CHENNAI: Special issues released during Deepavali each year by Tamil publishing houses have always been greeted by readers for their deft mix of lighthearted and fairly serious menu that are a cut above the usual fare. This year’s Deepavali special numbers — Amudhasurabi, Gopura Darisanam and Tamil nationalist weekly Vijaya Bharatham — do not disappoint their faithful readers.
Very thoughtfully, well known Tamil writer and Editor, Tirupur Krishnan opens up this special issue of Amudhasurabi with the moderately teasing poser, “Has the holy bath in Cauvery over?”
While the traditional way of greeting each other on Deepavali is with the warm poser “Ganga snaanam aachha?” (Dip in the proverbial Ganga Jal over?) early in the morning on the day to remember Lord Krishna vanquishing Narakasura (one reason why Deepavali is known as ‘Naraka Chatur Dasi’), Krishnan has rephrased the rhetorical query with the word ‘Cauvery’, alluding to the painful attitude of neighbouring Karnataka, with whom Tamil Nadu enjoys cultural ties over generations, in not releasing Cauvery waters this year after a deficient Southwest monsoon and despite Supreme court’s order. Amudasurabi, of course, has vignettes from the golden era of Tamil cinema too to give the journal a janaranjini look.
A look at the legendary Tamil writer of historical fiction, Kalki Krishnamurthy’s humour by the writer Tirupur Krishnan, an article on a Hindu temple in Central Indiana in the US by Ms Lakshmi Ramanan, a detailed piece on the life and times, religious and cultural significance of great Vaish navite philosopher-teacher Sri Ramanuja on his 1,000 th birth anniversary by M.N. Srinivasan, a portrait on the key nationalist poets by M. Sreenivasan, reflections on aspects of ‘Saiva Siddantha’ by Dr Siddhalingaiyah, a richly illustrated piece on various aspects of Urthava Thaandava (Dancing Shiva), delightful sketches on musical personalities and last but not lease a touching get-well message for the Chief Minister, J. Jayalalithaa by publisher R.S. Mani, are among the highlights of Gopura Darisanam this year.
On the other hand, Vijaya Bharatham has begun with a homily on the national significance of Deepavali and how Tamil Nadu needs to be turned towards the “national mainstream”. The two volumes of this special issue have a liberal sprinkling of politically reflective essays and articles including one on how “India is showing the way to a changing world” under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The purpose and significance of the RSS have also been dealt with, besides an engaging conversation with the veteran Tamil Nadu BJP leader, Ela. Ganesan, who was recently elected to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh.
Spiritual messages from various religious leaders including the late Kanchi Paramacharya, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi, his holiness the present Jeeyar of Ahobila Mutt, besides an assorted content including short stories, anecdotes, essays on significance of temples, archaeology, South Indian music, and contributions to Tamil literature by various personalities find robust coverage in these specials....