On November 11, 2013 writer Narasiah, author of Kadalodi and MadrasPattanam, asked me to accompany him to the UVeSaminatha Iyer library in Adayar. I had heard of this library and its collection of palm leaf manuscripts and UVeSa books, but never visited it. It is inside the Kalakshetra campus.
The palm leafs are kept in archives, not accessible to the public, except with special permission, but there is an exhibition of important UVeSa memorabilia in a hall. This includes his diaries, turban, writing materials, titles and honours conferred upon him, and photographs of his parents, mentors such as Meenakshi Sundram Pillai and Thiagaraja Chettiyar.
|Dairy Entry: "Received Sanad"|
At the Library, Narasiah the eighty year old became Narasiah the five year old in a sweet shop. His energy level jumped. Kapilar, Baranar, TipputoLar and Seethalai Saathanaar and Sempulapeineerar coursed through his veins, and the Tamil Thaatha welcomed this childlike Thaatha. He showed me Doctorate conferred by Madras University and the Sanad of Mahamahopadhyaya bestowed on UVeSa by the then Viceroy. The showcase had a copper plate and the writing materials of UVeSa. There were diaries, with handwritten daily notes by UVeSa – with matters both literary and mundane. I saw one dairy entry that merely stated “சன்னது கிடைத்தது [Received Sanad]’ on the day he received the honor from the Viceroy!
|Diary entry - daily life|
|Diary entry - literature references|
|Tagore's Bengali poem on UVeSaminatha Aiyar|
|Tamil Translation of Tagore's Poem|
Mr Narasiah has written an article in this month’s – February 2014 - Kaniyaazhi கணையாழி about this poem by Tagore. Please read it – the magazine is only available online by subscription.
February 19 was his birthday, celebrated with a small function at the library, with a song by Kalakshetra students. They sang Bharathi’s song on UVeSa. Sorry I missed the first couple of lines.