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City-based poet duo versify annals of Kongunadu through traditional Venba form

Covai Post Network


The story of Kongu region is in verse. Poets B Meenakshi Sundharam and Kavianban Babu have in their work ‘Neerisaiyil Oorisai – Kongumannai Kondada Cellil Solliya Venbaakkal’ traced the history of Kongunadu and have used the difficult verse form of `Venba’ for the poesy.

The 102 four-lined Neerisai Venbas were recorded through phone conversations.

Meenakshi told The Covai Post that he along with Kavianban composed the Neerisai Venbas delving into the history and archaeology of ‘Kongunadu’ recording mobile phone conversations for the last four years.

Stalwarts who experimented with venbas were Thiruvalluvar, Pulavar Pukazhenthi, Avvayar, Kambar and Kalamega Pulavar. After them in 21st century, few others have tried their hand at Venba.

The book was released by Tamil University former Vice-Chancellor C Subramaniam in the city and the first the copy was received by M Coimbatore Government Arts College former principal Singaravadivelu.

In his keynote address, two-time Sahitya Akademi award winner Sirpi Balasubramaniam said that in Tamil ‘Yaappu Illakkanangal’, the most powerful form, is Venba and 1,000 different narrations can be made through it.

He noted that under the influence of literature from outside, poets were using contemporary forms like hykoo in Tamil, giving Venbas and other literary forms a go by. Only people following traditional form can create history and contemporary form cannot stay for long, he added.

Kavianban said many avoided Venba because it was difficult. But it had to be noted that Francis Whyte Ellis, a British Civil Servant of Madras Presidency, wrote Venbas and translated many works, including Thirukkural. A little struggle and such forms can easily continue to stay and become understandable, he added.

His work, he said, would be helpful for people to understand the history of Kongu region and trigger the interest among young minds for the traditional Tamil form. Line drawings were drawn by national award winner Cine Arts Jeeva.

The book explains the origin of place names like Palladam, Vellalore and RS Puram to name a few. The authors even mentioned about the first school, the first woman doctor, the first college, the first mill, creation of the flyover on Avinashi road, the bringing of the Siruvani to city etc. Most of the historical and archaeological information were the result of field visits and direct interaction with people.

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