May 25 is the birthday of the Thanga Thatha Navaliyur Somasundaram Puluvar. This special article is published on this occasion.
Somasundaram was born on May 25, 1878, to Kadirgamar Ilakumipillai, a descendant of Vanniyasekara Mudaliar in Navaliyur, a small town in Maanipai Kovirpattru, Valikamam, Jaffna. At the age of 28, he married his maternal uncle Velupillai’s daughter from Sanguveli. They had five children, Ilamuruganar, Nadarasan, Velayuthapillai, Mangaiyarkarasi, and Saraswathi.
He learned Tamil grammar and literature from his father and Nawaliyur Arunachala Upadhyayar. He learned English from his cousin Ramalinga Upadhyayar and Manipay Marimuthu.
At an early age, he had the ability to speak and debate together. Written numerous songs. He wrote books including Attagiri Murugan Padikam, Attagiri Murugan Thiruunchal, Savithri Kathai, Pasuvin Kathai at a young age.
He was also very interested in teaching. He started his school with Chinnathambi from vattukottai started an English school with his teacher in Vaddukottai. He worked as a teacher there for 40 years. Taught Tamil, English, Epic. He started an organization called ‘The Saivate Youth Association’ and taught religious subjects.
He was a beacon for thousands of students. Even after retiring as a teacher, he conducted literary classes in Tamil saivam literary classes for students, including Kalitthokai, Thirukkural, Thirukovaiyar, Sivagnana Bodham will explain the Kandapurana verses clearly, beautifully, and with humor to the students.
He has sung in many forms such as Padikam, Oonchal, Kalambakam, Nanmani Malai Attakam, Anthadi Siladai Venba The most famous of these is the Talavilasam in Kalivenba type of poem which is more than 400 feet high.
He sang many solo songs before learning the syllables. Thus he was called ‘Varakavi’. He has also written the play ‘Uyirilalankumaran’. It was staged at the Attagiri Kandaswamy Temple.
He started the Saivate monthly magazine ‘Saivapaliya Sambodhini’ in 1910 and ran it for 5 years. In 1927, Eelam South Indian Tamil scholars conferred on him the title of Porkili and Puluvar.
He wrote songs that provoked national awareness against English rule. Kandavanak Kadavai, Nanmanimalai Thanthayar Pathitruppathu, Nallayanthadi Nallai Murugan Thiruppukal Kathiraimalai Velavar Padikam are notable works.
He is credited with being a pioneer of children’s literature, composing numerous songs for children, including Adippirappu, Kathari Veruli, pulukkodiyal, pavalakodi, and Ilavukatha Kili. His story songs, including Thaadi arutha vedan, eliyum Sevalum, make children laugh and think.
He praised Tamil and Saivam as two eyes. He has written about 15 thousand songs. The songs he sang for children were published as a book in 1955 under the title ‘Siruvar Senthamizh’. His specialty is composing the siledai venba. Navaliyoor Somasundara Puluvar, the ‘Thanga Thatha’ who volunteered for Tamil for more than 60 years, passed away on July 10, 1953, at the age of 75.