Neela Padmanabhan (A Reader)

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Item Code: NAD206
Author: Prema Nandakumar
Language: English
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 9788126425404
Pages: 480
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.5 inch x 6.0 inch
Weight 920 gm
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
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More than 1M+ customers worldwide
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
23 years in business
23 years in business
Book Description
About the Book

Neela Padmanabhan (b. 1938) shot to fame with his Talaimuraigal (1968), a chronicle of three generations of a Tamil Chettiar family in Iranial with its Malayali ethos. Wielding a felicitous pen both in Tamil and Malnyalam, he is a prolific writer of long and short fiction. Padmanabhan posits a variety of situations drawn from his observation of life around and seeks to pinpoint the social truths arising from them. A master of emotional realism, Padmanabhan’s most recent novel Koondjnuf Pakshjkal (1994) takes us to the caves of dense forests to meditate on the fundamental problems that confront man during his earthly existence. In the course of a very active writing career spanning forty years, he has been able to create scores of unforgettable characters who are now part of Tamil literary consciousness like Diravi, Katyayani, Kathireasan, Bhogi.

Prolificity and popularity, however, have never tempted this creative writer to compromise on his ideals. A fine poet. Translator and essayist, Neela Padmanabhan has won several awards: iuding the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award and also the Sahitya Akademi Award in Translation. His writings have been widely translated into India and European languages.

About the Author

Prema Nandakumar (b. 1939) has a first class academic career in Andhra University and afler her post-doctoral work, became an independent researcher and translator. Her translations of Subramania Bharati’s poems and the Tamil classic, Maniinekalai have won high praise. Her critical studies include Sri Aurobindo‘s Savitri: A Study, T V Kapali Sastri and Kulothungan: A poet of The day and Tomorrow.

Bi-lingual, she has been an intrepid reviewer, journalist and short story writer and has won several awards. During the last forty-five years, the Aurobindonian inspiration has led her to read, write and speak in for a here and abroad, with a commendable sense of balance and a strength of purpose on literature. re1iion and spirituality.


With the publication of Thalaimuraikal in 1968, Neela Padmanabhan Sad arrived in the world of Tamil letters. An intense personality who often resembles a touch-me-not flower Padmanabhan has not allowed prolificacy to come always in the way of quality. The despairing intellectual voice is ubiquitous in his fiction and poetry and is not easily smothered by his own feverish, fast-forward style. Nor has he coated himself with any particular school or ism, allowing his passion .i the moment to shape his structure. Perhaps this has helped him avoid becoming a caricature of himself. Hence, we are now able to cobble together boldly a significant selection for the discerning reader.

While familiarity with a multiplicity of languages is common enough in India, Neela Padmanabhan has gone further and mastered him Tamil and Malayalam wielding them with effective ease. He has en a voracious reader in Tamil, Malayalam and English, but has no time to dig deep in the classics in these languages. This has s been well in a way for him, as no weight of the past in terms: c diction or usage sits on his moving pen to prevent its electrical flow recording what he sees and what he considers to be the inner dimensions of his characters placed in unenviable situations in the course of certain contexts. The tensions brought on by the vestiges f revived tradition regarding social mores on the surface life of the middle class is his subject and he manages to convey the strains very ‘I through a style that is a combination of traditional story-telling Feverish stream-of-consciousness. Indeed, if one seeks a single to convey the theme of his novels, it would be “Disaccord”. Padmanabhan’s triumph lies in his ability to keep on with this theme and show its presence in a variety of situations playing the gamut from a close-knit Tamil family in rural Kerala to the caves of dense forests where man seeks isolation to come face to face with himself. Besides, Padamanabhan has preferred to stay within the conventional module of fiction. Not for him experimentation with techniques, though he could have adventured in unknown pathways thanks to his closeness with the Malayalam language and his life-long interest in English writing. Again, he has remained within the perimeter of what he has seen and experienced, giving a tonal authenticity to his writing. He has mastered the art of photographing familiar situations and so one feels at home reading his fiction. There is never a dull moment.

Padmanabhan’s style that has a touch of the Malayalam milieu has also been a refreshing input for modern Tamil literature. Voices were indeed heard to murmur in the beginning but now the Tamil audience knows what to expect from Padmanabhan and is content to take him on his own terms.

A rough mapping can be done of Padmanabhan’s approach to themes in his fiction, thanks to his own zealous guarding of what he has written and what others have had to say about him. Three phases can be limned easily enough.

Phase I. Neela Padmanabhans recording of his immediate world, of what is happening within the family, during the first two decades of his writing career:

Thalaimuraikal (1968)
Pallikandapuram (1970)
Uravugal (1975)

Phase II. The novelist has moved out of the immediate family environs and it is the world beyond the family which becomes the subject matter. Padmanabhan being a full-time engineer in the electricity department, the men and matters pertaining to the electricity department become the subject-matter for his writings. At the same time, Padmanabhan is holding a parallel career as a writer of fiction, poetry and essays. The people in the writer’s milieu and the state of publishing in India are taken up for critical recordation.

Filekal (1973)
Min Ulagam (1976)
Vattathin Veliye (1980)
Therodum Veethi (1987)

Phase III. Neela Padmanabhan has at last moved into the region on fundamental questions that stare man in the face. It is in these ego’s that Padmanabhan’s talents can produce significant works, which can have a global impact. While his poetry has always had this touch f the eternal quest, it is only during the last ten years that he has been able to anchor it in his fiction.

Koondinul Pakshigal (1995)

Neela Padmanabhan wrote his first novel when he was hardly twenty. Age has never been a bar for creative ecstasy to flash through. Pa1manabhan himself has not been apologetic about Udaya Tharakai, which was published long after he had achieved fame with Thalaimuraikal. The subject is predictably a college romance with plenty of characters and inversions and a tense approach to the mutual traction of the sexes. Though originally titled as Udaya Tharakai morning star) by the novelist, it was serialized under the title Kat hale ON ask Kan Undo in Vanjinaadu during 1972-3, but the narrative ‘‘is cut down heavily when it was published as a book. The author also to snip away quite a good bit of the Malayalam content, which flavors the Tamil spoken in the region. Putting down on paper observations, desires, alnascharisms and disappointments in the form of a full-fledged novel must have given self-confidence to Padmanabhan to explore the possibilities of becoming a writer. He severed early about his flair for writing:

“It was in 1955 that I became fully aware of my talent. I did not think very highly of my literary skills. Nor did I underrate them. They were there; I could not ignore them. The impulse was there, the impulse to catch the beauty and ugliness of life and to bring them out in their struggle for controlling man.”

When seventeen, Padmanabhan saw the mangled remains of a Run over by a lorry. He set down his feelings immediately as ‘ Bathil Illai”. It was published several years later and remains proof i his definite flair for writing. Though an avid reader of good books in spite of the limited time he could scrounge from his office duties, Padmanabhan decided to write only about what he had seen and experienced in person. Not for him a zooming desire to imitate the English writers nor the stultifying weakness of loading his style with the received tradition he had imbibed by reading classics in Malayalam and Tamil. By deliberately not following the style of writers who studiously avoided caste names in an attempt to wish away the ground realities and preferring for himself the methodology of earlier writers like Kalki and Shankar Ram, Padmanabhan has also been holding up the mirror to the contemporary Tamil society with commendable accuracy.

The self-limitation of writing about the milieu with which he was most familiar made a beginning with his immediate family. Tbalazmuraikal is about the Tamil-speaking Chatters of Ernie. The community speaks of an emigration from Tamil Nadu to Kerala area long, long ago from Pusher (Poompuhal or Kaverippoombattinam), the great harbor-city immortalized in the ancient Tamil epic Silappadhikaram. Two lovely girls of their community had been desired by the local king. The girls committed self-immolation and the community trekked to the far south and settled down in the Kanyakumari District, which was once part of the Malayalam-speaking Travancore State.

Thalaimuraikal deals with, three generations of this community in Geranial and the time of action may be placed in the early forties. The author belongs to the community and his clear-toned remembrance of things not long past stamps the narrative with logical realism. There are no sudden shocks or surprises. The original myth keeps coming back as streaks of memory to come to terms with the tragedy of the present. We watch the progress of the action through the childhood, boyhood and youth of Diravi. For this “watching” is Neela Padmanabhan’s critique of his community that holds itself back from progress.


Preface by Prema Nandakumar (Editor) xi
The Generations 3
(Thalaimurakal 1968)
The City Where God Sleeps 16
(Pallikondapurma 1970)
Relations 28
(Uravukal 1975)
The Chariot Street 43
(Therodum Veedhi1987)
Birds in the Cage 50
(Koondinul Pakshikal 1995)
Files 69
(Filekal 1973)
The World of Power 109
(Min Ulakam 1976)
The Journey 178
(Yaathirai Tr. By 1977)
Short Stories
The Incarnation 179
(Nan 1965)
Innocence 202
(Pinchu Ulakam 1966)
War and Peace 210
(Sandaiyum Samadhanamurn 1969)
Reputation 219
(Perumai 1969)
The Third Day 227
(Moondravathu Naal 1969)
The Clock 235
(Kadikaram 1972)
The Crying Child 241
(Uyir 1973)
The Primal Cause 244
(Moolaadharam 1973,)
The Second Face 249
(Irandavathu Mugarn 1973)
Dumb Sorrow 253
(Doornail Thuyararn 1973)
Offering 260
(Naivedyam 1974)
Huttger 267
(Pasi 1974)
Child and God 271
Kushanthaiyum Daivamum (1974)
Social Animal 277
(Samuga Jeevi 1975)
Nagamma 283
(Nagammavaa 1976)
(Erumbukal 1982)
The Eyes 289
(Knkal 1982)
The Ghat 295
(Theertha Kattam 1986)
Erratic 298
(Konalanla 1986)
Twilight 302
(Moovanthi 1986)
Service Record 306
(Udyoga Kaandam 1988)
Sorrow 316
(Sookam 1989)
Tender is the Heart 319
(Nekizhvu 1989)
Reading the Fate of Others 325
(Kaakathai Kanithirunthum 1990)
Grace 329
(Arul 1990)
The Withered Tree 333
(Patta Maram 1991)
Acanto on the Crrematorium 336
(Mayana Kantam 1994)
Birthstone 341
(Kal 1998)
Insanity 346
(AvaravarAntharangam 1998)
Sleep 355
(Thookkam 1967)
Surrender 356
(Sarangagathi 1968)
The Book 362
(Pakkam 1973)
The Ethereal Voice 363
(Asareeri 1973)
The Walkout 363
(Velinadappu 1973)
Plight 364
(Awasthai 1975)
Veena 365
(Venal 1975)
The Door 366
(Kapaaa’am 1975)
Agony 367
(Rothanaj 1975)
Mahabharatha 368
(Maabharatham 1975)
Fruits of Penance 373
(Thavappayan 1976)
Stranger 374
(Anniyan 1980)
Corpse Eater 374
(Pinam Thindri 1981)
Awards 375
(Awardukal 1982)
Assessment 376
(Aayvu 1976)
Death 376
(Mrithya 1976)
Fame 377
(Pukazh 1982 )
Fear 378
(Bhayam 1983)
The Iron 379
(Kodunkolan 1983)
No One There 381
(Kanoom 1983)
Writer's Path 382
(Kuuthikkalam 1984)
Emptiness 383
(Soonya Veli 1986)
Am I a Cowerd? 384
(Naan Enna Kozhaiya? 1989)
Song of Isolation 385
(Viraha Gaanam 1989)
Tamil Fiction Today 397
(Sirzekathaj Nedunkathaj Indru 1974,)
Malayalam in the Context of Tamil Literature 401
(Thmizhum malayalam umh 1981)
Literature and Science 406
(llakkjamurn Vijnanamum 1981)
(The Tamil Novel Since 1947) 411
(Viduthalaikkuppin Thmil novelkal 1982)
Social Change and Post-Independence Novel in
South Indian Languages 414
Viduthal ajkku Pirn’hja Thennjndja mozhj
(novel kalji Samooha Maatram 1989)
South Indian Short Stories 420
(Thennjndja mozhi Sirukathajkal 1993)
Women’s Enslavement and Emancipation in Literature 427
(llakkjathjl Pen zldimaiyurn Pen Viduthalaiyum-1990)
(Neela Padmanabhan. Speaks to Nakulan 1997) 435
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