In a country such as India that is replete with diversity in its social milieu, it should not be surprising that some things get missed to the extent of becoming obscure. This is one such story that spun out of this beautiful discussion between two eminent historians of our times – AR Venkatachalapathy and Srinath Raghavan. Venkatachalapathy has spent most of his time in bringing Tamil literary narratives to the forefront by not only contributing to Tamil literature but also translating the vast oeuvre of literature into English so that more people have access.

One such literary focus that Venkatachalapathy has had for many years is the life and works of Bharathi. One of the most towering figures in Tamil literature and socio-political narratives, Bharathi was known to have a tragic death post which even his family was subjected to utmost poverty. It is the events that occurred post the tragic death at the tender age of 39 that is the subject of his book “Who owns that song?”

The session was an eye opener to both Tamil and non-Tamil enthusiasts alike where challenges in translation, the problem of linguistic schizophrenia and impact of Tamil literature on perceptions of the Tamil community was discussed at length. Venkatachalapathy revealed that the idea of a book was never there for a long time and he was mainly working on Bharathi from a purely academic perspective. As and when he unearthed interesting stories about his life and understood the irony and poignancies that his poetry brings out, he thought this is a good story with full of powerful characters and drama that should be brought out for the larger masses to read.

Needless to say Bharathi and his words to this day have got so much relevance and Venkatachalapathy is only making this timeless classic hero who was a genius ahead of his times accessible to the masses.




About the Author: Monica Kamath is a curious being who strongly believes that a right time, right place, and a right person can create wonders. True blue Bangalorean, a multilinguist who can speak more than five Indian languages, loves to understand people, dialects, and cultures. Largely an introvert but can masquerade as someone otherwise if she chooses to. Literature and poetry keep her grounded and sane in this ever busy, technologized society. She has a bad habit of getting herself involved in at least three or more pursuits at a given point of time. Blog link – She currently writes for Bookstalkist.