Themes and experimentations of Tamil short stories (1962-1998) | Daily News

Themes and experimentations of Tamil short stories (1962-1998)

There are more than 500 short story writers in Lanka. They are from all parts of the country. Most of them are Tamils and Muslims. I can only speak about the anthologies I was able to read. Some of the writers are no more living. Some of their collection of short stories are also not available. I wonder whether they are available in the libraries too.

I started reading their collections only from 1962. Up till 1998 I have read only 72 of them. I wrote reviews analyzing each of the stories in the collections I read. I wrote my impressions both in Tamil and English. Here I am speaking only about what I wrote in Tamil. May I say I was the pioneer in analyzing each of the story, whereas such literary criticism did not evolve in Tamil in Lanka.

Tamil short story

Even after 1998, I continued to analyze Lankan Tamil short story collections I was able to read. I hope to bring them in a further collection.

Meanwhile, recently Jeevanathi Publications printed my reviews of Lankan short story collections I read between 1962 and 1998. In Thamil, it’s called “Eelathuch Chiru Kathaikalum Aasiriyarkalum: Oru Pan Mukap Paarvai” in August this year. What it means in English is: Lankan Short Stories and Writers: a Multidisciplinary Approach.

The critical notes son the stories and the writers in the book serve resourceful for academics and critics of 21st century men and women.

Only when we know about the earlier pattern of short story writing can we then evaluate the contemporary short story writing in Lanka in Tamil language.

The pioneer Tamil short story writers in Lanka were Ilankayarkone, Vaithilingam and Sambanthan. They wrote their stores on romantic, mythical, religious and historical l themes and got their stories published I magazines in South India. Although they had their footing in Lanka, they wrote their stories having the Tamil Nadu readers in mind and adapted the style and language of such readers. Later on, their locales especially with Ilangayarkone.

Tamil Nadu style

While writer in the North tried to base their stories in local realistic situations, in the East, they blindly followed the Tamil Nadu style. For a long time, the Sinhalese and Tamils thought that Lankan writing was only an extension of Tamil Nadu writing.

In the late 1950, when K Kailasapathy took over the editorship of the Thinakaran daily and weekly, he gave importance to new Lankan Tamil writers who wrote realistic stories based on Lankan life. A crop of new writers came up showing their individuality with a Lankan identity.

So, the idea of Lankan Consciousness had its nucleus there.

Now, in Tamil Literature, different kinds of writing are produced in various parts of India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, Australia, and European countries including the U K.

Imbibed by Marxism and as a fashion, most under privileged writers in the North wrote on poor Vs rich trade union activities, caste problems, temple entry, dowry problems and the like.

The Hill country winters wrote on the plight of the plantation workers, and how they were exploited by the estate owners and the Kangaanis.

In the East, there was a beginning to write realistic stories.

After 1983, the plight of the Tamil-speaking people, on account of the 30-year war was the main theme.

Colombo experiences

Some writers wrote on alienation and psychological themes as well.

Towards the 1990s, variety of themes and experimentation in form began to evolve among the writers from various parts of the country. Some wrote on their experiences Colombo life.

As I said earlier, the book concerned covers only the period 1962- 1998.

The significance of the book lies on its serving as a resource document for future analysts to write the history of Tamil short story writing in Lanka.


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