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Tamil Scholar U.V. Swaminatha Iyer Biography

swaminathan iyer

Uttamadhanapuram Venkatasubbaiyer Swaminatha was a Tamil scholar born on 13th February in 1855. He was born in Uthamadhanpuram, near Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. Iyer published more than 100 books including Tamil Classic, Poems, devotional books, etc. He wrote many important books from classical Tamil literature which were very underrated. He understood the importance of such books and brought them to light.

U.V. Swaminatha was the major reason behind the enrichment of Tamil literature. His essential contribution lead to the growth of Tamil literature for which he is seen as a legend in today’s world. His efforts to make Tamil literature are still remembered by the world. Iyer learned Tamil literature from Mahavidvan Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai, a great poet, and scholar.

His Academic Career

Swaminatha was a very devoted student that is the reason why he could bring a change to Tamil literature. He also gathered over three thousand manuscripts, palm-leaf manuscripts, and notes of different kinds. He did a lot of research, read many Jain epics so as to give a good conclusion to his books as well as manuscripts. Iyer was determined to do research on original texts of ancient literacy. Swaminathan Iyer retired from teaching in 1919. He actively starred in research work after his retirement. He moved from one place to another in search of original manuscripts so that he could edit them. Iyer was also the principal of the Meenakshi Tamil College in Annamalai University, Chidambaram from 1924 to 1927. He resigned from the post and went to Madras for his research.

His Achievements and Honors

Swaminathan Iyer also got an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Madras in 1906. He was also given the title, Mahamahpathiyaya, meaning: “Greatest of great teachers”. He was also awarded the title of Dakshinathya Kalanidhi in the year 1925. The Madras university also honored the Tamil literature scholar with an honorary Ph.D. in recognition of his contribution towards Tamil literature. U . V Swaminathan published his autobiography, En Saritham which was serialized in Tamil’s weekly Ananda Vikatan from January 1940 to May 1942. His autobiography was published as a book in 1950. The book is in Tamil and consists of 762 pages. The book is very informative and excellent. It talks about the life and times village, mainly in Thanjavur. The book also describes how Iyer went about in his journey of literature.

He was adored by his people and was called ‘Tamil Thatha’ which means “Tamil grandfather”. Another significant contribution by Swaminathan Iyer was in terms of Tamil music. After the publishment of Cilappatikaram, Pattupattu, and Ettuthokai by Iyer, Tamil music became famous in India. Iyer’s published books brought to light  Tamil music. In previous centuries, Tamil and Sanskrit dominated the music in Tamil Nadu.

Tamil scholar’s in Uthamadhanapuram has been converted as a Memorial

About the author

Vrinda Gupta

Hi there! I am on a journey to discover myself. As a result, I enjoy putting myself out there and exploring the intricacies that life offers. Things I have tried and learned from - painting, reading, writing, cooking, teaching, and traveling. I am all set to graduate from the University of Delhi in 2022 with a Bachelors's Degree in Management Studies. Hope you have a good time reading my articles!