Director Bharathiraja has come out in support of poet Vairamuthu in the Andal controversy in a press release to the media on Thursday, and slammed BJP’s H Raja for his comments against the poet.
Calling him out for his ‘boorishness’, Bharathiraja said, “Can you create literature for Tamils like Vairamuthu has? Can you even write one song that wakes up tired people? Don't think of destroying such a renowned Tamilian.”
“Vairamuthu lives a guiding light to the life of many people. How can you speak of him without a nerve in your tongue?” he further said.
Poet Vairamuthu in his speech titled ‘Tamizhai Aandal’ had quoted a researcher, who in turn had said, “Andal herself is a Devadasi who lived and died in the Sri Rangam Temple.”
Several people felt that Vairamuthu had crossed a line by quoting a book that called Andal a "Devadasi". Following the backlash his speech received, Vairamuthu quickly expressed regret to those hurt by the speech which was reproduced in the Tamil daily Dinamani.
Vairamuthu said, "In my essay called ‘Tamizhai Aandal’ I had only quoted a line from a book that had come from Indiana University. It is not my opinion. It is that researcher’s personal opinion. The aim of literature is to maximise personas and not to minimise them. There is no need for literature (to minimise personas). Everybody knows that my views on Andal are only to praise her and my intention is not to hurt anyone. I regret it if anyone has been hurt."
Here is the full text of Bharathiraja’s statement on the issue:
My sweet Tamil people,
It's been a long time since personal freedoms were snatched away in Tamil Nadu. The freedom to write, the freedom to speak, the freedom to opine are all long gone. A bitter experience that took place recently has kept me up all night. There have been thinkers, writers, and poets who have achieved the pinnacle of success in Tamil Nadu. Today, we are fortunate to be living in the midst of a great poet like Kaviperarasu Vairamuthu who has popularised Tamil in every direction.
Having won the Indian Government's Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Sahitya Akademi, Vairamuthu, a Tamilan we are proud of, has, through his creations, taken Tamil to the peak of the world.
If Manimekalai and Silappatikaram are twin epics, then are not Vairamuthu's Kallikattu Ithikasam and Karuvachi Kaaviyam the common man's twin epics? How can a poet, who has simplified Tamil, be spoken ill of by abusers? Those who criticise the Tamil identity must first realise that Vairamuthu is not alone.
A creator can express his opinions. Or he can quote another. Nobody has the right to question that down to the last alphabet.
Without discrimination, Vairamuthu has taken the poets and writers of Sangam literature, Bhakthi literature and Samakalam literature to every stage and listed their contributions. How can someone attack a poet like that without a nerve in their tongue?
H Raja, what you have spoken is the height of boorishness. Vairamuthu, who spoke on the topic 'Tamizhai Aandal' in such a manner that even the common man can understand. You have abused the birth of such a great poet.
Thiruppavai introduced Vaishnavism to the Tamil language and has been brought from the sanctum sanctorum to the common man's ears by Vairamuthu. Are you denigrating the status of such a man?
H Raja, understand that Thiruppavai is not in Sanskrit, it is in Tamil.
Raja, you speak ill of a poet who should be celebrated! Who gives you the right to speak so?
Can you create literature for Tamils like Vairamuthu has? Can you even write one song that wakes up tired people? Don't think of destroying such a renowned Tamilian.
How are you able to speak about a man who was born in a simple, poor family and has introduced Tamil to 23 different languages? Many people who have read and analysed Vairamuthu's creations have received degrees. His works are lessons in many colleges and universities. Many youngsters have come up in life taking inspiration from Vairamuthu's life and hard work.
Vairamuthu is a guiding light in many people's life. How can you speak of him without a nerve in your tongue?
I fear that it is only because of people like you that India will be split into fragments.
Speak with caution.
Raja! There are many people like you in India.
There are only a few good identities like Kaviperarasu Vairamuthu.