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K.S.Sivakumaran's columns!

A harvest of books in Thamil

by K.S. Sivakumaran 

K.S.SivakumaranAlthough many young people do not read at all, yet books are being written and printed in all three languages, judging by the frequent launches of books in Colombo and elsewhere. But most books sell. The readers who benefit are ardent book lovers. In Thamil too, a large number of books are being launched in Colombo. Sometimes three or four books are released in a single week. This is amazing. Most writers want to put in book form anything they have written before, in publications, so that they remain as some sort of record. 

Since this column cannot accommodate full length book reviews, I shall write brief notes on some of the few books that came my way. The purpose is to inform readers in Thamil as well as others who know English that such books are available in the market. 

This information is necessary for interested people as I find that sometimes they ask me whether books on such and such subjects are available. These people do not care to visit book stalls nor do they care to come for book launches. 

Ennapathivukae (Impressions) is a compilation of essays and interviews the writer has written and broadcast on various subjects. The writer R. Kanapathipillai works for the Education Service of the SLBC (Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation). 

A graduate and a diploma holder in education and journalism, has varied interests of studies such as literature, education, history, law, medicine and social issues. His interviews with professionals are also interesting and one gathers a lot of information. 

I found two of his articles in the book more interesting than others. They are on the development of broadcasting in Sri Lanka and on open education. The interviews with a few leading professionals and academics are very good indeed. Kanapathipillai is an efficient producer and broadcaster. The book is available from the author. Phone: 071-2374502 

Katuthum Eluthum (Ideas and Writing):
This book by Anu U. Nagarajan is a collection of 31 essays particularly profitable to High School and University students. A very good educationist and writer of books for children and others, Nagarajan is also a creative writer. He is in the field of writing for more than 50 years. 

His essays are superb examples of fine writing in Thamil. His topics: Spiritualism, Archaeology, Humanities, Culture the Arts, Literature, Biography, Interviews and Criticism. 

Despite his later developed handicaps, he like the westerners would 'never say die', and circumvents all obstacles and continue to write productive pieces. To buy the book, please contact: 2554495. 

Padaipalihalum Aaivalarhaleem (Writers and critics):
This book is by A Mohamed Sameem an educationist and a scholar in history. He writes in Thamil and English. Author of a few books in Thamil, Sameen shows interest in 'literary criticism'. He has selected a few writers and critics' who write in Thamil for his evaluation. 

The book has a preamble written by G Kumaran on the early life of Mohamed Sameem. 

It begins with his life as a writer in the 1940s. 

The author has sixteen articles on poets, short story writers and scholars. The poets include the late Sillayoor Selvarajan, Subair and Anbu Mohideen. 

The short story writers selected are N. K. Raghunathan, Puthumaipiththan (a Thamilnadu writer, who wrote five short stories and a Lanka-born British writer, Rajeswari Balasubramaniam. The late K Kailasapathy, K. Sivathamby and the late Ira Sivalingam are the scholars dealt with by Sameem. 

The book is of interest to students of contemporary Thamil literature, particularly to Lankan literature, as the writer looks at them from a Marxism point of view. 

To buy this book the author can be contacted on telephone: 2713314. 

Pathivuhal (on Record) by A J Jesuraja: 
This book is dedicated to a fine poet and critic in the east of Sri Lanka, Shanmugam Sivalingam. the writer is a poet, Short story writer and columnist. He is also an editor of a few periodicals, particularly The Alai (the Wave). Jeyarajas critical comments in his column in his journals are collected and updated in the book. 

A.J.JesurajaHe writes on a variety of subjects: academia, playwrights, short story writers, literary meetings, form and content, international film makers, his own magazine, national infertility complex, Palangetiyo Werner Hergog, Soldadu Unnehae, Nuhman's review, Moro Poloicthisi's films, Esthi's Columns, New casteism, Boycott of Sahitya Awards, Wimaladasan, K Arumainayagam, Katherine Ann Porter, C V Velupillai, Charlie Chaplin film festival, Maruthom Koththan, artist Mark,literary Panels, Fastbinder film festival, play, poetry reading, ambala Harasan reviews, interview given by Sathyajith Rai, paintings, book of poetry, Thamil Boat People, Wole Soyinka, socialist realism, Last Temptation of Christ, Sivathamby critical forum, M B Srinivasan, Nicaragua, Thamil creative writing in English, short story Day, Ka, Waa Subramanium, Newton Gunasinghe, Mawatta's special issue on Lankan Thamil literature, K S Sivakumaran, formula plays, literary scandals, video etc. 

Suitable photographs are also included. This is a very useful reference book also is another feature. 

In the 33rd issue of Alai (December 1988), Jesurajah misjudges K S Sivakumaran when he says that the latter had ignored many Lankan writers in his conversation with Le Roy Robinson. 

The fact is that conversation was of a limited range and that the interview was limited to the questions submitted by the interviewer. He also accuses K. S. Sirakumaran for equating the violence of both the oppressors and the oppressed as 'terrorism'. This perception has changed by later events is a fact that has to be considered. 

I particularly liked Nilanttam has written about A. Jesurajah in the back cover. It's a true assessment. The book is available from the author: A. Jerurajah, No. 1, Oadakarai Veethy, Gurunagar, Jaffna. 

A literary philanthropist:
Hashim Omar is of Mennon origin and his mother tongue is Gujarati, spoken in Gujarat and Maharashtra in India. Although born in India, his parents brought him to Sri Lanka and settled down in Kegalle. 

He studied Thamil in his school and later came and settled in Colombo. He is a prolific reader of books. Having established himself as a business magnet, he spends his leisure in the field of the arts. 

The Thamil writers in Colombo are deeply obliged to him because he buys the first copy of a book at a book launching ceremony gifting huge amounts, very much higher than the actual price of the book. 

The writers feel encouraged and thankful to Hashim Omar for his generosity and philanthropic acts, particularly patronising the writers and artistes. 

Having lived in the Grandpass area for a long time, he moved into the posh residential area in Colombo recently. He built a new palatial building down Sir Ananda Coomaraswamy Road near Greenpath and entertained his numerous friends and acquaintances at a dinner. In fact he had three or four separate dinners for various groups. 

Last week, I was also invited to join the media people to dinner. 

And this was first time I met a gathering of more than 100 media people using the Thamil language. 

Writers, journalists, radio personalities, artistes were all there. I saw two politicians - Fowzie and Segu Issadeen at a dinner hosted on August 30, 2004. It was a very sumptuous dinner. 

Hashim Omar is also a member of many Boards of State institutions. He is friendly with politicians of various hues. 

Omar's photographs appear almost daily in the newspapers in all three languages buying the first copy of books at various launches. 

I understand that he gives away scholarships to needy children without any publicity. He is a silent benefactor to many. 

Quotable Quotes:

Woodrow Wilson: Open covenants of peace openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view. 

David Reuben: Nation shall speak peace unto nation. 

D. H. Lawrence: Loud peace propaganda makes war seem imminent. 

Friedrich Engels: The State is not abolished, it withers away. 

Plato: The rulers of the State are the only ones who should have the privilege of lying, either at home or abroad; they may be allowed to lie for the good of the State. * 

A poem by S. Sivasegeran:
if I spoke in Tamil
the English class teacher would
scold me, levy a fine.
If he found a Tamil story book on me
he would confiscate it, tear it up.
I would mutter in protest in Tamil.

if I spoke in Tamil on the street
the Sinhala racist
would stare at me, and if possible
come with a gang to assault me.
If he saw a Tamil newspaper in my hand
he would snatch it and tear it up.
I still would mutter in protest in Tamil. 

(From the anthology about another matter - poems in translation by S. Sivasegaran)

Contact: kssivan1@juno.com, 2587617 

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