The book under review titled, ‘The Poetical Works of Tiruloka Sitaram with Translation and Notes’ has 55 poems of the great Tamil poet Tiruloka Sitaram duly translated in English by Sekkizhar Adi-p-podi Dr T.N.Ramachandran.
Tiruloka Sitaram was born to Lokanatha Iyer and Meenakshi Sundarammal on 1-4-1917 at a small village called Thondaimanthurai in Investment platform Trichy district in Tamilnadu, India. His father passed away in his third year and his uncle brought him up. His mother tongue was Telugu. He married Rajamani aged 10 at his 19th year.
He started his life as a priest. He was very much interested in Tamil literature. He went to Ramasami padayachi, a great Tamil scholar and learnt all the Tamil epics like Kamba Ramayanam and Bharatham.
He started composing his own wonderful poems. He started publishing a Tamil magazine by name India Valiban and had written articles under the ienlarge nickname Mandahasan. Later on he had used his own name for all of his writings.
He was very much attracted by the poems of the great Poet Subramanya Bharathi. It became his habit not to spend a day without reading or quoting at least some lines from Bharatiyar.
The bond was so deep that he assumed himself as a spiritual son of Bharathi even though he had never seen the great poet as he was passed away during 1921.
He went to the house of Chellammal Bharathi, the wife of Bharathi, during her last days. Chellammal breathed her last on his lap.
As a journalist he started a magazine by name Sivaji and the poems and articles published therein attracted the Tamil world. He lived only for 56 years and breathed his last on 23-8-1973.
His famous poem Gandarva Ganam describes the dawn, the evening in powerful words.
The translation goes like this:
The day dawned on Pothika’s peak
And ‘neath the sprint that lay a crescent
Was the ragged mountain-cave
Its mammoth mouth wide agape
‘Twixt whose teeth, solemn and devout
Flowed the flood onto the plain.
We may compare these lines with Kubla Khan of Coleridge:
“.. That deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill.”
The Evening comes like this:
The hasting Sun rushed headlong
And smote the spring with million shafts;
The frothy foam vaporescent
In atoms rose as wondrous bow
Which he eyed in delight great,
The hunting bow on shoulder slacked.
Here, the line ‘frothy foam vaporescent; may be compared to Milton’s
‘When vapours fired
Impress the air”
This is just one example to explain how the poetic mind of Tiruloka Sitaram explores the nature.
We have fifty-five such wonderful poems duly translated in English.
The book is printed beautifully in such a way that one would not put it down without reading all the poems.
The translator T.N.Ramachandran has compared many of the poems with that of Shakespeare’s and concludes ” The thoughts of Donne and Coleridge are less powerful than those of Shakespeare who however finds a match in Tiruloka Sitaram”.