Professor A. Dakshinamurthy

Ayyaswami Dakshinamurthy

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Dr. A. Dakshinamurthy, born in 1938 is a Tamil scholar, writer and a translator of Sangam, medieval and modern Tamil literature into English. He had his initiation and growth in Tamil studies under Tamil luminaries like Dr. T. P. Meenakshisundaran and Mahavidwan S. Dhandapani Desikar. Having served as a teacher for 33 years in various institutions in Tamil Nadu, he retired in 1996 as the Principal of Senthamil Arts College, Madurai Tamil Sangam, Madurai.

The professor is a profound Tamil scholar with rich knowledge of classical Tamil and a clear understanding of ancient Tamil culture and its civilisation. As one who is also proficient in the English language, he has successfully transferred his long experience spanning over 30 years in studying and teaching of Ancient Tamil literature to the field of translation. By his sustained labour since 1987, for the very first time, he has accomplished complete, dependable, faithful and accurate English translation of 19 ancient Tamil classics. Among them, 13 are Sangam works belonging to the Patinenmelkanakku division and 6 are works belonging to the Patinenkilkanakku division.

Apart from his contributions towards popularisation of Classical Tamil through translation, he has authored Tamil books on the history and culture of Tamils. “Thamizhar Nagarikamum Panpaadum”, published in 1973, reprinted several times due to its immense popularity, elaborately deals with almost all the aspects of ancient Tamils from the Sangam age up to the modern era. It is a work of cultural anthropology which is followed as either a textbook/ reference book in many universities of Tamilnadu. It is a much sought after book, by candidates appearing for IAS and IPS exams. ‘Sanga Ilakkiyangal Unarthum Manitha Uravugal’ published in the year 2001, his Ph.D. thesis (1988) deals elaborately with all the kinships dealt with in the Sangam classics based on cultural anthropology.

He is the author of two scholarly books of commentaries to Sangam classics, Ainkurunuru and Paripadal and has published several research papers elaborately dealing with Classical Tamil literature, ancient Tamil Culture, Tamil grammar and more. His contribution to the translation of medieval Bhakti literature and modern Tamil literature are equally significant. He is also a pioneer in propagating Bharathidasan’s works through translation. He has published the translation of seven narrative poems of Bharathidasan’s earliest works.

Dr Dakshinamurthy’s unique accomplishments as a translator:

  • He has the credit of translating the maximum number of ancient Tamil literature belonging to the Classical corpus (19 books). He is the first to achieve the rare feat of translating 13 Sangam Classics in their entirety between the years 1999 and 2012. Several are the first complete translation of the classical works ever published namely, Akananuru (1999), Karnarpatu, Ainthinai Aimpathu, Ainthinai Elupatu, Tinaimoli Aimpathu, Tinaimalai Nurraimpatu and Kainnilai (2010)
  • His translation of Natrinai in 2001 is the first faithful translation of the Sangam anthology.
  • His translation of Kuruntokai is the second complete translation made available after a span of 31 years in 2007 since the first appeared in 1976. It is also considered the first error-free translation of the anthology.
  • He is the second scholar to translate all of the ten books of Pathuppaattu in the year 2012, after a wide gap of 66 years, since the first work appeared in 1946
  • He had edited the translated texts of Pathuppaattu in favour of the Central Institute of Classical Tamil, after perusing 36 texts available both in verse and prose
  • Until 2012, the published works of Dakshinamurthy contain 5175 metrical lines of Classical poetry
  • He has given the first complete translation of seven works by the revolutionary poet Bharathidasan namely, Sancheevi Paruvatthin Saral & Puratchikavi (1990), Irunda Veedu (2001), Nalla Theerppu (2005), Kathala Kadamaya, Kadal Mel Kumizhikal, Thamizhachiyin Katthi (2006)

Translations of Purananuru, Pathitruppathu, Naladiyar, Thirikadukam, Inna Narpathu, Iniyavai Narpathu, Kalavazhi Narpathu, Naanmanik Kadigai, Thirukkural, Muthollayiram, Vaakundaam Nal Vazhi and Thiruvampaavai, Thiruppavai are all ready for publication. His goal is to accomplish the translation of the entire collection of Tamil classical literature into English.

Professor Dakshinamurthy has won several awards for his contribution to the cause of Tamil. The Government of Tamilnadu has honoured him twice. He is the winner of the prestigious Bharathidasan Award(2003), Nalli-Thisai Ettum Translation award(2012), Kalaignar Porkili Award(2013), G. U. Pope translation award(2017) and lifetime-achievement awards from several Tamil Sangams and institutions.

To learn more about him and his works, please go through the various sections of the blog. Interested Publishers can contact him at adakshinamurthy@gmail.com

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