Updated: Sep 12, 2021
HAIKU IN TAMIZH editor and translator: A. Thiagarajan
The great Subramanya Bharathi brought haiku to the attention of the Tamizh public through
an article he wrote in Swadesamitran in its 16th October 1916 issue. K. S. Venkatramani in his book Paper Boats (1925) wrote:
the corners cut
I float again
This is perhaps the first-ever haiku written by a Tamizh, though Venkatramani himself
does not claim so. Sujatha in 1966 and C. Mani in in 1968 translated and published some
Japanese haiku for the Tamizh literary magazines Kanaiyaazhi and Nadai. The period 1970– 74 saw Abdul Rahman and Amudha Bharathi bring haiku sensibility further forward along the
Tamizh horizon. The period from 1984– 1993 saw about 22 books in Tamizh on haiku. The period since 1994 is significant for Tamizh haiku as more than 14 books were published during this time. This was followed by approximately of 6 to 15 books each year up to 2002.
Answering the question “what is haiku?” in India Today, Sujatha (easily the most popular
among Indian writers) says,
In 1998, a haiku collection of Amudha Bharathi was given an award for the best Tamil
poetry collection by the Government of Tamil Nadu.
udainthu pona broken mirror pieces
kannaadi in which one
ethil naan do I find myself?
pagalil sooriyan the sun at daytime
iravil nilaa and the moon at night
thanga orey kinaru one well bears both
neeril nanaintha kuruvi the wet sparrow
siragu ularthum dries its wings
manalengum mazaiththuli all over the sand specks of rain
ottiyullathu sticking still
kai kazuviya pinnum even after washing my hands
amma kai manam mother’s hand fragrance
padiththu mudikkavillai not yet finished paada noolai - vilakku studying the text book karuththu vittathu the lamp turns black —Erode Tamizhanban In the olden days, oil lamps were used. When the oil or kerosene gets over, the wick begins to burn, blackening the glass which covers the lamp.