Papanasam Sivan







  Gangai Amaran




 Na.Muthu Kumar





(24 June 1927 ? 17 October 1981) was a famous Tamil poet and lyricist, who lived in Tamil Nadu, India. He is frequently called kavi arasu Kannadasan (kavi arasu means 'king of poets' in Tamil language).He was born in small village by name Sirukudalpatti near karaikudi. He wrote thousands of popular songs for Tamil cinema. He won the Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize for his novel Cheraman Kadali in the year 1980.

His given name at birth was Muthiah. However, when he passed away at the age of 54, on October 16, 1981, millions of Tamils remembered him only by the name Kannadasan. For Tamils all over the world, he epitomised their poetry style. Even those who couldn't read the poetry of Kamban or the maxims of Valluvan, could hum the compositions of poet Kannadasan.

A number count of his publications shows a tally of 109 volumes, which include 21 novels and 10 slim volumes of essays on Hinduism, captioned Arthamulla Indu Matham (Meaningful Hinduism). In addition, he produced about 4000 poems and approximately 5000 movie lyrics, between 1944 and 1981, all with an eighth grade education at the formal level. He was also an excellent example of this century's Tamil goliard.

There is no doubt that he had a penetrating eye and keen observational powers. He also did not live a cocoon-type of life. He dipped into everything that Tamil Nadu could offer - wine, women, drugs, politics, polemics, atheism and religious sanctuary. After enjoying everything, what he did was remarkable - he composed verses about all his experiences, with reflective self-deprecating humour, irony, and biting sarcasm. These verses touched the sympathetic chords of Tamils from all walks of life - school boys, undergrads, housewives, farmers, manual labourers, plantation workers, middle class representatives and even upper class elites.

Atheism to Hinduism

Muthiah was a staunch atheist and a follower of the Dravidian atheistic movement. He had great love for the Tamil language and culture, and excelled in Tamil literature, prose and poetry. He once read the Thiruppavai of Andal, and was amazed at its mystic poetry, that was to have a deep and everlasting impact on him. After a lot of introspection, he decided to reconvert back into Hinduism, christened himself Kannadasan, dug deep into understanding Hinduism, and wrote his series of books on Hinduism.

"Yesu Kaviyam," the epic on the life of Jesus Christ was the last book written by the late Tamil poet laureate, Kannadasan

Poets laureate

Kannadasan was a poet Laureate when he died.

A house in Sirukootalpatti is now a memorial for the Tamil film music's evergreen favourites. The Kannadasan memorial museum was inaugurated on June 25.


Personal Details:


24 June 1927, cirukUdalpatti


Caathappan and Visaalakshi

Given name


Brothers and Sisters



Elementary School at cirukudalpatti, High school at Amaravathi pudur,
upto 8th Std.

First job

Thiruvattiyur, Ajax Company

Literary job

1944 as Editor of "Thirumakal"

First poetry

in 1944; 1945-46 Film Music, Editor 'mEthAvi'; 1949 Editor 'candamArutham'; 1949 training in film field

first song

1949, Film-kanniyin kAdali, song -kalangkAthiru manamE


1949 D.M.K member of the early days


1950 Ponnazhagi-Parvathi

First literary work

'mAngkani', written while in prison (1952-53 Dalmiapuram name change protest)

story, dialogue

'illaRa jyothi' in 1952 while in jail

First newspaper

1954 'thenRal', then 'thenRal thirai', caNdamArutham (twice monthly); 1956 - 'mullai' literary monthly


1957 Lost in the II General Election contest from ThirukOzhtiyUr constituency, representing DMK.

Film Production

1957 'mAlaiyitta mangkai'; 1958-59 'civakangkai ceemai', 'kavaiyillAtha manithan'

Change in Politics

1960-61 Leave DMK party, start 'thenRal' daily

New Party

Tamil Nationalist Party under the leadership of Sampath; 'thenRal thiRai' daily start; 1962-63 join Congress

Again Films

'vAnampAdi'; 'iraththath thilakam'; 'karuppup paNam'


1970 to Russia; to Malaysia in 1971, 1975; to USA in 1981


Received best song composer award from the state and central government; State Poet 1978; Sakitya Academy Award in 1979 for 'cEramAn kAthali'; Annamalai Memorial Award 1979 for Best Poet

Last Days

Travel to Chicago on 24th July 1981 for health reasons; died on 17 Oct 1981; body brought to Madras on 20 Oct 81, last rites on 22 Oct 81 with full government honours

pen names

kAraimuthup pulavar, vaNangkAmUdi, kamakappriyA, pArvathinAthan, Arokkiyacami


Epics, storys, essays, poems, drama, biography totalling 105. Many yet to be published; composed over 5000 film songs


2 wifes, 9 sons and 5 daughters

Literary Contributions - Novels

aval oru inthup peN (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
civappukal mUkkuththi (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
raththa pushpangkaL (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
swarna caraswathi (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
nadantha kathai (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
micA (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
curuthi cErAtha rAkangkaL (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
muppathu nALum powrNami (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
kadal koNda thennAdu (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
arangkamum antharankamum (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
Ayiram thIvu angkayarkanni (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
theivath thirumaNangkaL nAtakam (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
AyirangkAl maNdapam (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
athaivida rakaciyam (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
kAthal koNda thennAdu (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
oru kavingnanin kathai (ponni ulakam, chennai, 1978; kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
cingkAri partha cennai (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
vElangkattiyUr vizha (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
viLakku mattumA civappu (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
vanavAcam (vanathi pathipakam,chennai, 1981)
athaivida irakaciyam (vanathi pathipakam, chennai, 1981)
pirunthaavanam (vaanathi pathipakam, chennai, 1994)

Literary Contributions - Essays

kadaicip pakkam (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
pOi varukirEn
anthi, canthi, arthajAmam
nAn pArtha araciyal (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
eNNangkaL 1000
thalaiyangkangkaL (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
vAzhkai ennnum cOlaiyilE
kudumba cukam
ilakkiyaththil kAthal
thOttaththu malarkaL
ilakkiya uththangkaL (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
pOi varukirEn (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)

Literary Contributions - Biography
enathu vacantha kAlangkaL
enathu cuyacaritham (ponaruvi pathipakam,chennai, 1978; kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)

Literary Contributions - Religious Works

arththamuLLa inthu matham, in 10 parts
thunpangkaLilirunthu viduthalai
NYAnam pirantha kathai
nenjukku nimmathi/arththamuLLa inthumatham 6 (kannadaasan pathipaham, chennai, 1992)
cukamAna cinthanaikaL
pOkam, rOkam, yOkam/arththamuLLa inthumatham 8 (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
jnaanaththai thEdi/arthamuLLa inthumatham 9 (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
unnaiE nI arivAy
ambikai azhaku tharicanam
pon mazhai
cangara pokkisham (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)

Literary Contributions - Commentaries

abirAmi anthAthi
thirukuRaL kAmaththupAl -urai
kULappa nAyakkan kAthal
bhavadgita - commentary
thiruppAvai - commentary
muththoLLAyiram - commentary
kAmacAsthiram - commentary

Literary Contributions - Poetry

kaNNadAcan kavithaikaL - 6 vols (vaanathi pathipakam, chennai, 1975)
film songs - 2 vols.
thirai icai paadalkaL (vaanathi pathipakam, chennai, 1988)
paadik koduththa mangalangkaL (vaanathi pathipakam, chennai, 1991)
sri kirushNa kavacham (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
avaLukkaaka oru pAdal (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)
curuthi cErAtha raakangkaL (kannadaasan pathipakam, chennai, 1992)

Literary Contributions - Plays

anArkali (vaanathi pathipakam, chennai, 1994)
civakangkaic ceemai
rAja thaNdanai

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