Jeyamohan

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Jeyamohan
Born (1962-04-22)22 April 1962
Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, Literary Critic, essayist
Language Tamil, Malayalam
Nationality Indian
Period 1985–present
Genre Fiction, Non-fiction,
Subject Indian Philosophy, Literature, History
Notable works Vishnupuram
Pin Thodarum Nizhalin Kural
Kotravai
Kaadu
Naveena Thamizhilakkiya Arimugam
Aram
Spouse Arunmozhi Nangai
Children Ajithan, Chaitanya
Website
www.jeyamohan.in

B. Jeyamohan (also credited as Jayamohan; born 22 April 1962) is a noted Tamil and Malayalam writer[1] and literary critic from Nagercoil in Kanyakumari District in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

He entered the world of Tamil literature in the 1990s, Jeyamohan has had impacted the Tamil literary landscape as it emerged from the post-modern phase. His best-known and critically acclaimed work is Vishnupuram, a deeply layered fantasy set as a quest through various schools of Indian philosophy and mythology. His other well-known novels include Rubber, Pin Thodarum Nizhalin Kural, Kanyakumari, Kaadu, Pani Manithan, Eazhaam Ulagam, and Kotravai. His writing is heavily influenced by the works of humanitarian thinkers Leo Tolstoy and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Drawing on the strength of his life experiences and extensive travel around India, Jeyamohan is able to re-examine and interpret the essence of India's rich literary and classical traditions.

Since 1994, Jeyamohan has conducted literary meetups and writers' conclaves in Kutraalam,Ooty, and Thirparappu that have enabled discussions and exchanges of ideas between Tamil and Malayalam literary spheres. In 2009, his readership circle set up the Vishnupuram Ilakkiya Vattam to develop the level of literary awareness in Tamil Nadu, and to shine light on under-recognized pioneers of modern Tamil literature.

Jeyamohan's output includes nine novels, ten volumes of short-stories/plays, thirteen literary criticisms, five biographies of writers, six introductions to Indian and Western literature, three volumes on Hindu and Christian philosophy and numerous other translations and collections. He has also collaborated on screenwriting for three Malayalam and three Tamil movies .Though his literary works in Malayalam are very few when compared with the volume of his works in Tamil, he is off late concentrating in writing scripts for Malayalam Movies also. Being a Malayalee by birth and having been brought up in the bilingual (Malayalam and Tamil)culture of Kanyakumari District, he, like in Tamil, is at ease in Malayalam also. Ozhimuri, the Malayalam film penned by him got much critical acclaim.The film depicted the lives of Nair families in the present day Kanyakumari District.

In 2012, when the Tamil weekly Ananda Vikatan published top 10 book recommendations from noted authors, 6 out of 10 have recommended Jeyamohan's Aram short story collection.

Besides these, Jeyamohan writes on his website, with more than five thousand entries on topics ranging from Indian literature to commentary on contemporary India. Jeyamohan uses his website to continuously engage in a dialogue with his audience and participatively develop ideas and axioms.

Biography[edit]

1962–1991[edit]

Jeyamohan was born on 22 April 1962 in a traditional (erstwhile Southern Travancore) Nair Family in Arumanai of Kanya Kumari District, Tamil Nadu, to S.Bahuleyan Pillai and B.Visalakshi Amma. Bahuleyan Pillai was an accounts clerk in the Arumanai registrar's office. Visalakshi Amma hailed from a family of intellectuals and trade-unionists – Jeyamohan considered her equal to Saraswati in learning and erudition. Jeyamohan's siblings were an elder brother and a younger sister. Bahuleyan's family followed him around on his work-related transfers throughout southern Kerala and the Nanjil Kanyakumari district that straddles the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Jeyamohan's adolescence was spent in voracious reading and absorbing the richness of the culture around him. His first publication during schooldays was in Ratnabala, a children's magazine, followed by a host of publications in popular weeklies.

After high-school, Jeyamohan was pressured by his father into studying commerce at the Pioneer Kumarasamy College in Nagercoil. It was a period of tremendous inner-conflict and depression, and the suicide of his childhood friend Radhakrishnan finally drove him to leave home on spiritual quests. He sought to become a Sanyasi and travelled through the holy places of India, like Benares,Tiruvannamalai and Palani. Supporting himself through odd-jobs and living the life of an ascetic wanderer, he was constantly on the move internally and externally. Some of his experiences during this time find expression in Eazhaam Ulagam, about humanity at the raw edges of society. By this time, Jeyamohan had joined and left the Hindu nationalist organisation, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh. He took up a temporary job at the Telephones department in Kasargode, and stayed at the trade-union commune where he started to examine Leftist ideals.

His correspondence with senior Tamil writer Sundara Ramasami started during this period, and it developed into a strong bond that lasted till Ramaswamy's death. Sundara Ramaswamy was based in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu and had blazed the trail of modernism in Tamil literature. His mentorship groomed Jeyamohan into complex literary analysis and developing his own narrative with unflinching integrity. However, the suicides of his mother and father back home made him a nervous wreck. Reading and writing were the only sources of comfort in a life of isolation and depression. Every few months, he travelled all over India constantly seeking new experiences. Encouraged by Malayalam poet Aatroor Ravi Varma, who sensitised him to the delicate balance between art and life, Jeyamohan kept up his dialogue with writers, artists, spiritual thinkers and political philosophers, and was soon starting to get published in literary journals in Tamil and Malayalam.

In 1987, the journal Kollippaavai published his poem Kaidhi ('The Prisoner'). In the same year, Nadhi ('The River) was published in Kanaiyazhi with a critical mention from writer Asokamithran. The journal Nigazh published Bodhi, followed by Padugai ('The Riverbed'). Critics heaped praise on Padugai for its evocative narrative that wove together myths and contemporary visuals. Jeyamohan wrote his first full-fledged novel Rubber in 1988 and then re-edited and published it in 1990. The novel won the Akilan Memorial prize for its path-breaking portrayal of the ecological and sociological impact of rubber cultivation in the South Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Jeyamohan's speech at the awards function was heralded as a defining moment in Tamil literary criticism history, and he further developed those ideas in Novel (1990), an exploration of the art form and its ideologies, and Naveena Thamizhilakkiya Arimugam, a comprehensive introduction to modernist Tamil literature.

Jeyamohan was introduced to Arunmozhi Nangai as a reader, and soon their relationship developed into love, culminating in their marriage in 1991. Son Ajithan was born in 1993 and daughter Chaitanya in 1997. The family's love and support stabilised Jeyamohan, and his writing started reaching newer heights in vision, theme and scope.

1991–present[edit]

Arunmozhi worked in the Department of Posts, and Jeyamohan took up permanent employment with the Department of Telecommunications (later BSNL). The family moved to Dharmapuri, Padmanabhapuram and finally settled down in Nagercoil. During this phase, Jeyamohan commenced work on some of his most complex classical pieces, ideas which had been germinating for almost a decade.

In 1993, Jeyamohan met Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati which proved to be a turning point in his spiritual journey. The dialogues with the Guru opened new views into the body of Indian thought, which culminated in the magnum opus Vishnupuram in 1997.

Jeyamohan continued his frequent travels throughout India as a common man, in order to sustain the integrity of his narrative and to gain intimate knowledge of the fabric that kept the nation together despite the vastness of its size and differences in culture. He is one of the few authors to have travelled and witnessed first-hand regional conflicts, droughts and political problems that underlay issues like Naxalism in tribal areas. His experiences convinced him of the continuing relevance of Gandhian idealism and non-violence as the sensible alternative to naked capitalism and militant socialism.

The leftist in him had been saddened by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and a decade long introspection on the nature of power and self-righteousness found expression in Pin Thodarum Nizhalin Kural in 1999. The novel resonates with audiences even today with its incisive analysis of self-appointed destiny makers and the movements that they create.[2]

Post-2000, Jeyamohan broke new ground in transcending genres and exploring the boundaries of creativity. Kaadu (2003) was an exploration of the forest landscape as a metaphor for lust and the vigor of life.[3] Kotravai (2005) is deemed by the writer as his best work till date in terms of structure and depth. Critics have universally praised it for the latitude it allows for reader's imagination and interpretation.[4][5][6][7]

From 1998 to 2004, Jeyamohan and his friends edited a literary journal named Solputhithu. In 2009, his readership circle created the Vishnupuram Ilakkiya Vattam to broadbase the readership for serious literature in Tamil Nadu and to reward under-recognized pioneers of Tamil literature. The group regularly conducts meetups in Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati's ashram in Ooty. In 2010–11, the group felicitated Tamil writers A Madhavan and Nanjil Nadan.[8] In 2011, the group felicitated Tamil Dalit writer Poomani.

At a time when India was rocked by huge bribery and political scandals,[9] during heated discussions on the nature and purpose of government, Jeyamohan took an opportunity to introspect and re-evaluate his integrity, values and commitment to the position that the humanitarian ideal far surpassed any other ideal as held by scriptures or law. The result was a set of short-stories, titled 'Aram', that explored the high-idealism that is possible in man.[10] The collection hugely resonated with the audience and triggered a wave of appreciation and emotion.[11]

Publishers[edit]

  • Akilan Kannan Puthagalayam, published Jeyamohan's first novel Rubber
  • Sethu Chockalingam, Kavitha Pathippagam, published some of Jeyamohan's early works, and now publishes editions of Vishnupuram
  • Poet Manushyaputhiran, Uyirmmai Pathippagam, published many of Jeyamohan's works till 2009, when the arrangement broke down due to a feud between Jeyamohan and Manushyaputhiran
  • Vasanthakumar, Tamizhini Pathippagam[12]
  • New Horizon Media -Kizhakku Pathippakam
  • Vamsi Books, publisher of 'Aram' short story collection
  • Ezhuthu, Publisher of `Nooru Narkaligal`(short story 2011) and `Vellai Yaanai`(2013novel).

Website[edit]

Jeyamohan had been an active participant in Tamil internet discussion groups like Mayyam, Forumhub and Thinnai.com during the early years of the medium in India. As part of the debates, Jeyamohan produced some of his best essays on literary standards and criticism during this period. Recognizing the possibility of losing some of these important works, Jeyamohan's friend and writer Cyril Alex[13] created the author's website for consolidating the author's works. Over the decade, the website has become an important repository of the author's essays. The author follows an innovative publishing model in which he serialises all new content on the website and allows free access, while simultaneously offering hardbacks and paperbacks through publishers. More significantly, the website allows the author to freely engage in discussions with thousands of readers on the axioms that govern his works and thought.[14] In early 2011, the Vishnupuram Ilakkiya Vattam has created an online moderated discussion group for discussing literature, criticism, art and related topics.[15]

Some of Jeyamohan's most notable articles include topics on the Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement, 'Elephant Doctor' V. Krishnamurthy, and the Dalit visionary Iyothee Thass.

Anna Hazare[edit]

Jeyamohan was one of the first Indian ideologues to write about Anna Hazare. In 2009, Jeyamohan had published a set of essays ('Indraya Gandhi') that examined the continuing relevance of Gandhi's methods and ideals in today's India. As a part of the series, he sought to explain how the next generation of Gandhian leaders like Anna Hazare were continuing to inspire the nation towards achieving true democracy and equality. Jeyamohan had personally visited Ralegaon Siddhi to see Hazare's social movements in action, and he also wrote about Hazare's tireless struggle to get the Right to Information Act passed in the Indian parliament.

Throughout 2011, Jeyamohan continued to write about and support Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement and the Jan Lokpal bill. Rather than focus on the minutiae of the bill itself, Jeyamohan focused readers' attention on the ideology behind Hazare's actions – how he appealed directly to the sense of justice in the common man, his symbolism, and the Gandhian method of achieving the ultimate goal through civil non-violent mass movement without letting up any opportunity to discuss and negotiate with political opponents. Amidst widespread scepticism and slander flamed up by the national and regional media across the political spectrum, Jeyamohan remained rock solid in support of Anna Hazare's movement. By the end of the summer of 2011, Jeyamohan had written close to 60 essays on the topic, many of them in answer to readers who had written in expressing their own doubts and questions. A compendium of translations of the essays can be found in http://thesabarmati.wordpress.com/tag/anna-hazare/

Yaanai Docter (The Elephant Doctor)[edit]

Having grown up in the Kerala-Nanjl Nadu milieu, Jeyamohan constantly explores the deep symbolism and majesty of elephants in the Indian forest landscape. His works like 'Kaadu' and 'Mathagam' feature elephants in central roles, while his biographical and travel essays capture the centrality of nature, ecology and conservation to the Indian way of life. One such true-life story on the conservationist Dr.V. Krishnamurthy (veterinarian) ('Dr K, the Elephant Doctor') sparked huge interest and discussion among readers on the impact of humans on forest life. Told in semi-fictional form as through the eyes of a forest ranger, the story follows Dr K as, despite having a giant reputation in the naturalist circles, he eschews human accolades and seeks a much more rewarding life in the company of animals in the Indian Forest Department's elephant camps.

Controversies[edit]

Despite taking clear stances, Jeyamohan finds himself at the center of many controversies, possibly due to his outspoken nature and conviction to values.

  • Over the last decade, a few other authors have picked up public feuds with Jeyamohan. The debates that started off on serious topics of literary criticism keeps popping up on the Tamil literary gossip radars, especially with other writers and publishers joining in.[16]
  • In early 2008, Jeyamohan published a satire on Tamil movie icons M G Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan. A popular print weekly, Ananda Vikatan, picked up on this and it resulted in a huge slander and threat campaign against the author.
  • Jeyamohan firmly rejects any notion of offering serious literary status to the works of M Karunanidhi, who he classifies under romantic/historical fiction writers. This raised the ire of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party members.

Awards[edit]

  • Akilan Memorial Prize (1990)
  • Katha Samman (1992)
  • Sanskriti Sammaan (1994)
  • Paavalar Virudhu (2008)
  • Fiction award for 'Kotravai' from The Tamil Literary Garden (2009)
  • Kannadhasan award (2014)

Bibliography[edit]

Fiction[edit]

Novels

  • Rubber(1990)
  • Vishnupuram (1997),
  • Pin Thodarum Nizhalin Kural (1999), inspired by the rise and fall of Nikolai Bukharin, a contemporary examination of power, purpose and morals/righteousness
  • Kanyakumari (2000)[17]
  • Kaadu (2003) (translated into English as The Forest by Janaki Venkatraman)
  • Eazhaam Ulagam (2003)[18][19][20][21]
  • Anal Kaatru (2009)
  • Iravu(2010)
  • Ulogam (2010), The Metal, analysing the psyche of an assassin
  • Vellaiyanai(2013)
  • Venmurasu- Part 1 - Mutharkanal(2014),Book one of the Mahabaratham series
  • Venmurasu- Part 2 - Mazhaipaadal(2014),Book two of the Mahabaratham series
  • Venmurasu- Part 3 - Vannakadal(2014),Book three of the Mahabaratham series
  • Ashokavanam (in progress)

New epic

Short story collections

Plays

  • Vadakkumugam (2004)

Movie dialogue credits[22][23]

Tamil
Malayalam

Literary criticism[edit]

  • Novel (1992)
  • Tharkaala Malayala Kavidhaigal (1992), on contemporary Malayalam poetry
  • Asokamithran Arubathandu Niraivuvizha malar (1993), souvenir volume for writer Asokamithran's sixtieth birthday celebrations
  • Sundara Ramasami Niraivuvizha malar (1994), souvenir volume for writer Sundara Ramasami's sixtieth birthday celebrations
  • Naveena Thamizhilakkiya Arimugam (1998), an introduction to modern Tamil literature
  • Naveenathuvathirku pin Thamizh kavidhai (1999), Post-modern Tamil poetry, with focus on Poet Devadevan
  • Sanga Chittirangal, vignettes from Tamil Sangam poems
  • Merku Chaalaram, introduction to Western literature
  • Munsuvadugal
  • Indraya Malayala Kavidhaigal (2002), on contemporary Malayalam poetry
  • Nedumpathaiyoram (2002), translated compilation of editorials originally published in the Malayalam publications Mathrubhumi and Bashaboshini
  • Ilakkiya Munnodigal Varisai (2003), a collection of seven volumes on pioneering modern Tamil litterateurs[24]
  • Ullunarvin Thadathil (2004)
  • Samakaala Malayala Kavidhaigal (2005), on contemporary Malayalam poetry
  • Ilakkiya Uraiyaadalgal Pettigal (2005), interviews and dialogues with modern Tamil writers
  • Aazhnathiyai Thedi (2006)
  • Eezha Ilakkiyam Oru Vimarsana Paarvai (2006), criticism of Eelam literature
  • Kanneerai Pinthodardhal (2006)Following the trail of tears, a review of 22 Indian novels
  • Kamandala Nadhi – Nanjilnadan Padaippulagam (2007) – on Tamil writer Nanjil Nadan
  • Ezhudhum Kalai (2008) – The art of writing
  • Puthiya Kaalam (2009)
  • Kadaitheruvin Kalaignan (2010) – on Tamil writer A Madhavan

Non-fiction[edit]

Philosophy & religion

Politics/political science

  • Saatchi Mozhi (2008), discourses on politics
  • Indraya Gandhi (2009), treatise on the continuing relevance of Gandhi and Gandhian principles

Culture/history

Memoirs/biographies

  • Su.Ra Ninaivin Nathiyil – on his mentor Sundara Ramasami
  • Logi (Logithadas Ninaivu) (2008) – on Malayalam filmmaker Lohithadas

Life/experience

  • Vaazhvile Oru Murai
  • Nigazhdhal Anubavak Kurippugal (2007)
  • Je Chaitanyavin Sinthanai Marabu (2007)
  • Indru Petravai (2008), Notes from the diary

Travel

  • Pulvelidesam (2008), Grasslands, travels in Australia

Children's literature

  • Panimanidhan (2002), The Ice Man

General

  • Nalam – essays on health (2008)

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ramnath, N.S. (6 July 2011). "The Tamil Film Industry's New Storyline". Forbes India. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Mohanarangan, Ka. (May 2000). "Varalaatrin Manasaatchiyai Theendum kural". Vetkai. 
  3. ^ "Kaadu vimarsanam". Kaadu vimarsanam. 
  4. ^ "Kotravai – oru pachonthi paarvai". Kotravai – oru pachonthi paarvai. 
  5. ^ "Kotravai – thittamidalum therchiyum". Kotravai – thittamidalum therchiyum. 
  6. ^ "Kotravai – special issue". Thamizhneyam. January 2008. 
  7. ^ "Kotravai – thamizhin nalloozh". Kotravai – thamizhin nalloozh. 
  8. ^ "Function to felicitate NanjilNadan". Function to felicitate Nanjil Nadan. 
  9. ^ "India Spectrum Scam". India Spectrum Scam. 18 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "Aram: short stories". Aram: short stories. 
  11. ^ "Aram emotions". Aram emotions. 
  12. ^ "Tamizhini Publications". Tamizhini Publications. 
  13. ^ "Cyril Alex". Cyril Alex. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  14. ^ "Jeyamohan.in". Jeyamohan.in. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  15. ^ "Jeyamohan readers discussion forum". Jeyamohan readers discussion forum. 
  16. ^ "On Charu, Uyirmai". On Charu, Uyirmai. 
  17. ^ "Jeyamohan's Kanyakumari – vimarsanam". Kanyakumari – vimarsanam. 
  18. ^ "Jeyamohanin Ezham Ulagam". Jeyamohanin Ezham Ulagam. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  19. ^ "Udaindhu Sidharum Madhapeedangal". Udaindhu Sidharum Madhapeedangal. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  20. ^ "Arulum Porulum". Arulum Porulum. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  21. ^ "Ezham Ulagam". Ezham Ulagam. 
  22. ^ "Writing for cinema yet another...". Writing for cinema yet another... (Chennai, India: The Hindu). 11 July 2010. 
  23. ^ "On writing for movies". Dinamalar. 10 July 2010. 
  24. ^ "Kadavul Ezhuga". Jayakanthan speech. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 

References[edit]