The book under review entitled ‘Poetic Works and Translations and Commentaries of Tiluloka Sitaram’ contains 55 poems of the great Tamil poet Tiluloka Sitaram by Dr. Sekizar Adi Podi T.N. Ramachandran Officially translated into English.
Tiruloka Sitaram was born on January 4, 1917, in a small village called Tondaimanturai in the Trichy district of Tamil Nadu, India, to Lokanasaayer and Meenakshi his Sundarammal. His father died when she was in third grade and was raised by his uncle. His native language was Telugu. He married Rajamani at the age of ten when he was nineteen.
He started life as a priest. He was very interested in Tamil literature. He went to see Ramasamy Padayachi, a great Tamil scholar, and he learned all the Tamil epics like Kamba Ramayanam and Balatham.
He started writing his own wonderful poems. He started publishing a Tamil magazine named India Valiban and wrote articles under the nickname Mandahasan. After that, he used his name in all his writings.
He was very much attracted to the poetry of the great poet Subramanya Bharati. It became his habit to go through the day without reading or quoting at least a few lines from Bharatiyar.
Even though he had never met the great poet who died in 1921, the bond was so deep that he considered himself the spiritual son of Bharati. .
He went to the house of Sheramal Bharati, Bharati’s wife, on her last day. Cherammal took her last breath on her knees.
As a journalist, he started his magazine named Sivaji and the poems and articles published in it captivated the Tamil world. He lived only his 56 years and died on August 23, 1973.
His famous poem Gandarva Ganam describes dawn and dusk in powerful language.
The translation looks like this:
Dawn at the top of Potica
Under the sprint that lies the crescent moon
It was a crumbling mountain cave
mammoth with wide open mouth
Twixt with solemn and pious teeth
threw the flood into the plains.
You can compare these lines to his Coleridge’s Kubla Khan.
”..that deep romantic cleft slanted
Down the green hill ”
Here’s what the evening looks like:
Hastingsun charged headlong
And he hit the spring with a million shafts.
Frothy foam steam
Among the atoms rising like a mysterious bow
he looked at it with great joy,
The hunting bow on his shoulder sagged.
Here we have the line “foaming foam steam”. Comparable to Milton
‘When the steam is fired
impress the air
This is just one example of how Tilloca explores nature in his Sitaram poetic mind.
There are 55 such wonderful poems of his, officially translated into English.
The book is beautifully printed and you can’t put it down without reading all the verses.
Translator T. N. Ramachandran compares many of the poems to those of Shakespeare, concluding that “the ideas of Dunn and Coleridge are less powerful than those of Shakespeare, who find a match in Tillokha his Sitaram”. I’m here.