Kaviyarasu Kannadasan Biography
Kannadasan ( 24 June, 1927 – 17 October, 1981 ) was a Tamil Poet and Lyricist, heralded as one of the greatest and most important writer in the Tamil Language. Frequently called Kaviyarasu ( English : King of Poets ), Kannadasan was most familiar for his song lyrics in Tamil Films and contributed around 5000 Lyrics besides 6000 Poems and 232 Books, including Novels, Epics, Plays, Essays, his most popular being the 10 – part religious essay on Hinduism, captioned Arthamulla Indhumatham ( English : Meaningful Hinduism ) and the biography of Jesus Christ in verse, titled Yesu Kaaviyam.
Kannadasan won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel Cheraman Kadali in the year 1980 and was the first ever to receive the National Film Award for Best Lyrics, given in 1969 for the Film Kuzhanthaikkaga.
Kannadasan was born in Sirukudalpatti, near Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, India and was given the birth – name Muthiah. But when Kannadasan died at the age of 54, on 16 October 1981, millions of Tamils remembered him only by the name Kannadasan.
For Tamils all over the world, Kannadasan epitomised their Poetry Style. Even those who couldn’t read the poetry of Kamban or the maxims of Valluvan, could hum the compositions of Poet Kannadasan.
There is no doubt that Kannadasan had a penetrating eye and keen Observational Powers. Kannadasan also did not live a cocoon – type of life. Kannadasan dipped into each andeverything that Tamil Nadu could offer – Wine, Women, Drugs, Politics, Polemics, Atheism and Religious Sanctuary.
After enjoying all of them, what Kannadasan did was exceptionally remarkable – Kannadasan simply composed verses – by brilliantly clubbing all his experiences and imaginations, alongwith mind – boggling sentiments, reflective self – deprecating humour, satirical sarcasm, bitter irony and philosophical puns. These verses touched the sympathetic chords of Tamils from all Walks of Life – School Boys, Undergrads, Housewives, Farmers, Manual Labourers, Plantation Workers, Middle Class Representatives and even Upper Class Elites – all over the world.
Atheism to Hinduism
Muthiah was a staunch atheist and a follower of the Dravidian atheistic movement. Kannadasan had great love for the Tamil language and culture, and excelled in Tamil Literature, Prose and Poetry. Kannadasan once read the Thiruppavai of Andal, and was amazed at its mystic poetry, that was to have a deep and everlasting impact on him.
After a lot of introspection, Kannadasan decided to reconvert back into Hinduism, christened himself Kannadasan, dug deep into understanding Hinduism, and wrote his series of books on Hinduism titled “Arthamulla Indu Matham”.
Kannadasan Poet Laureate
Kannadasan was the Poet Laureate of the Tamil Nadu Government when he died. His autobiography is called “Vanavasam” that was published by Vanathi Publishers.
Kannadasan died on 17 October 1981 in Chicago, United States, where he had gone from India to attend a Tamil Conference organised by the Tamil Association of Chicago. A house in Sirukootalpatti is now a memorial for the Tamil Film Music’s evergreen favourites. The Kannadasan Memorial Museum was inaugurated on June 25.