Thiruvalluvar birth anniversary celebrations: Time to correct historical wrong - II
by Sami Thiagarajan & B R Gauthaman on 20 Dec 2014 1 Comment

The formation of the Thiruvalluvar Thirunal Kazhakam (Thiruvalluvar Day Forum) paved the way for spreading the message of Thiruvalluvar’s birth anniversary. The forum was formed by various scholars about 80 years ago, when Shri V Subbaiah Pillai, who was in charge of Tirunelveli Thennindhiya Saiva Siddhanta Kazhagam, shared his idea with his friend Shri Kaazhi Sivakannusaami Pillai. Together, on 17 January 1935, they decided to form an association - Thiruvalluvar Thirunaat Kazhagam - to commemorate the memory of sage Thiruvalluvar on a specific day.


Accordingly, a team of directors comprising Vidwan Paripakkam Unnappa Mudaliyar, Thamizh Pulavar Siva, Muthukumaraswamy Mudaliyaar, Shri Kaazhi Siva Kannusaami Pillai, B.A., Shri M Balasubramaniam, M.A; Shri T Chengalvaraya Pillai, B.A., L.T.; Shri V Subbaiah Pillai, Shri CM Govindaraja Mudaliyar, was formed.


The directors and executive members selected by them approached Perumpulavar Prof K Namachivaya Mudaliyar to take up the chairmanship of the Thiruvalluvar Thirunal Kazhagam. He accepted and Thiruvalluvar Day Forum was formed.


The Forum decided to celebrate the birth anniversary of Thiruvalluvar on 18th (Vaikaasi Anusham) and 19th of May 1935 and to extend the celebration across the nation and world. On the first day (18 May) they placed a portrait of Thiruvalluvar and Thirukkural written on palm leaves on a pedestal and went in a procession to Thiruvalluvar Temple, where they performed pooja, abishekam and arati for the sage poet. The celebration was conducted at Pachayapas College, as previously noted.


Celebration at several places


On the same day (18 May 1935), the birth anniversary of Thiruvalluvar was celebrated at many places across the state.


-        Mylapore - Thiruvaluvar Temple under the leadership of Temple Trustee Sivagnanam Pillai

-        Royapuram – Under the leadership of Diwan Bahadur A Ramaswamy Mudaliar

-        Seven Wells Street, Broadway – Seven Wells Youth Forum under the leadership of CN Annadurai

-        Coimbatore – Coimbatore Tamil Sangam under the leadership of Shri Ramachandra Chettiar


Celebrations were also held at Bangalore, Bellary, Puducherry, Tanjore, Tiruchy, Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Tirunelveli and many other places.


In 1936 also, Thiruvalluvar Day was celebrated on Vaikaasi Anusham.

-        Chennai – Under the presidentship of Shri UV Swaminatah Iyer

-        Tenkasi – Tenkasi Thiruvalluvar Kazhakam under the leadership of Thiru V Kalyana Sundaranar

-        Coimbatore – Under the leadership of Thudisaikizhar A Chidambaranar


In 1937, Thiruvalluvar Day was celebrated under the leadership of Sivakavimani CK Subramania Mudaliyar at Pasaneri on behalf of Thiruvalluvar Day Forum. 


Centuries of Tradition


Sri Lankan Tamil scholar KP Ratnam established the institute, Tamil Vedic Forum, in 1952 and had Tamils of the world celebrate the anniversary of Thiruvalluvar on Vaikaasi Anusham in 1953 and 1954. There is no way to express our gratitude to this great man than by worshiping him in our hearts. Here are some significant facts about the Thiruvalluvar Temple, Mylapore.


-        KP Ratnam didn’t propagate this message on his own, but simply spread his ancestors’ opinion and followed their tradition. Thiruvalluvar Temple at Mylapore, Chennai, is the “Symbol” of that tradition for centuries.

-        The birth anniversary of Thiruvalluvar is celebrated on Vaikaasi Anusham and the day of his departure to his heavenly abode is observed on Maasi Uthiram, right from the beginning in this Temple.   


A slump and a revival


The fact that the birth anniversary was celebrated on Vaikaasi Anusham from 1935 to 1940 was not denied by anyone. Even leaders of Dravidar Kazhakam and Justice Party like EVR  Periyar, CN Annadurai, PT Rajan, A Gajapathi Naicker have celebrated on Vaikaasi Anusham only.


Unfortunately, Thiruvalluvar’s birth anniversary, which was celebrated in such a grand manner, lost its sheen and was relegated to obscurity, but was later renewed with fresh vigour after 17 years, in 1952, by Sri Lankan Tamil scholar Pandit KP Ratnam.


I.   Notes from scholars who have accepted the assertion of KP Ratnam and lent their support to celebrate Vaikaasi-Anushan as Thiruvalluvar Day


-        “As per your reference, there is no reservation against celebrating on Vaikaasi Anusham” - His Holiness Kunrakudi Adigalar (13.2.53). 


-        “The great day of the poet who gave Kural lends greatness to Tamil”- Naavalar S Somasundara Bharatiyar


-        “When you and others do not have any difference of opinion in observing Masi Uthiram (the day he attained Siddhi) as Guru Poojai Day, there can be no objections whatsoever in celebrating Vaikaasi Anusham as the day of his birth” - Pandithamani C  Ganapathipillai (13.6.1953)


-        “Your efforts are most apt and commendable”- Shri S Uthirapathi, M.A., Professor of Central University of Bangalore (19.7.54)


-        “Since 1935, Vaikaasi Anusham has fortunately become a day of celebration. Hence, we may establish so”- Prof Shri A Arulappan, B.A., Palamkottai St. Saveriyar College (19.8.54).


-        “Thiruvalluvar Thirunal mostly is celebrated during Vaikaasi Anusham in Tamilnadu” - Prof. Ra. Pi. Sethupillai (24.2.54)


-        “In celebrating the birth anniversary of Thiruvalluvar on Vaikaasi Anusham, myself and those belonging to Thamizharasu Iyakkam would cooperate wholly” - Ma. Po. Sivagnana Gramani (15.3.54)


-        “Your service deserves great praise” - Vidwan Pandit L.P.Karu. Ramnathan Chettiar (20.3.54)


-        “The birth anniversary celebration of Thiruvalluvar is hugely praiseworthy and may I present my cooperation and wishes to your great effort”. - Dr. Ma. Raasamaanickanaar (12.3.54)


-        “Due to your great efforts it has been firmly established that the birth anniversary falls on Vaikaasi Anusham”. - Sidhanta Siromani Sri. CS. Kandaswami Mudaliyar (16.3.54)


-        “May you indulge in more efforts and may the Feet of the Lord grant you all the success” - . Kaviyogi Sudhanandha Bharatiyar (15.3.54). 


-        “That people like us are duty bound to follow in the footsteps of those like you” - Pulavareru A Varada Nanjaiyyan (12.3.54)


-        “That the birth anniversary of Thiruvalluvar is being celebrated at Mylapore Temple on Vaikaasi Anusham itself is ample evidence for your statement - Balakavi Vayinaagaram Ve. Ramanathan Chettiyar (Vijaya Maasi.30).


-        “I hail your efforts. It is a result of sustained motivation” - Dr. Mu. Varadaraasan (17.3.54)


-        “According to your appeal we would celebrate the birth anniversary of Thiruvalluvar during the month of May on 18th (Vaikaasi, 3) in a grand manner” - Pulavar C. Ilakkuvanaar (23.3.54)


-        “In our land, this day is celebrated on Vaikaasi Anusham naturally” - Professor Aa. Sa. Gnanasambandan (6.3.54)


-        “The efforts you have undertaken are very great. I pray Almighty that it succeeds well” - Swami Chidbavanandha (13.3.54)


-        “That we consider Kural as Vedas and celebrate the birth anniversary of Thiruvalluvar aptly on Vaikaasi Anusham is as per tradition and right”. - Shri. Ki.Vaa. Jagannaathan (26.5.54)


-        “You are celebrating the birth anniversary of Thiruvalluvar. I convey my happiness to you and other volunteers too”. - Rasikamani TK Chidambaranatha Mudaliyar (28.1.53)


-        “My sincere appreciation to your strenuous efforts” - Kalaivaanar NS Krishnan


II.               Magazines and Journals have also accepted the message of Scholar K.P.Ratnam and made the following observations.


-        “It is essential that anniversaries of great men are celebrated, but on which day is of little significance” - It would be difficult to give a satisfactory answer to this statement. However, one cannot deny the fact that there are a few advantages in celebrating it uniformly throughout the land. In such a situation, when there is a need to mention a particular day, it would be better to have Vaikaasi Anusham itself as the day of significance, as it has been accepted and acknowledged by those like Maraimalai Adigal.” - Kalki, April 12-1958


-        “We appeal to all Tamil folks, institutions, libraries, schools and other public institutions to celebrate the birth anniversary of Valluvar on Vaikaasi Panai (Anusha) every year”. - Senthamizh Selvi - Vaikaasi, 1953


-        “There is no doubt that the birth anniversary of Thiruvalluvar, if celebrated on a particular day would fetch immense benefits. This being the case, there is nothing wrong in observing Vaikaasi Anusham which has been accepted by the majority as his birth anniversary and Maasi Uthiram as the day he left his earthly abode.” - Atma Jothi - Vaikaasi, 1953


-        “Forthcoming 18.5.54 (the day on which Anusha star falls), is the birth anniversary of Thiruvalluvar who gave Tamil Veda. It is firm that all Tamil lovers would support the plea of this Kazhagam that the day be declared a public holiday by the government” - Kumudham - 20.4.54


-        “Great Scholars like Maraimalai Adigal and others have declared Vaikaasi Anusham and hence we too accept that Vaikaasi Anusham is apt” - Thiruvalluvar - May, 1953


-        “Thiruvaluvar’s birth anniversary falls on the 5th Day of coming Vaikaasi the (18.5.54). Tamils world over should celebrate this day in their homes, institutions, associations and educational institutions. May the Tamils be proud of their race and rise in unison!” - Thamizhosai - April 1954 (Singapore)


-        “What difference does it make if we celebrate the anniversary of a great man and a pandit of international stature in whatever way one deems? (The journal Kalki lends a fitting reply to this question) - . Kural Malar 12.3.54


-        “That the best literature of the world, Thirukural is in Tamil language and Thiruvalluvar who penned it is a Tamil, is a unique honour and privilege to the Tamil community. The best way for the Tamil society to appropriate itself befitting this honour and privilege is to celebrate the birth anniversary of Valluvar across the nook and corner of the world. This year, during the month of Vaikaasi, 5, (18.5.54), the birth anniversary of Thiruvalluvar should be celebrated by all at all places” - Dharma Chakram - Chithirai 1953 - Chithirai 1954.


-        Guru Pooja is observed during the Anusha star of Vaikaasi month at the Thiruvalluvar Temple situated at Mylapore. In consonance with this tradition, we may celebrate the birth anniversary of Valluvar. Of course, Thiruvalluvar may be celebrated on all days. However if all were to celebrate the birth anniversary unitedly on the same day, it would be beneficial. This year the birth anniversary of Valluvar falls on 18th of May. Whatever be our actions, they ought to be within the confines of tradition and we can follow the tradition and celebrate accordingly”. - Kalaimagal - Vaikaasi 1952


-        28.5.53 is Thiruvalluvar Day. We emphasize that the Tamils prosper in their lives by celebrating this day in all institutions. - Samooga Thondan - 13.4.58


Besides the above, magazines like Sudandiran, Thamizhnaadu, Dinamani Kadhir and others have written editorials and special columns. Magazines like Kaveri, Kumaraguruparan, Sangapalagai, Sidhantham, Senkol, Chettinadu, Thirupugazhamirdham, Dravida naadu, Dravidan, Dinamani, Thondan, Senkol, Vindhiya, Amudhasurabhi, Manavar jothi, Udhayam, Thamizh muzhakkam, Eazhakesari, Dinakaran, Thamizh murasu, Thamizh nesan and others have also published the releases of the institution founded by KP Ratnam thereby giving him encouragement and support.


Among the above, it must be noted that Dravida naadu was a journal edited by CN Annadurai, who later became Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.


III.           Many Sabas, Forums and Associations have also accepted the appeal made by Tamil Marai Kazhakam (Tamil Vedic Forum) and celebrated Thiruvalluvar’s birth anniversary on Vaikaasi Anusham. They are as follows:


In Sri Lanka


1. Yaazhpaanam Arya Dravida Basha Abhiviruthi sangam

2. Kozhumbu Saiva Mangaiyar Kazhagam

3. Kozhumbu Vivekananda Sabai

4. Ilangai Vanoli thamizh kalai manram

5. Kozhumbu Thiruvalluvar Nataka Sabha

6. Nelveedhi, Arasinar Mathiya Salsaari Thamizh manram

7. Bharathi Kazhagam

8. Unuppitti Hindu Sanmarga Sangam


In all, about 65 institutions and organizations of Sri Lanka had celebrated the birth anniversary of Thiruvalluvar on Vaikaasi-Anusham


In India


1. Thiruvalluvar Temple, Mylapore - Under the aegis of important personalities like Shri C Rajagopalachariar, Shri OP Ramaswamy Chettiar, Shri C Narasimhan, Shri A Gajapathi Naicker, Shri VC Palanichamy Gounder, Shri C Subramaniam, Shri M Manicka Velu and others and those like Shri Ra. Pi. Sethupillai delivering lectures, Vaikaasi Anusham was celebrated
2. Tyagaraya Nagar Thiruvalluvar Kazhagam

3. Thenkasi Thiruvalluvar Kazhagam

4. Puducherry Mangala Gaana Sabha

5. Pudukottai Thirukokarna Nilayam

6. Chennai Thiruvalluvar Manram

7. Conoor Bharathi Pazhanjika Vaalibar Manram

8. Devakottai Thiruvalluvar Sangam

9. Tyagaraya Nagar Hindi Prachara Sabha

10. Madurai Thiruvalluvar Kazhagam


In this way at many places, Vaikaasi Anusham was celebrated as the birth anniversary of Thiruvalluvar. Other capitals of Indian states such as Guntakal, Chithor, Calcutta, Bombay and Bangalore too witnessed the celebration of this anniversary.


In Burma


All Burma Thamizhar Sangam celebrated on Vaikaasi-Anusham.


In Malaysia


Samaya Prachara Saba at Burmai

Thamizh Pannai Silangar Branch

Thamizh Ilaignar Sangam, Siramban

Thamizh Pannai Branch at Malaya


All the above forums celebrated Thiruvalluvar Day on Vaikaasi-Anusham.


In Singapore


Thamizhar Sangam and Thamizhar Ezhuthalar Sangam celebrated Thiruvalluvar’s birth anniversary on Vaikaasi-Anusham.


In South Africa


Thiruvalluvar’s birth anniversary was celebrated at Johannesburg on behalf of Thiruvalluvar Vedic Forum on Vaikaasi-Anusham. Moreover it was celebrated at places like Durban and Transvaal, etc., in South Africa.


(To be continued…)

Professor Sami Thiagarajan is President of the Dravidian Intellectual Forum, Chennai; BR Gauthaman is Director of the Vedic Science Research Center, Chennai

Translation: R Sudarshan & BR Haran

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