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kavingar Vairamuthu – October 1st, 2004

Mr. Vairamuthu, poet and writer, needs no introduction. He has won many awards that also includes ‘Padhmasree and Kalaimamni’. An exclusive interview with him.

How and when an ordinary man did spring as a ‘Promising poet Vairamuthu’?

Like every one, after just writing a piece of poem, I wondered if it is a poem at the tender age of ten. I did not write that particular piece behind any ambition nor intention. As how rain pours without knowing its destination, my poem too was written without any focus. Though it was not up to the mark, still, I found that there was some literary value in it. After a while, when I turned 12, I gained some experience in writing two line poem (venba). When I turned 15, with five years of writing experience, I decided that my life is going to be with language and literature. Even at that age while writing, I have never had a feeling of a full fledged poet or a writer. But when I finished my piece of work it gave me some hope that I can write. Though I did not aim to be a poet, my general idea was to sit in one of the branches of writing.

What is your schedule for an ordinary day?

I don’t have a scheduled normal day in my public life which has totally be stolen away. I have a very little time for myself. I look at this life style in two ways. In a way, I think I am leading a right way of living. (i.e) When my writing has changed the fate of many people and when they express their gratitude for their betterment in life, (even there are situations where people have changed their attitude towards committing suicide and are living happily) it gives me immense satisfaction for what I am and I feel my life style is totally in the right path. When I don’t have enough time to spend with my family and friends and little time for myself, then, I feel I must sacrifice my self pleasure for the benefit of others.

There is a spontaneous flow of poetry in you. How is it possible?

Tamil language made it possible. I made sure that I enriched it further. On the other hand, I try to be more organized and it is the capacity of an individual as how they handle things. I don’t brood over anything. I keep my mind clear. I see to that I don’t get into problems that will take me to a police station, court or get indebted to anyone. The support from my family too makes it possible.

What does success mean to you?

What I am going to do here after is success. So far what I have done is all deeds. Deeds do not mean success. They are directed towards success. Even if people call me a successful person, I would say it is just what they perceive about me. I genuinely feel my success is to start only now, when I am reaching fifty.

Tamil society has a lot of values and culture. Do you think Tamil movies which have a mass reach are taken in a view to protect the Tamil values and culture?

Cinema is a field initiated with an ambition and ends up in an entertainment business. With so much scientific inventions and globalize modern technology, Tamil cinema has lost its originality. When the very folk arts and entertainment ( Karakattam, Theru kuthu) which is free of Media and modern technology have maintained their originality, Tamil cinema sent through modern technology has lost its originality. There is so much western impact; it can not be avoided in this internet culture. It has become much commercialized. But you should also accept the fact that, there are standard movies that intends to protect the Tamil culture are being produced and there are promising entertainers today. But that number is less.

What is your idea about the expatriate Indians? In which way do you think they have lost and gained because they have settled overseas?

The main reason for people to migrate is the economic constraints. As they have migrated overseas, they become monetarily sound. But they loose the affinity towards their mother land. Here, parents are the beneficiaries and the children are the loosers. It becomes impossible for those children to move towards the Tamil Culture. The reason is much attributed to the globalization and the development of modern technology and media.

There is a wide consensus that the ‘Tamil language will be lost in the long run’. Where as Tamilians have settled all over the world, how and why do you think this idea still exists?

It was true that there was a belief, that Tamil language might be lost in the long run. But now, new researches have found that, Tamil will survive. Unless Tamilians live with Tamil, the language will not be enriched. For eg if you take Mauritius, Tamilians are living there, but there is no Tamil. This is the same case in most of the western countries. When there is no opportunity to learn Tamil, then, they will live with colloquial Tamil but, written Tamil would be missing. In this case there is a very little chance for them to have affiliation towards the Tamil language. So, in fifty years time there will be a change. The exceptions are a few overseas Countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka where Tamil is one of the official languages. The foremost is to make sure that Tamil language is enriched in Tamil Nadu first and Tamil and its progeny must be given its due respect.

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