Why I started this blog?


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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 karkanirka@gmail.com

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.

Please post your comments.

Link to my orkut community http://www.orkut.com/Community.aspx?cmm=49797549

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65 thoughts on “Why I started this blog?

  1. Hi
    Ur Blog spot is really very interesting and to say the least Ponnyin Selvan is keeping me occupied …….Please do pass on the links to the books suggested by you ..

  2. Hi Vairam,

    came across ur blog through orkut. enjoyed it thorou
    ghly. keep up the good work. could u mail me smile of murugan, please? id like to give it a try.
    Thnks a lot.

    – T.

  3. பார்த்த நிமிடத்திலேயே ஏதோ ஒரு ஆர்வம் தொற்றிக்கொண்டுவிட்டது!

    சைவதமிழ் பற்றிய ஆர்வமும் கூட அதற்கு காரணமாக இருக்ககூடும்!

    சில பகுதிகளை படித்தேன் இனி படிக்க நிறைய விஷயங்கள் இருப்பதை நினைக்கையில் மகிழ்ச்சியாகவே இருக்கிறது!

    தொடருங்கள் உங்களின் தமிழ் சேவையினை காத்திருக்கிறோம்!

    நாட்களின் வருகையோடு நானும் 🙂

  4. Hi Vairam,

    I stumbled on your blog when I googled for Tamil literary works. I found your blog very interesting. Good work friend. I had Tamil in school for 12 years just like you. I have totally forgotten the innumerous poems we studied in our textbooks. I am trying to revive my interest in Tamil years after my schooldays now and came across your site. Keep up the good work and keep writing.

    Could you please send me the softcopies of the book you have mentioned? I’d be interested to give a shot.

    Thanks, Ravi

  5. hi vairam..i appreciate your interest and ur efforts to compile them..why dont you write in tamil..
    check my friends website ravidreams.net, where he has elaborated on how to post tmail blog..

  6. Hi Vairam,

    Great work.

    It would be great if you have a separate page listing the books that deal with Tamil History that every tamil must read.

    As of now I have read the following

    1. History of Tamils – PT Srinivasa Iyengar
    2. Tamils 1800 years ago – Kanakasabhai pillai
    3. Dravidian elements in Indian culture – Gilbert Slater
    4. The Sun and the serpent – CF Oldham

    I have heard about the Smile of murugan but am not getting it here in India.

    It would be great if you can list the books you hav e read as a separate blogpost.

  7. I have posted sperate page on books you should read….Thanks for your suggestion

  8. Hi,

    Thoughout the years i have been browsing the internet, i have been waiting to come across a website that has quailty translations of the most sublime,profound expressions of tamil works. This is really the first step for all Tamils worldwide to not just having pride in our race but also having a sense of resposibilty to live up to our great albeit former glory.

    Personally, I will do my best to raise the well deserved profile of this blog. I’m sure educators, in particular, would find this most useful.

  9. Dear Vairam,

    Its a good initiative. I wish all the tamil people should visit this blog and support your. Its a matter of pride for us to be a part of this Tamil society.

    Our ancestors who were walking on earth centuries ago were great scholars while rest of the world was filled with mere barbarians. I will be interested to read the historic books that you have. Please send the digital formats to my mail Id.

    As I had experienced the same as of you while reading “ponniyin Selvan”, I would suggest you to read “Udaiyar” by Balakumaran. It may not be on par with PS, still it will feed your hunger for information after “RajaRajaCholan” reaches the throne.
    Also, the Site “http://www.varalaaru.com” has got a plethora of information on whole of the Tamil history.
    Hope you will enjoy exploring the book and the site.

    All the Best !!


  10. Vanakkam, pazaniyappan ungal pani sala sirandadu.mozi patralargal uruvakida vendum palar.etharku nangal ungaludan uruthunaiayai eruppom.

  11. வணக்கம் வைரம்,
    நல்ல முயற்சி..
    மென்மேலும் தொடர, உயர எம் வாழ்த்துக்கள்…

  12. Machi,

    Mail me the book ‘Tamil Temple Myths’ if you have it in Digital Format. I’ve walways wanted to know the history behind the temples of TN. Thanks.


  13. Hello Yrum,

    Very nice blog.

    My tamil reading is in an apathetic state right now. And I share ur initial aversion to _reading_ tamil (though I love the literature when read by someone else!).

    Would really appreciate it if you could send me the link to a good English translation of Ponniyin Selvan.


  14. Dear vairam:
    I have enjoyed your blogs and thanks for reawakening the dormant desire to explore the treasures of our forefathers.
    Great job!
    God Bless you.

  15. In 21th century, Tamil is living without any sicknes like sanskrit because tamil people safeguarding it like you.I really proud regardig your tamil service, continue your service to safeguard tamil and tamil history.

  16. hi
    v.interesting.was searching for some patinathar songs came across this. good venture.continue with the painathar songs.thank u

  17. Dear vairam,

    I wish you enjoy your blogging and at the same time we enjoy reading a lot of thamizh treasures through your blog.

    Stressful job, poor time management and various other distractions from different media has kept me away from reading thamizh for a looong time.

    I still cherish the time when i read kalki’s “sivakaamiyin sabatham”, “paarthipan kanavu” , a few novels by vairamuthu,chaandilyan’s “kadal puRA”, a lot of thirukkurals …all at a stretch..

    now…websites like yours provide me another chance to look at the treasures of thamizh language once again.
    Ater all.. I am from “kal thOnRi mann thOndRA kAlathEy ..mun thOnRiya mUtha kudi”.. [ lemuria theory supports this].Hence,i do love anything that highlights thamizh’s specialities.

    Would frequently visit your blog!!

  18. This is a repository of ancient wisdom… Thank you so much, I am from Kerala, I do understand Tamil, but cant read, I `have read most of the translations, BUt this is brilliant… Thanks…

  19. மிக நல்ல முயற்சி,உங்களுக்கு மனமார்ந்த நல் வாழ்த்துக்கள்….அனைத்து கட்டுரைகளும் பாதுகாக்கப் பட வேண்டிய கருவூலம் ….

    நன்றியுடன் வாசன்…

  20. Hi. Stumbled upon your blog while searching for meaning of a certain proverb. “Thanneer veneer aanalum, neruppai anaikkum” – the literal meaning is fine but what is its actual meaning??

    I am not Tamil educated but Tamil fascinates me very much. I learnt Tamil off and on and am still struggling with it. My mission is to be able to read and write Tamil fluently!!

  21. Hi Vairam,

    Great Blog!!

    One kind request.. I would like to know the equivalent English proverb for the Tamil proverb “vilaiyaatu vinaiyaagum”.

    Thanks in advance..

  22. Really good work! Keep it going! I have never studied tamil in school. My love for it grew after I read PS! I have started reading Sivagamiyin Sabadham now. Kalki’s language is simple and beautiful, easily understandable by ordinary people. If you have any books in digital format, please mail them to me at : toarjun@gmail.com
    Thanks a lot!

  23. Hi,

    I studied Tamil in school for 10 long years, and though now my only Tamil link is movies -I am Telugu– my fascination for this language is eternal. The depths and the hyper-intense passion most Tamilians have for their language is unlike in Telugu.

    You’ve made tamil literature very entertaining and satisfying. I thnk we can appreciate all this only as adults – as children we just by-heart….

  24. Anbarae:
    kalakal work.
    A real use of Blog site.
    Unga blog is very informative, motivativating & inspiring.

    keep it up.
    Vaazhga vaLamudan
    thamizh Vaazhga

  25. Its really a pleasure to see nowadays many youngsters started reading Tamil with immense interest and enthusiasm. Today only i have visited your site. Wonderful job. I read Ponniyen Selvan during my school days. Till today its my favourite book. Have you read Sandilyan’s book.

  26. Dear Vairam, ( Is this your real name or a pseudonym?)

    I just happened to read your blog site. I was directed by Idlyvadai, which I am regularly following.

    I am happy that you have taken nicely to tamil Literature.

    I think we both have some common interest. Unlike you , I am a retired person and I am doing nothing useful these days. I got into this blogging habit when I visit US and spend 6 months with my grand children. The affliction continues even after I return here to Coimbatore.

    Keep the good job.

    All the best


  27. Your Blog is a revelation. Its the most informative website there is on tamil literature. I would like to mention here that even wikipedia was an small attempt. I woud like to quote the thirukkural which goes to men “Let your thoughts be always great and progressive, it will not be a loss, even if success eludes.” Please keep up your good work and kudos to your passion. Thanks a ton.

  28. மிக அருமையான தளம்.

    கல்லூரியில் தமிழ் ஆசான் தமிழ்ப் பாடல்களை விளக்கம் போது அடைந்த மகிழ்ச்சி உங்கள் கட்டுரைகளை படிக்கும் போதும் அடைகிறேன். தொடர்ந்து எழுதுங்கள்.

  29. The picture you have posted for Gnazhal tree is wrong. The tree is also called Pulinaga Kontrai. Now there is a brilliant novel on the title, telling the story of a vaishnavite family in Nanguneri in Tirunelveli district. In southern Tamil Nadu we call the tree Mullu Murungai. Some parts it is called Kalyana Murugai. The leaves of the tree are favourite of rabbits. In English it is called flame of forest.

  30. The picture I have give is correct, after your comment I had extensively gone through verifying the flower names you had given and the flower i had given. I need to explain this in pretty detail. Just give me a day today. Will come up with detailed explanation.

  31. Hello, really enjoy your site. Just stumbled on it today, highly informative and inspiring. I would like your recommendation of a good tamil dictionary in the US, and how to get it. Am interested in studying some devotional poetry and would like to know the meanings so that I can savor the works.
    Thanks, mona

  32. Dear Shri Vairam,
    I want know the details and the differences of Lord Muruga, Skanda and Shamuga how are they are not the same god. please send me detail if any and oblige.
    -With regards,

  33. Hi Vairam,
    I am a lecturer in eng. lit. I too had prejudices that our language has very liitle significant and interesting literature. only recently i read ponniyin Selvan and it made me shame for my past opinion. ur blog in really very useful to tamilians. Congradulations!

  34. Great work…really very interesting…thank u so much…
    if its possible, send me a copy “Smile of Murugan”…

  35. Vannakam,
    Just stumbled on to your blog today.
    Thrilled to see that I can have access to many interesting information about Tamil literature. Just read your piece on Sangam song used in Thiruvillaiyadal and it was very interesting.
    I am a fan of Ponniyin Selvan which I read in 1962 when I was doing my 5th standard.
    I am also a fan of Sujatha and have read all volumes of Katrahum Petrathum.
    Thank you and wish you all the best to continue your good work.

  36. Your passion for learning Tamil Literature and sharing the same via blogs is really appreciable. You are doing a fantastic job! Do keep it up!

    I have been working on a couple of ideas to bring out a couple of blogs focusing on Indic stuides and Tamil studies which shall see the light soon though for now I am squeezed for time.

    Maybe I can – through mail – write on a few issues relating to Tamil or Indic studies now and then. And from your above write I get the impression that you are living outside India. Is it so? Maybe I am wrong.

    Anyhow, you have been doing a really fantastic job and my best wishes for a wider reach too.

  37. Hi Vairam
    Nice to read your passionate blog, as I also share love for Tamil literature,particularly Sangam poetry,for it’s unique and rich imagery and layers of meaning and astonishing timeless nature.An ardent admirer of Ramanujan’s poetry I was enamored by his superb translations of Sangham .poetry.
    I see that you are an admirer of Sujatha whose ‘Katrathum petrathum’ has inspird you in naming the title of the blog.
    Some tiime in1994 I met Sujatha in Coimbatore to interview him,(in my capacity as staff correspondent of Malayala manorama daily),along with my friend in a National Tamil daily,(only other reporter interested in Tamil literature) Sujatha was so pleased that I had read almost all his books including earlier ones’Vanamennum Veedhiyile’ ‘Nailan Kayiru”Oru vipathin anatomy” etc,which my friend hadn’t.
    Sujatha had few good words about cultural interest of Malayalees.That I hold as a memorable moment. .As one who learned Tamil along with Malayalam(my dad had a deep cultural interest in Tamil)
    and published in Tamil publications (almost a regular contributor to Kalki’s Gokulam when I was in college)I think the riches of Tamil language should be brought to the focus of the whole world.Certainly Indians needs to know more.The trend of people being possessive about their language ,and looking down up on others who also claim the tradition,is a trend on it’s way out.There are a whole lot of people who have more than one language
    which are more or less mother tongues.Love to hear from you.
    Kindly see my latest poem featured in Asiawrites

  38. To add/reinforce comment of K Balachandran,

    I am from Mumbai, Maharashtra and now settled in USA. For many years, I tried to learn more of south Indian literature, but with little success. I read a book on songs of Haridasas (from kannada) but written in nagari script which I could read and to my astonishment, found that I could understand a lot.

    Since then I have talked to many native speakers. On few occassions, I experienced the ‘possessive aspect’ referred by K Balachandran with comments such as ‘but we don’t want others to learn our language’ and comments of that nature. Of course these are rare instances, still unfortunate.

    Just curious, are there tamil books written (not translated, although accompanying translation would be good too) in nagari script?

  39. Hi there..I stumbled upon your blog while I was looking for tamil proverbs and idioms…My mother tongue is Tamil, i speak well, but can’t read or write…I love to read and i like idioms and proverbs and poems (which i collect in English) and was hoping that i can learn to read and write through knowing these in Tamil…you are right, there’s a different feeling to reading thing in your own mother tongue.

    Keep up your good job! =)

  40. வைரம்.

    மனது நிறைவாக இருக்கிறது. எதையோ தேடிப்போகையில் இது கண்ணில் பட்டு கருத்தில் ஒட்டிக் கொண்டது. படிப்பதற்கு மேலும் கிடைத்த மகிழ்ச்சியும் சேர்ந்து கொள்கிறது.
    கமில் ஸ்வெலபிலின் நூல்களைப் படிக்க ஆர்வம் இருந்தாலும், வாய்ப்புக் கிடைக்காமலே போனது.

    தங்களிடம் இருக்கும் தமிழ் நூல்களை(எண்முறை வடிவில் எந்த நூலானாலும்)எனக்கும் பகிர்ந்தளிக்க முடிந்தால் நான் மிகுந்த களிப்படைவேன்.

    நன்றிகள் கோடி,


  41. மிக்க மகிழ்ச்சி

    நல்ல வலைப்பூ

    தங்களின் தமிழ்ப்பணி சிறக்கட்டும், வாழ்த்துக்கள்,
    தமிழ் பண்பாட்டு தொடர்பான கட்டுரைகளுக்கு தகுந்த ஓவியம் இணைத்தால் மேலும் நன்றாக இருக்கும் .


  42. Dear Palani,

    Great work; thanks.
    I am surprised to learn that so many people becam interested in Tamil lit. after reading Ponniyin Selvan! Kalki was a wonderful writer. Now so many are learning a lot about Sangam Tamil from your blog. Kudos!!!

    Please send me the digital version of ‘Smile of Murugan’ by Dr. Zvelibil. I am too one of his biggest fans.

    Thanks again.

    Best wishes.


  43. Feel very proud of you.Inspite of having read several hundred books in tamil(mostly fiction) I have not still developed appetite for Sangam literature.Never strained myself to put in effort to attempt to understand.With all your school work and after school work to support yourself, it is amazing you have gained so much insight in to tamil.GOOD JOB! Keep it up.I take your offer on “If any body is interested in reading books of Dr.Zvelebil about Tamil Literature and its History can mail me”. Can you please send me the digital copy of Dr.zvelebil’s books.Thank you much

  44. அன்பரே,
    உங்கள் வலைப்பதிவு கண்டு பெரும் மகிழ்ச்சி அடைகிறேன்.
    தமிழின் மேல் இருந்த என் பற்று, மேலும் அதிகரித்து உள்ளது
    இனி கிடைக்கும் அணைத்து வாய்ப்பிலும் நல்ல தமிழ் நூல்களை படித்து மற்றவருடன் பங்கு
    வளர்க உம் தொண்டு


  45. Dear Friend,

    Really wonderful work done by you. If u would like to share some of the PDF formats with me will be great- my email id selipm@yahoo.com

    with regards,

  46. உங்களது தமிழ் சேவைக்கு தலை வணங்குகிறேன்.இந்த தளத்தைப் பார்க்கும்போது என்னுள் இருக்கும் தமிழ் பற்று அதிகரிக்கிறது.தொடர்ந்து உங்களது சேவையை தொடருங்கள்.

  47. great blog !..its so heartening that so many are intrested in tamil lit. No doubts its among the the greatest literature. As George Hart points out Tamil has all the criteria to attain classical status. The indian govt should promote tirukkural , one of the greatest works of all time. Tirukkural is not for tamils alone…it transcends time, relegion, civilizations and more……..

  48. Thanks for reiterating once again how good our ancient tamil literature was and inspiring us to read those…

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