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'Kaviarasu' Kannadasan
Born A. S. Muthiah Chettiar
(1927-06-24)24 June 1927
Sirukoodalpatti, Karaikudi Taluk, Madura district, Madras Presidency, British Indian Empire (modern-day Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu, India)
Died 17 October 1981(1981-10-17) (aged 54)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Pen name Karaimuthu Pulavar
Parvathi Nathan
Arokkiya Saamy
Occupation Poet, novelist, lyricist, politician, film producer, literary editor
Nationality  Indian
Citizenship  British India (1927-1947)
 India (1947-1981; his death)
Education 8th grade dropout
(passed Tamil Pulavar course)
Notable works Artthamulla Indumadham
Yesu Kaaviyam
Notable awards National Film Award for Best Lyrics
1961 Kuzhanthaikkaga

Sahitya Academy Award
1980 Cheraman Kadali
Spouses Ponnazhagi (Ponnammal)
(m. 1950–1981; his death); 7 children
Parvathi (Parvathiammal) (m. 1950–1981; his death)
Children 14, including Gandhi Kannadasan, Annadurai Kannadasan, Dr. Kamal Kannadhasan, Srinivasan Kannadasan, Gopi Kannadasan, Dr. Ramaswamy Kannadasan, Visali Kannadasan, Venkatachalam Kannadasan, Kanmani Subbu, Kalaivannan Kannadasan, and Smt. Revathy Shanmugham
Relatives A. S. Srinivasan Chettiar (brother)
S. Murugan (nephew)
Aadhav Kannadhasan (Grand Son)
  • Sathappan Chettiar (father)
  • Visalakshi (mother)

Kannadasan About this sound pronunciation  (24 June 1927 – 17 October 1981) was a Tamil poet and lyricist, heralded as one of the greatest and most important lyricists in India. Frequently called Kaviarasu or Kavirajar (King of Poets), Kannadasan was most familiar for his song lyrics in Tamil films and contributed around 5000 film lyrics apart from 6000 poems and 232 books,[1] including novels, epics, plays, essays, his most popular being the 10-part religious essay on Hinduism, Artthamulla Indhumatham (Meaningful Hindu Religion). He won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel Cheraman Kadali in the year 1980 and was the first to receive the National Film Award for Best Lyrics, given in 1969 for the film Kuzhanthaikkaga.[2]

Religious Views

Muthiah was a staunch atheist and a follower of the Dravidian atheistic movement. He had a great love for the Tamil language and culture, and excelled in Tamil literature, both prose and poetry. He read the Thiruppavai of Andal, and was amazed at its mystic poetry, which was to have a deep and lasting impact on him. After a lot of introspection, he decided to convert back to Sanatana Dharma. He renamed himself as Kannadasan, meaning the servant of Lord Sri Krishna (In Tamil Kannan means Krishna and in Sanskrit, Dasa means servant), as he had become a Vaishnava Hindu. There is another train of thought that the kanna in his adopted name doesn't refer to the Hindu God, but to Jalagandapuram Kannan, his mentor. He dug deep into understanding Sanatana Dharma, and wrote his series of books on Sanatana Dharma titled Artthamulla Indhu Matham. He was born in the village of Sirukoodalpatti, which is near Karaikudi, belonging to a merchant community known as Nattukottai Nagarathar Vaishya.[3][4]


Kannadasan's greatest contribution to Tamil culture is his songwriting. Before Kannadasan, many lyricsists like Papanasam Sivan, Kambadasan, Vindhan, A. Maruthakasi, and Ku. Ma. Balasubramaniam were sought after in the Tamil music industry, but after the advent of Kannadasan, the scene changed. He quickly became the most sought after lyricist in the industry and remained so until his death. Kannadasan was so popular that though there were many excellent poets like Vaali, Pulamaipithan, Alangudi Somu, Avinasimani, Panchu Arunachalam and Jayakanthan during that period, their hits are wrongly considered by many Kannadasan fans as songs written by him.[citation needed] Though, after his death, film lyrics have come a long way from Vairamuthu to Tamarai, many people still consider Kannadasan to be the best songwriter.[citation needed] He is considered to be the greatest modern Tamil poet after Subramanya Bharathi.[citation needed]

He was the producer of the historic Tamil film Sivagangai Seemai portraying the pioneers of the Indian freedom struggle "Marudhu Pandaiars". The song "Santhupottu" from that film remains popular.

Notable novels

  • Aval oru hindhu pen (1992)
  • Sivappukal mukkuththi (1992)
  • Swarna saraswathi (1992)
  • Nadantha kathai (1992)
  • Mica (1992)
  • Suruthi ceratha rakangkal (1992)
  • Muppadhu nalum pournami (1992)
  • Arangamum antharankamum (1992)
  • Ayiram thIvu angkayarkanni (1992)
  • Theivath thirumanangkal natakam (1992)
  • Ayirangaal mandapam (1992)
  • Athaivida rakasiyam (1992)
  • Kathal konda thennadu (1992)
  • Oru kavingnanin kadhai (1978)
  • Singkai partha chennai (1992)
  • Velangkattiyur vizha (1992)
  • Vilakku mattuma sivappu (1992)
  • Vanavasam (1981)
  • Athaivida ragasiyam (1981)
  • Birunthaavanam (1994)
  • Cheraman Kathali
  • Sandhithen Sindhithean
  • Yesu kaviyam
  • Arthamulla Hindhu Matham


  • Enathu Suyasaritham
  • Enathu Vasantha Kaalangal
  • Vanavasam
  • Manavasam

Selected filmography


  1. Singari (1951)
  2. Aayirathil oruvan
  3. Mannadhi Mannan
  4. Thaai Sollai Thattadhe
  5. Thaayai Kaatha Thanayan
  6. Paasam
  7. Karuppu Panam
  8. Panathottam
  9. Periya Idathu Penn
  10. Dharmam Thalaikakkum
  11. Ananda Jothi
  12. Neethikkupin passam
  13. Kudumbathalaivan
  14. Kaanchi Thalaivan
  15. Parisu
  16. Vettaikaran
  17. Panakkara Kudumbam
  18. Thiruvilayadal
  19. Saraswathi Sabatham
  20. Pattikada Pattanama
  21. Urimaikural
  22. En Kadamai
  23. Nadodi
  24. Thanga Pathakkam
  25. Paasa Malar
  26. Moondram Pirai
  27. Iruvar Ullam
  28. Dheerga Sumangali
  29. Aalayam
  30. Annai
  31. Naanum Oru Penn
  32. Pazhani
  33. Varumayin Niram Sivappu
  34. Billa (1980)
  35. Thee


Onscreen appearances

Poet laureate

Kannadasan was the poet Laureate of the Tamil Nadu Government at the time of his death. He wrote two notable autobiographies, titled Vanavasam, a book about his past life whilst he was atheist, with the DMK and a sequel, titled Manavasam a book about his life after he had left DMK

His contribution to Tamil literature

Kannadasan was a prolific writer and his writing covered a variety of forms- poems, novels, lyrics for Tamil films and books on spirituality. His series titled Artthamulla Indu Matham (Meaningful Hindu Religion) is known for its simplicity in explaining the principles of Hinduism. He wrote a number of spiritual works in the later part of his life including Yesu Kaviyam the story of Jesus told in the poetic form. Many of Kannadasan’s poems have been translated into French.[6]

He wrote and published several volumes of poetry. He was an admirer of Kambar, and wrote a number of poems praising Kambar's artistry, contrary to the satire ("Kambarasam") on the same by C.N.Annadurai. He also spoke at several of the Kambar festivals. He sang the beauty of Seethai's gait and the shoulders of Rama; he spoke of beauty intoxicating and dropped me in a vessel of amrut (liquour)" This is one of Kannadasan's tribute to the poet Kambar.

He wrote a book about the life of Jesus Christ "Yesu Kaaviyam" rendered in a pristine poetical Tamil. It was published at Trichirapalli in the year 1981. The function was presided over by the then chief minister of Tamilnadu Mr. M.G. Ramachandran. Yesu Kaaviyam was the last literary work of Kannadasan.


Kannadasan died on 17 October 1981 in Chicago, United States, where he had gone from India to attend a Tamil conference organised by the Tamil Association of Chicago. He was aged just 54 at the time of his death.[7] The song "Kanne Kalaimane" from the film 'Moondram Pirai', released a few months later, was his last song.


The Government of Tamil Nadu erected a memorial hall as "Kaviarasar Kannadasan Manimandapam" at Karaikudi.[5] The road adjoining Natesan Park in T.Nagar, Chennai is named "Kannadasan Road" in his honour.


  1. ^ "About Us". Kannadasanpathippagam.com. Retrieved 2016-12-05. 
  2. ^ Dhananjayan, G. (2014-11-03). PRIDE OF TAMIL CINEMA: 1931 TO 2013: Tamil Films that have earned National and International Recognition. Blue Ocean Publishers. 
  3. ^ "nattukottai chettiar". Nattukottaichettiar.blogspot.in. Retrieved 2017-08-28. 
  4. ^ Nagarathar Heritage (2017-04-03). "Kannadasan Biography | Kaviarasu | Sirukoodalpatti". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-08-28. 
  5. ^ a b "KAVIARASAR KANNADASAN MANIMANDAPAM". Tndipr.gov.in. Retrieved 2016-12-05. 
  6. ^ Krishnamachari, Suganthy. "Kannadasan's lyrics held a mirror to life". The Hindu. Retrieved 2016-12-05. 
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 

[1] http://www.localnewspaper.in/gallery/gandhi-kannadhasan/

  1. ^ Gandhi Kannadhasan
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