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Periyasaami Tooran

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Periyasaami Tooran – Born at Modakurichi in Coimbatore district of Palanivelappa Gounder and Paavaathal, he was a born teacher, patriot and a composer of merit. He was greatly influenced and inspired by Mahakavi Subramania Bharati. He declined to sit for his examination for Bachelor of Arts shocked by the execution of the immortal Bhagat Singh, a prince among patriots by the British. Thooran qualified later passing B.A., L.T. A voracious writer, he composed over six hundred songs on national, spiritual and moral issues. He wote ‘a poem a day’ for several years after his daily poojahs. His song ‘Adu Ratte’ was a clarion patriotic call which was widely in current use during the Freedom Struggle. He became popular and the melody queen N.C.Vasanthakokilam included this piece in her cocnerts invariably. A precocious child and later a man with noble ideals, Thooran is an acknowldeged poet and composer. Analogous to Tyagarajah’s ‘Santhamulekha, Soukyamu ledhu’, Thooran’s ‘Santhamillamal sukham undo?’ (Nattakurinji) stresses that there is no joy without patience and no contentment amidst worries. Deep philosophical truths lay hidden in his simple devotional songs. Musical aesthtics and bhava find abundant evidence in his compositions.

With profound poetic talents, he had to seek like Arunachala Kavirayar outside help to set his songs to tune as he was not a musician. He availed of the services of Sivaramakrishna Ayyar as guru and choreographer. (Sivaramakrishnan was born in 1913 at Mavelikara in Kerala and had joined Sri Ramakrishna Vidyalaya as music teacher in 1937). Thooran had also availed of the services of senior musicians like K.V. Narayanaswamy, T.M. Theagarajan, T.K. Govinda Rao and T.V. Sankaranarayanan to set his songs to music.

Eminent musicians like Tiger Varadachariar, Musiri Subramania Ayyar and Semmangudi Srinivasa Ayyar had spoken highly of his compositions. His songs have been brought out in five volumes titled ‘Isai Mani Manjari’. Annamalai University, Alliance Company, Tamil Isai Sangham and Tamil Writers’ Association have brought out his works. His publications include ‘Thooran Stories’ (1962), ‘Nalla Nalla Paattu’ (1965), ‘Call of the Wild’ and ‘Bharati’ for children.

His claim to fame rests on his memorable contributions to Tamil. he was Chief Editor, Tamil Encyclopaedia during 1948-1978 and the encyclopaedia went into ten huge volumes. The credit for bringing out the first-ever Children’s Encyclopaedia in Tamil in ten volumes also goes to him. His life was one of fulfilment and enduring contribution of intellectual excellence. The moral code of conduct he set for himself was high. When T.S. Avinashilingam Chettiar granted him a salary of Rs.30, he took only Rs.15 per mensem. This reminds one of the former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Sastri, Gottuvadyam Sakharama Rao and Violin Sundaresa Ayyar of Tiruvalangadu and men of such unstained galactic stream.

Posts Held:
Teacher in Bobichettipalayam – 4 years
Warden & Teacher, Sri Ramakrishna Vidyalaya, Perianaickenpalayam – 15 years
Chief Editor, Tamil Encyclopaedia – 1948-1978
Chief Editor, Tamil Kalai Kalanjiam, a prestigious journal

Honours & Titles:
Padma Bhushan by President of India 1968
Isai Perarignar by Tamil isai Sangham 1972
Kalaimamani by TamilNadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram 1970
Annamali Chettiar Award by MAC Charities 1978

Thoorans’s multi-sided interests covered the deliberations and activities of The All India Radio
Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram
Tamil Isai Sangham
Centre of College of Carnatic Music
Tamil Kalluri, etc.

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