Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Santhan has been writing short stories and novels in Tamil for more than four decades. His stories have been translated into English and published in local and foreign magazines (Illustrated weekly of India ). Besides writing short stories and novels, he also writes articles and poems.
He started writing in English in the late eighties and his first collection named The Sparks was published in 1990. His English writing appeared in local magazines and news papers.
A draughtsman by profession and a leftist by ideology, Santhan is known for his brevity of expression in form and content. His second collection titled In their own worlds was released by Godage and Brothers in 2000. The book was dedicated to Mr.S.Rajasingam, his literary mentor. His second collection of short stories was acclaimed by many critics. Santhan was adjudged the best writer in English for the year 2000 and awarded the State Sahitya award. Earlier he had won the prestigious literary award from the Government in 1975 for his contribution in Tamil.
The second collection of stories was followed by a collection of poems under the title of Survival and Simple Things in 2003. This book was dedicated to the late A.J.Canagaratna, a reputed literary critic. Professor Chelva Canaganayaham says “The pieces that comprise this collection constantly reflect a subjectivity that is understated.”
Santhan’s third collection of short stories The Northern Front was published by S.Godage and Brothers in 2005. This book was dedicated to Mr.K.S.Sivakumaran, a literary columnist who has encouraged the writer in many ways.
The present collection of Santhan’s writing gives a fair picture of his world. There have been criticism and comments about his short stories and poems. When I went through all the criticism I got a feeling that these should be collected and put into a single volume so that the literary world could have a complete and comprehensive picture of this rare Sri Lankan bird writing in English and Tamil. Since writing in English with a Tamil perspective is very limited and the only writer who writes profusely and sharply is Mr.A.Santhan, it is very essential and pertinent to introduce his literary world to the wider world in order to make the world know the life of the people in this part of the country and also to promote English writing in Sri Lanka .
Sri Lankan writing in English which falls under the broad banner of world literature in English should have more writers in order to capture the sense of human crisis prevailing in this part of the world.
English has become the most important language in the world and it could be a vehicle to carry messages throughout the world. There are writers in English from India , Nigeria , Sri Lanka , Pakistan and many other countries apart from writers from native tongues. There is a need for our writing in English to reach out to people of other cultures.
Another aspect one has to take note of is that many writers, from the native tongue write with much vigour and a rich literary flavour. Their writing could be translated into English and made available to the world.
In our context we had writers like Alagu Subramaniyam, Raja Proctor, C.V.Veluppillai, Thambiraja, and A.Thambimuthu. Santhan started as a Tamil writer and proceeded to transcreate his stories into English. Later, he transformed himself as a writer writing in English. His success lies in his use of brevity and the choice of themes. The themes are very down to earth and topical. They are also powerful in exploring the politics of the people with a keen insight. This is the justification for this edition of these critical essays on Santhan’s writing. I hope this volume will receive the attention it deserves from the literary circles in Sri Lanka and abroad.
Lecturer in English,
University of Jaffna ,
Saturday, February 07, 2009
The great bard of Thamils of Sri Lanka is also known for his virtuosity in children's poems. His poem on SCARE CROW is very famous among children.
Scare Crow is known as Veruddy and Kaththari Veruly in Thamil. Thirdeye is working with children on Veruddy with a different concept and the song of Somasudara Pulavar and the songs of the affiliates of the Thirdeye on Veruddy is being used for this creative activities.