kasadara katravai katra pin , NIRKA atharku thaka ‘.
I hope my blog invokes some interest in at least Few Tamilians, who till this point of time have not realized the richness of their mother tongue.
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