Kalki Krishnamurthy

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Kalki Krishnamurthy
Krishnamurthy on a 1999 stamp of India
Krishnamurthy on a 1999 stamp of India
BornRamasamy Aiyer Krishnamurthy
(1899-09-09)9 September 1899
Puthamangalam, near Manalmedu
Died5 December 1954(1954-12-05) (aged 55)
Chennai, India
Pen nameKalki Tamil: கல்கி
Occupationjournalist, critic and writer
EducationHigh School
Alma materMunicipal High School, Mayiladuthurai & National High School, Tiruchi
GenreHistoric fiction, social fiction
Notable worksPonniyin Selvan, Sivagamiyin Sapatham, Thyaga Bhoomi, Parthiban Kanavu, Alai Osai, Kalvanin Kadhali
Notable awardsSahitya Akademi Award for Alai Osai
ChildrenKalki Rajendran
& Anandi Ramachandran

Ramaswamy Krishnamurthy (9 September 1899 – 5 December 1954), better known by his pen name Kalki, was an Indian writer, journalist, poet, critic and Indian independence activist. He chose the pen-name "Kalki", the tenth and last avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu.[1] He founded a magazine, which was also named Kalki, with T Sadasivam being the co-founder, in 1941. Kalki's writings include over 120 short stories, 10 novellas, 5 novels, 3 historical romances, editorial and political writings and hundreds of film and music reviews.

Early life[edit]

Ramaswamy Krishnamurthy was born in a Tamil Brahmin family on 9th September 1899 in Puthamangalam, near Manalmedu, in Mayiladuthurai district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Krishnamurthy's father was Ramaswamy Aiyar, an accountant in Puttamangalam village in the old Tanjore district of erstwhile Madras Presidency. He began his primary education in his village school and later attended Municipal High School in Mayavaram but quit in 1921, just short of completion of his Senior School Leaving Certificate, in response to Mahatma Gandhi's 1921 call for non-co-operation joining the Indian National Congress instead.[2][3]


Historical novels[edit]

Serial Name Setting
2 Parthiban Kanavu (16 October 1941 – 10 February 1943)[4] Pallava Dynasty
1 Sivagamiyin Sapatham (1 January 1944 – 30 June 1946)[5] Pallava Dynasty
3 Ponniyin Selvan (29 October 1950 – 16 May 1954) Chola Dynasty
4 Solaimalai Ilavarasi (1947) The Independence of India

Social novels (Tamil)[edit]

  • Kalvanin Kadhali (1937)
  • Thyaga Bhoomi (1938–1939)
  • Magudapathi (1942)
  • Abalayin kaneer (1947)
  • Alai Osai (1948)
  • Devagiyin Kanavan (1950)
  • Mohini Theevu (1950)
  • Poiman Karadu (1951)
  • Punnaivanathu Puli (1952)
  • Amara Thara (1954)

Short stories[edit]

Serial Name Comments
1 Subhathraiyin Sagodharan
2 Otrai Roja This story is about two strangers – a young man and a young woman – who meet on a train from Tirunelveli to Chennai. The woman is originally from Sri Lanka and the man is from Madras (now Chennai). They have failed in their respective exams and plan to end their life. Things take a different turn from here and all ends well.
3 Theepiditha Kudisaigal
4 Pudhu Ovarsiyar
5 Vasdhadhu Venu
6 Amara Vazhvu
7 Sunduvin Sanyasam
8 Thirudan Magan Thirudan
9 Imayamalai Engal Malai
10 Pongumaangkadal
11 Master Medhuvadai Collection of 5 short stories
12 Pushpa Pallaaku
13 Prabala Nakchatiram
14 Pithalai Ottiyanam
15 Arunachalathin Aluval
16 Parisil Thurai
17 Susila MA
18 Kamalavin Kalyanam
19 Tharkolai
20 S.S.Menaka
21 Saradhaiyin Thandhiram
22 Governor Vijayam
23 Kanaiyazhiyin Kanavu
24 Banker Vinayakarao
25 Tiger King The story revolves around a King whose death at the hands of a tiger had been foretold by astrologers when he was born. He tries to reverse the fate spelled out for him and the author uses thinly-veiled satire to walk the reader through the King's attempts which later prove futile, in a manner that makes them laugh.
26 Punnaivanthupuli
27 Devakiyin kanavan
28 onbathu kulinilam
29 number 888
30 Thiruvazhundhur sivakozhundhu
31 Zamindar Mahan
32 Mayilak kalai
33 Rnagathurkam Raja
34 Idintha kottai
35 Mayilvizhi maan
36 Thappili cup
37 Kethariyin Thaayar
38 Gandhimadhiyin kadalan
39 Srikandhan punarjenmam
40 Paladaindha Bangala
41 Chandramathi
42 Chiranjeevi kadhai
43 Kadithamum kaneerum
44 Vaira mothiram(Kaanama pogaathathu)
45 Veenai Bavani
46 Dhanakodiyin Manoratham

Critical work[edit]

Kalki was also a film and music critic who wrote under the pseudonym Karnatakam.[citation needed] He also penned many lyrics for many songs, most of which were adapted into Carnatic Music.[citation needed]


  • The release of a postage stamp in honour of Kalki was among the highlights of the centenary celebrations. Government of Tamil Nadu announced the nationalisation of Kalki's works, this will enable publishers to come out with reprints of his works.
  • Kalki Krishnamuthy received the Sangeetha Kalasikhamani award conferred on him by The Indian Fine Arts Society in 1953.


Kalki died in Chennai on 5 December 1954 aged 55 years from tuberculosis. Kalki magazine's special issue dated 5 December 1954 (the day he died) for Annai Sarada Devi was his last editorial work. The magazine shared the information that his health was improving prior to his demise.[6]

Biographies of Kalki[edit]

  • Ponniyin Puthalvar by Sunda[7][8]
  • Amarar Kalki
  • Oray Roja

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Room, Adrian (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 assumed names and their origins (5 ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: Macfarland. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-7864-4373-4. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  2. ^ Viswanathan, S. (9 October 1999). "Renaissance man". Frontline. The Hindu group. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  3. ^ Anandhi, K. "Kalki – the man behind the legend: An intimate portrait by his daughter K. Anandhi". ChennaiBest.com. Indias-Best.Com Pvt Ltd. Archived from the original on 14 April 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  4. ^ Vaiko (March 2009). "'சிவகாமியின் சபதம்' வைகோவின் இலக்கியச் சொற்பொழிவு" ['Śivagāmiyin Śapathaṁ' Vaiko's literary speech]. Literary (in Tamil). Chennai: Marumalarchi DMK.
  5. ^ Vaiko (March 2009). "பொன்னியின் செல்வன் புகழ்விழா தில்லி 21.12.2007" [Poṉṉiyin Selvan Glory festival Delhi 21 December 2007]. Literary (in Tamil). Chennai: Marumalarchi DMK.
  6. ^ Sri Ramakrishna Vijayam December 2014 page 36,37
  7. ^ Sundaram, MRM (1999) [1976]. Poṉṉiyiṉ putalvar பொன்னியின் புதல்வர் [The great son of Ponni] (in Tamil) (2nd ed.). Chennai: Vāṉati Patippakam.
  8. ^ "Third edition biography on Kalki released". Cities: Chennai. The New Indian Express. Express News Service. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2015. The 912-page hard-bound volume, brought out by Vanathi Pathipagam, is priced at `450.
    With a preface by 'Kalki' K Rajendran on how the biography was born, the back cover shows 'Kalki', conceiving Alai Osai, a famous novel set against the background of India's freedom struggle. The first edition was brought out in 1976 and the second in 1999.

External links[edit]