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New team at the helm at TANSTIA He elevated B&C to its best... KP is no more A genius civil servant fades Samskrt loses a passionate exponent... KB Sir for all... Brilliant Saeed saab A multi faceted prince is no more... R Desikan – the crusader of consumer interests is gone Saeed Jaffrey Remembering Chariji A versatile, humane and efficient administrator/litterateur Tribute: Dr. Krishnamoorthy Srinivas He took space science to such great heights! Dada of drip irrigation... Jeppiar calls it a day Dr M G K Menon Missile Man takes flight Cement, calcium carbide, shipping… TSN turned these and more into gold Remembering I K Gujral… Another Leo of real estate and education is no more VV Goes... A statue for RV, at last! India’s Master Builder… Tribute – Baldev Raj The scientist-engineer who lucidly explained economics Sivaraman, 100 The motor sportsman is no more Colour-Chem's colorful personality Tribute - R K Baratan Question on Operation X A honest bank executive... Music Samrat!!! - TMS He breathed transport development A welcome biography on a towering CA Transport S Narayanan Big ideas, not big words, are important... This trendsetter is no more ‘Sai’ Srinivasan no more He contributed so much to the telecom revolution The Hero of bicycles rests in peace A versatile legend moves on Scientist and leader of educational reforms A multi-faceted leader rests in peace The ‘Q’ factor cost him Cabinet Secretary’s post Endearing Aachi... Deora – the best networked politician.... When SPIC spawned star managers... Tribute – Ja Ra Su Flute falls silent Justice Iyer, 100 ‘Mandolin’ stops playing... Bal Thackeray Honest civil servant MSV – the King of Light Music How to build a nation M Subramaniam Master of strokes ‘Hero’ rides into the sunset He took Kone to great heights… A Gandhian breathes his last on Gandhi Jayanthi The honest Sardarji If only he had fastened the seat-belt... He was the greatest. Centurion ‘Leo’ rests in peace Father of German unification no more... Fighter-pilot turned monk... The Rajha of Rajapalayam... Music loses a maestro
 
This trendsetter is no more
In the evolution of Tamil literature K Jayakanthan, (KJ) held a prominent place. He charted a new path with some bold and progressive ideas.

The dawn of the 20th century saw popular magazines like Manikodi, Ananda Vikatan, Kalki, Kalaimagal and Kumudam introduce an unending stream of new writers. While Kalki and Devan dominated the field encouraged by media Moghul S S Vasan, Kumudam under S A P Annamalai helped find new rich talent like Ra Ki Rangarajan.

The spread of political consciousness also spawned fiery orators and writers including C N Annadurai and M Karunanidhi. A rapidly expanding film industry worked in tandem with emerging political classes to throw up more talent of poets and other litterateurs. The original themes that focused on mythology and brahminical life gradually diversified.

 

Self made…

K Jayakanthan was self-made. He delved deep into literature and with the forceful pen created lasting masterpieces.  He ran away from home and had his early stint with the communist movement. A great admirer of the renowned communist leader P Jeevanandam who was also a litterateur of merit, KJ was deeply impressed by communism. Many of his early writings marked a shift from the then existing focus on the middle class (Brahmin) life and issues to subjects dealing with people in lower rung of society like rickshaw-pullers, prostitutes and rag-pickers.

Reflecting his views on the morals, ethics and societal norms as a whole, KJs writings were portrayals of human life and relationships.

KJ won acclaim for wielding his pen against social injustices and economic inequality. The graphic description of the issues in lucid language marked a watershed in Tamil prose. Ananda Vikatan editor Manian spotted and admired the talent of KJ. Thus flowed a series of KJ’s novels. Agni Pravesam, Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal, Oru Nadigai Naadagam Paarkiral, Gangai Enge Pogiraal I remember thousands of

readers anxiously awaiting the next issue of Vikatan to continue reading KJ’s serials. KJ’s style of writing set the standard for several young writers to follow. For several years KJ held the stage as a writer of outstanding calibre.

KJ was honoured with the Jnanpeeth and Sahitya Academy awards and was also decorated with a Padma Bhushan.  His Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal made as a film also won a national film award. In 2011, the Russian government felicitated him with the Order of Friendship award.

 

From communism to democratic socialism…

KJ’s political leanings changed from communism to the democratic socialism of Congress. In 1967 the Dravidian parties wrested power from Congress. In the 1970s the DMK earned a notoriety for corruption. KJ became its harshest critic. I remember his fiery speeches taking on the DMK in harshest terms. DMK stalwarts EVK Sampath, Kannadasan, along with KJ, mounted scathing attacks on the Dravidian party.

In later years KJ turned a recluse, shut himself out from political and social activities. Sadly, he stopped writing. His vast number of fans missed his lucid, fiery style of Tamil prose.

The KJ saga marked an important watershed in the evolution of Tamil literature. In his demise the Tamil literary world has lost one of its brightest stars. 

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