U V Swaminatha Iyer

Context:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday paid tributes to Tamil scholar U V Swaminatha Iyer on his birth anniversary, saying he popularised works from the Sangam era and helped conserve precious heritage.

About:

  • Uttamadhanapuram Venkatasubbaiyer Swaminatha Iyer(19 February 1855 – 28 April 1942) was a Tamil scholar and researcher who was instrumental in bringing many long-forgotten works of classical Tamil literature to light.
  • His singular efforts over five decades brought to light major literary works in Tamil and contributed vastly to the enrichment of its literary heritage.
  • Iyer published over 90 books in his lifetime, on a variety of matters connected to classical Tamil literature, and collected over 3,000 paper manuscripts, palm-leaf manuscriptsand notes of various kinds
  • He is affectionately called Tamil Thatha(literally, “Tamil grandfather”)
  • Swaminatha Iyer learned Tamil literature and grammar for five years as a devoted student to Mahavidvan Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai, a great poet and scholar.

 

  • He was also a beneficiary of the reputed Saiva Mutt at Thiruvavaduthurai. Tyagaraja Chettiar was the head of the Tamil Department at the Government Arts College, Kumbakonam.
  • As the Civaka Cintamani was a Jain classic, Swaminatha Iyer went to the homes of learned member of the Jain community in Kumbakonam to get some doubts cleared.
  • He also read the Jain epics and collated several manuscript versions and arrived at a correct conclusion. It was due to his efforts that the Cevaka Cintamani was published in 1887.
  • From that time onwards, he began to search for Sangam classics with a view to editing and publishing them. After the Cevaka Cintamani, the Pattupattu was published

Contribution to Music:

  • Another significant contribution made by Swaminatha Iyer is in the realm of Tamil music. Until Swaminatha Iyer published the Cilappatikaram, Pattupattuand Ettuthokai, music was a grey area in Tamil research. During the previous four centuries, Telugu and Sanskrit dominated the music scene in Tamil Nadu in the absence of any valuable information on Tamil music.
  • Swaminatha Iyer’s publications threw light on the presence of Tamil music in the earlier centuries and paved the way for serious research on the subject. As the son of a famous musician of his time, Swaminatha Iyer learnt music from Gopalakrishna Bharathi, a musical exponent and the author of Nandan Sarithiram.

Source: THE HINDU.

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