Testimony to genius

Print edition : September 16, 2016

Popularly known as Arignar Anna, Annadurai was the most influential and resourceful of all Dravidian writers. He launched the political party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for two years. Immensely talented, he also wrote poems, plays, novels, essays and screenplays.

In this unique story, he innovatively structures the narrative using the day-to-day accounts of different people across the social strata, who are all made to fit organically into the story. The hierarchies are convincingly arranged to convey a perspective that is in perfect tune with his politics.

The specific characteristics of Dravidian writing—alliterative language and a certain flourish in the tone—posed an interesting challenge to tease out the nuances in English. It is remarkable that to illustrate a realistic theme, he has employed such an experimental form. This story bears ample testimony to his genius.

Dilip Kumar and Subashree Krishnaswamy