Ayyaswami Dakshinamurthy

Prof.A.DakshinamurthyDr. A. Dakshinamurthy is a professor of Tamil, research 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. Meenakshi Sundaram and Mahavidwan S. Dhandapani Desikar. He served as a teacher for 33 years in various institutions in Tamil Nadu, retiring in 1996 as the Principal of Senthamil Arts College, Madurai Tamil Sangam, Madurai.

By his sustained labor since 1987, he has accomplished complete, dependable, accurate and faithful English translations of 19 ancient Tamil classics which include 13 Sangam anthologies  and 6 books from the Patinenkilkanakku division.

Dr. Dakshinamurthy’s unique accomplishments:

  • He has the credit of translating the maximum number of ancient Tamil literature belonging to the Classical corpus.
  • He is the first to achieve the rare feat of translating 13 Sangam Classics in their entirety between the years 1999 to 2012
  • “Akananuru – The Akam Four Hundred”, his magnum opus, published in the year 1999 is the first complete translation of the Sangam anthology Akananuru.
  • As per the Central Institute of Classical Tamil, his “Narrinai Four Hundred” is the first faithful translation of Natrinai. It has included 340 poems from his work in its publication series.
  • “Kuruntokai – An Anthology of Classical Poetry”, which bagged him the Nalli-Thisai ettum award in 2012, is the second complete translation of Kuruntokai after a span of 31 years since the first translation appeared in 1976. The Central Institute of Classical Tamil’s Kuruntokai publication includes 240 poems from his work.
  • 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. Five books are part of the CICL’s edition of Pathuppaattu
  • The six books included in “Patinenkilkkannakku -Works on Akam theme” are the first complete translations of the classics:
    1. Karnarpatu
    2. Ainthinai Aimpathu
    3. Aintinai Elupathu
    4. Tinaimoli Aimpathu
    5. Tinaimalai Nurraimpatu
    6. Kainnilai

    A special feature of this work is he has with illustration, demonstrated the great influence the Sangam classics had on the six books in the collection.

  • He is the first to translate Bharathidasan’s seven narrative poems namely Sancheevi Paruvatthin Saral, Puratchikavi, Kathala Kadamaya, Kadal Mel Kumizhikal, Thamizhachiyin Katthi, Irunda Veedu and Nalla Theerppu
  • He has authored several Tamil books on the history and culture of Tamilnadu. “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 upto the modern era. It is a work of cultural anthropology which is followed as either a text book/ reference book in many universities of Tamilnadu. It is a much sought after book by candidates appearing for IAS and IPS exams.
  • He is the author of two books of commentaries to Sangam classics, Ainkurunuru and Paripadal.
  • He has translated A. S. Gnansampandam’s Sahitya Akademi award-winning book, ‘Kamban Oru Pudhiya Parvai’ into English. Sahitya Akademi published it under the title, ‘Kamban – A New Perspective’ in 2013

Translations of Purananuru, Pathitruppathu, Naladiyar, Thirikadukam, Inna Narpathu, Iniyavai Narpathu, Kalavazhi Narpathu, Naanmanik Kadigai, Thirukkural, Muthollayiram, Vaakundaam Nal Vazhi and Thiruvampaavai are all ready for publication. His goal is to accomplish translating 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 honored him twice. He is the winner of  the prestigious Bharathidasan Award(2003), Nalli-Thisai Ettum Translation award(2012), Kalaignar Porkili Award(2013) and lifetime-achievement awards from several Tamil Sangams and institutions.

This blog is dedicated to his service to the Tamil language. To learn more about him, please go through the various sections of the blog.

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