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Monday, October 08, 2001

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Recreating Manikodi


A BHARATIDASAN poem, capturing the `fury' of Mother Earth witnessed in the Bihar earthquake of 1934.

A write-up on the incident of bomb-throwing on Mahatma Gandhi's convoy in Pune.

The story by the Grand Old Man of Tamil, Ue.Ve. Swaminatha Aiyer, on a woman who never gets tired of showering affection on her son even after the son and his wife throw her out of home.

A Dutch story, translated into Tamil, dealing with surrealism.

All these and more form part of a rare collection of poems, short stories, and essays published in `Manikodi', a Tamil magazine that was run in the 1930s.

Though the journal was not a successful commercial venture, it marked the advent of a new chapter in Tamil literature as `Manikodi' became the platform for a number of creative writers to express their literary sensibilities. The role occupied by this magazine in the nourishment of modern Tamil is remarkable.

What was intended to be a news magazine started publishing a number of stories after B.S. Ramaiah became the editor. In a matter of three years, nearly 370 stories were carried, of which around 110 were translated from other languages including Hindi and English.

Now, to enable people know the greatness of the magazine and that of its contributors, a compilation of about 10 poems, 40 essays, 55 stories, one play and 15 stories translated from other languages, all published in Manikodi, has been brought out by Kalaignaan Pathipagam.

The book was recently released at a function in the city in which the agriculture scientist, Dr. M. S. Swaminathan, participated.

The task of compilation was performed by Mr P.G. Sundararajan (Chitti) who himself was among the contributors to Manikodi, Mr Ashokamitran and Mr P. Muthukuma-raswamy.

Running to 860 and odd pages, the book comprises the works of several stalwarts such as N. Pichamurthy, Suddhananda Bharathi, Va.Ra., Ka.Na.Subramanian, Mowni, Nakulan, T.K. Chidambaranatha Mudaliar and Saraswathi Ramanath. At the end of each piece, the year of publication is mentioned, for the readers to get an idea about the time in which the story or poem or essay was written.

By T. Ramakrishnan

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