1. En Sarithram - U.Ve.Swamynathaiyer
Fantastic piece of work. Traces his life from 1855-1896. You get to read about his initial efforts in publishing Sivaga Sinthamani, Silapathikkaran, Purananuru, Manimekalai and a few other books. It may be just a rhetorical question, but without this one person, we may not have had most of our literary heritage we take so much of pride about. We may have still known the names but there may not have been an edition (what they call a 'sempathippu') which we can bank upon. Its kind of mind boggling to imagine the amount of travel he undertook and work he has to do to make sure he is publishing 'THE' edition (for ex., he compares 5/6 versions of suvadis for Sivaga Sinthamani to get the right version to print). On the other hand, we have a generation who do not want theur kids to learn Tamil.
2. 'Sanangalin samigalin kathai' and 'Karppamai iruntha kannigal' - A.K. Perumal
I was always on the look out for stories of the numerous ayyannar temples and
This is a novel that documents to some extent the life and times of a Thevar zamin in south Tamilnadu. It is full of ethanographic details of the people in the area and the lifestyle. For a book that got published in 1903, Mathavaiah puts forth some very progressive ideas. For ex, he laments the fact that if a women comes alone to a public place or seen outside during ungodly hours, the immediate reaction of the community is to brand her a 'loose' female. We dont rush to help these poor women and rather we take pleasure in making sure her reputation is sullied. I dont see any difference after 104 years of this comment and we are still very jittery to let our wives talk to other men or stay late in office. Probably the tamil male has a complete lack of self-confident and respect irrespective of what our politicians want us to believe.