A. R. Venkatachalapathy

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A. R. Venkatachalapathy
Nationality Indian
Education PhD
Alma mater University of Madras, Madurai Kamaraj University, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Notable works In those days there was no coffee
Chennai not Madras

A R Venkatachalapathy (Tamil: ஆ. இரா. வேங்கடாசலபதி) is a historian, author and translator from Tamil Nadu, India who writes and publishes in Tamil and English. Currently he is a professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS). He is noted for collecting and publishing the works of Tamil writer Pudhumaipithan.[1][2][3][4][5][6]


Venkatachalapathy obtained his B.Com degree from University of Madras in 1987 and his MA in History from Madurai Kamaraj University in 1989. He received his PhD in History from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1995.[1] His dissertation was titled "A Social History of Tamil Publishing, (1850–1938)".[7]


Venkatachalapathy worked in the History Department of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University from 1995 to 2000 and that of University of Madras from 2000 to 2001. Since June 2001, he has been a faculty member of the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS). His main areas of research are social and cultural history of colonial Tamil Nadu.[1] He is best known for collecting and publishing the works of Tamil writer Pudhumaipithan in 2000. In 2000, he published his most noted work Andha kaalathil kaapi illai (Kalachuvadu) in Tamil. Later he published an English Version – In Those Days There Was No Coffee, (Yoda Press, 2006). He currently serves in the advisory board of the Tamil iyal virudhu, an annual award given by Tamil Literary Garden, a Canada based organisation.[8] He also reviews books in The Hindu.[9][10] In 2007, he was awarded the V. K. R. V. Rao prize in Social Science Research. He also writes columns for The Hindu, Frontline, Outlook, India Today, Dinamalar and Kalachuvadu magazine.[11][12][13][14][15][16]

Awards and fellowships[edit]


Books in English[edit]

  • (trans.) Sundara Ramaswamy's J.J : Some Jottings, New Delhi : Katha (2003)[17]
  • (ed.) A. K. Chettiar, In the Tracks of the Mahatma: The Making of a Documentary, Hyderabad: Orient Longman (2006)[18]
  • In Those Days There Was No Coffee: Writings in Cultural History, New Delhi:Yoda Press (2006)[19]
  • (ed.) Chennai, Not Madras: Perspectives on the City, Mumbai: Marg (2006)[20]
  • Kalaikkalanjiyam: the making of the Tamil encyclopaedia, 1947–1968, Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge (2007)
  • (ed.) Love Stands Alone: Selections from Tamil Sangam Poetry (translated by M. L. Thangappa), New Delhi: Penguin Books (2010)[21]

Books in Tamil[edit]

  • (ed.) Pudumaippithan Kathaigal (first volume of chronological and variorum edition of the complete works of Pudumaippithan), Nagercoil (2000)
  • Andha Kalathil Kappi Illai Muthalana Aaivu Katturaigal (collection of research papers on Tamil cultural history), Nagercoil:Kalachuvadu Pathippagam (2000)
  • (ed.) Pudumaippithan Katturaigal (second volume of chronological and variorum edition of the complete works of Pudumaippithan), Nagercoil (2002)
  • Novelum Vasippum: Oru Varalattru Parvai (Early Novels and Reading Practices: A Historical View), Nagercoil (2002).
  • A.K.Chettiar, Annal Adichuvattil (The making of the documentary, Mahatma Gandhi), Nagercoil: Kalachuvadu Pathippagam (2003).
  • Mullai: Oar Arimugam, Chennai:Mullai Pathippagam (2004)
  • (ed.) Pudumaippithan Mozhipeyarppukal (third volume of the chronological and variorum edition of the complete works of Pudumaippithan), Nagercoil (2006)
  • Mucchanthi Ilakkiyam (Popular Literature in Colonial Tamil Nadu), Nagercoil (2004)
  • (ed.), Bharatiyin 'Vijaya' Katturaigal, Nagercoil: Kalachuvadu Pathippagam (2004).
  • (trans.) Thuyarmiku Varikalai Indriravu Nan Ezhutalam (Tamil Translation of Pablo Neruda), Nagercoil:Kalachuvadu Pathippagam (2005)
  • (trans.) Varalaarum Karuthiyalum (Tamil translation of Past and Prejudice by Romila Thapar), Delhi: National Book Trust (2008)
  • (trans.) Bharati Karuvoolam: Hindu Nalithalil Bharatiyin Eluthukal, Nagercoil:Kalachuvadu Pathippagam (2008)


  1. ^ a b c d "Chalapathy – Biography". http://www.mids.ac.in/. Retrieved 20 October 2009. 
  2. ^ Ramanathan, Mu (19 March 2009). "Little known Tamil scholars 5: A. R. Venkatachalapathy". www.thinnai.com. Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
  3. ^ Subramanian, T.S. (30 March 2008). "Early views of nationalist-poet Subramania Bharati". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Guha, Ramachandra (2 February 2008). "GANDHI IN ORISSA – Remembering the most remarkable Indian of modern times". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "Thedi piditha Tamilar (Interview with Venkatachalapathy)", Kumudam (in Tamil), 21 October 2009 
  6. ^ Gopinath (21 December 2008). Neeya? Naana? (T. V. Talk show). Chennai: Vijay TV. 
  7. ^ Vēṅkaṭācalapati, Ā. Irā (2006). In Those Days There was No Coffee: Writings in Cultural History. Yoda Press. pp. xix. ISBN 8190227270, ISBN 978-81-902272-7-8. 
  8. ^ "Judges: Advisory board for Awards Panel". Tamil Literary Garden. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  9. ^ A. R. Venkatachalapathy (30 March 2010). "Understanding Hinduism". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Archived from the original on 9 April 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  10. ^ A. R. Venkatachalapathy (16 October 2007). "Window on pioneering cartoons". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  11. ^ "V K R V Rao Prizes in Social Science Research". Institute for Social and Economic Change. Archived from the original on 3 March 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  12. ^ Guha, Ramachandra (7 November 2004). "The rise and fall of the bilingual intellectual". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 February 2010. 
  13. ^ Anand, S (12 July 2004). "Tamil Is Far Older". Outlook. Retrieved 4 February 2010. 
  14. ^ "A R Venkatachalapathy". Indian Express. 27 August 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2010. 
  15. ^ Subramanian, T. S. (23 December 2005). "Net search throws up documentary on Gandhi". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 4 February 2010. 
  16. ^ Subramanian, T. S (5 December 2004). "Bharati's Tamil daily Vijaya traced in Paris". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 6 April 2010. 
  17. ^ Dasgupta-Mahadevan, Uma. "The Great Indian Novel". Indian Express. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  18. ^ La. Su. Rengarajan (20 March 2007). "Documentary on Gandhiji". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  19. ^ Shiv Viswanathan (3 April 2006). "The Kaapi Cats". Outlook. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  20. ^ S. Theodore Baskaran (16 December 2006). "Madras to Chennai". Frontline. Archived from the original on 24 March 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  21. ^ Venkatachalapathy, A. R (7 March 2010). "When the bees sing". The Hindu (Chennai, India: 7 March 2010). Retrieved 5 April 2010.