Tamil poet and lyricist Vairamuthu courted controversy over his comments on Andal, a seventh century mystic and an Alvar saint. Vairamathu had made a speech stating, "In ‘Indian movement: Some aspects of dissent, protest and reform’, written by Subhash Chandra Malik from America’s Indiana University, there is a line: Andal herself is a Devadasi who lived and died in the Sri Rangam Temple.” He went on to say, “While devotees will not accept this, but those who oppose patriarchy, and those who are against an unequal society, will ponder this.”
It was this controversial speech that was published under the title 'Tamizhai Aandal' in the newspaper Dinamani. Despite the poet expressing regrets over his comments, protests from groups such as Hindu Munnani have continued, with BJP leaders including state President Tamilisai Soundarajan stating that he had hurt Hindu statements.
Amidst the protests, Vairamuthu on Saturday evening chose to issue another clarification.
Read full text of Vairamuthu’s clarification:
My Intention is to Glorify Aandaal Explanation by Poet Vairamuthu
'Thamizhai Aandaal' was my tribute to Poet Aandaal celebrating her contribution to Tamil. This article is part of a series I have been researching and publishing for the past few years. I have published similar research articles in Dinamani on Thiruvalluvar, llangovadigal, Kambar, Appar, Thirumoolar, Vallalaar, Bharathiyar, Baradhidasan, U.V. Swaminatha lyer, Pattukkoattai Kalyanasundaram and Kannadasan. My objective is to present the greatness of these pillars of Tamil language.
I would like to clarify on a few issues inferred incorrectly from my article.
The word Devadasi does not mean a prostitute. Devadasi means 'Female Servant of God'. It is the highest and purest form of service to God where a girl dedicates the rest of her life to worship and service of a deity or a temple.
As part of my research for writing this article on Aandaal, I happened to read a collection of articles edited by Subhash Chandra Malik in the name of "Indian Movements: Some Aspects of Dissent, Protest and Reform", the original from Indiana University and published by Indian Institute of Advanced Study in 1978. It is very much an Indian research study by Indian historians.
My reference, which is being incorrectly perceived, is from the first article in this publication titled "Bhakti Movement in South India”, authored by Professor M.G.S Narayanan & Professor Kesavan Veiuthat. Professor M. G. S Narayanan is considered as "one of India's top authorities on ancient history" and has served as the chairman of Indian Council of Historical Research. Professor Kesavan Veluthat is the Professor of History in University of Delhi.
The line mentioned in my article was from a reputed publication and by reputed historians. I have used the word Devadasi (Servant of God) in the same positive connotation as the original authors.
| kindly request you to appeal to your intellect, setting aside raw emotions. Having lived and worked for Tamil the past forty six years, I would never hurt the sentiments of Tamil society. I sincerely believe that the purpose of writing is to spread love and joy.
I kindly invite you to read and reflect deeply on my original article "Thamizhai Aandaal” for Dinamani.