3RD LEAD

Es Po passes away in Australia

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 November 2014, 20:32 GMT]
Veteran Eezham Tamil creative writer, author, translator, columnist, literary critic and publisher S. Ponnuthurai passed away at the age of 82 in Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday. He was popularly known as Es Po. Born in 1932 at Nalloor in Jaffna, Es Po studied at Madras Christian College and at Annaamalai University. Writing nearly for six decades, Es Po was a school by himself in contemporary Tamil literature. His demise creates an irreplaceable vacuum in the literary world of Eezham Tamils. At a time, especially after 2009, when many Tamil academics, intellectuals and writers, thinking of ‘acceptability’ of the Establishments, were opportunistically detractive, evasive or ambiguous in their expressions on the national liberation of Eezham Tamils, Es Po's voice was the foremost in loudly justifying it.

Es Po
Es Po (04 June 1932 - 26 November 2014)
“The identity of Tamils in the island is not Sri Lankan. For over half a century the Sinhala chauvinists constantly staging devil dance tell that the identity belongs only to the Sinhalese. A Tamil who has ancestry in the island has no choice other than claiming for the identity Eezhath-thamizhan in the international arena. If that identity is not there he has neither face nor name,” Es Po wrote in a foreword he gave to a poetry collection published in December 2009.

He strongly condemned the role played by New Delhi in the genocidal war against Eezham Tamils.

He was a pioneer in Eezham and in Tamil Nadu in what is today called Dalit literature, but Es Po never claimed it.

He was a trend setter among Tamil writers and wrote on many topics considered taboo by others at that time. His language was refreshing and excelled in introducing new words and ways of writing in Tamil.

In his orientation he was a Marxist. But, he strongly differed from the Communist Establishments and their outfits of his times.

Es Po was teaching in Eezham and in Nigeria before moving to Australia.

While in Eezham, he was mostly teaching in Batticaloa, where he got married and settled.

Authoring more than 40 books, Es Po also wrote a 2000-page autobiography, “Varalaattil Vaazhthal,” on his times and his literary mission. Collation of his articles and interviews has appeared as a book under the title “Ini Oru Vithi Cheyvoam”.

He was equally at ease in English and has translated novels of some famous African writers when he served as an English teacher in Nigeria.

For many years, he was running a publishing house “Mithra” in Chennai which has brought out many publications of Eezham Tamils. He was a patron, guide and inspiration to many young Tamil writers.


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