A Diamond Among Poets Desiga Vinayagam Pillai

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Desiga Vinayagam Pillai was born in Theroor, Nagarkoil on 27 July, 1876. His parent's name was Sivathanu Pillai and Athilakshami. He has knowledge of many languages –Malayalam, English, Tamil, etc. Kavimani lost his father in 1885 which was the first he faced tragedy in his family. After the death of his father, he started learning Tamil grammar for three years. He attended the college in Nagarkoil and received an FA degree from there. He was a devotee of Shiva so he was fascinated by his principles and developed the “Sarv Siddanta”. He was a very down-to-earth personality and nature lover and has empathy for all beings. He was a poet of Tamil and as well as a teacher at kottar and tiruvanatpuram. He was very emotional and kindhearted. He published his poem ‘Azhagammai aasiriya viruttam’ in 1885. He got married to Umaiammaiyal of Putheri town in 1991. The strength of his poetry was simplicity and its strength. He got the honor of ‘state poet’ but he declined it. He published another poem ‘Malarum Maalaiyum’ in 1938. Being a poet, teacher, lecturer, and good human being he was very close to nature. He tought children how to see time without a clock. He relates time with nature. He said those who follow the true God surely stand by them. He wrote many songs on patriotism and social issues. He wrote devotional lyrics as well. He was a man full of sympathy for the poor and downtrodden. He used to forbid people not to fight, not to sacrifice animals for worship and he was very close to animals like cats, dogs, cows, etc. He was a Tamil translator. He used to translate the world’s best work in Tamil. There is some translated work of him – “Light of Asia- as Aasiya Jooti, Life of Buddha, etc. He was attracted to the Gandhian way of life as he used to believe in simple living and high thinking. He used to spin charkha and was promoted to handloom. When Gandhi ji was shot he lamented and wrote a poem in his memory. After the retirement of his teaching career, he worked as a member of ‘Textbook Committee’Trivankore. He worked as a consultant for the Tamil lexicon of Madras University (1926-1936). He was also interested in editing palm leaves, epigraphy, etc. He did research on Palm leaves. His famous research work was ‘kaandullur Saalai. It was published in 1936. He was a regular broadcaster on All India Radio. He entrusted the copyright of all his work to his nephew Kumar Swami Pillai. He donated all his books to the library. He took his last breath on September 20th,1954 at the age of 78. He was a legend of his time. He was the epitome of simplicity and novelty.