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Jayakanthan confirms letter to Vairamuthu genuine

Poet releases another missive from the dead writer

Chennai: Poet Vairamuthu today released to the media another letter from the now demised writer Jayakanthan in which the latter has confirmed that the previous letter, over which there is a raging controversy now, was indeed written by him without any compulsion from anybody.

In the new letter, Jayakanthan has asserted that Vairamuthu’s short story series in Kumudham was indeed read by him. ‘It was the last bit of reading done by me and the letter of appreciation that I sent to him was indeed the last letter written by me,’ Jayakanathan has said in the new letter written after his official last letter.

‘I don’t want either my daughter or any of my family members to deny this at least,’ Jayakanthan added in his latest letter. ‘I want the world to understand and appreciate my privacy especially since I am dead now. Writing a letter when you are dead is a lot difficult than when you are alive. For starters, it is debatable whether you have to refer to yourself in the present tense or the past’, he added.

It may be recalled that writer Jayakanthan passed away on April 8 last. This week, the Tamil magazine Kumudham published a letter purportedly written by him praising Vairamuthu’s short story series being featured in the magazine. However, Jayakanthan’s daughter had, in a Facebook post, explained that his father was bed-ridden for the last one year and had not read anything. ‘He was not even in a position to sign the letter that was said to be written by him,’ said Jayakanthan’s daughter.

The letter episode was seen as yet another instance of Vairamuthu hankering after cheap publicity, a charge that has persistently followed him all through his career. However, Vairamuthu stuck to his guns and said that the letter and praise had indeed come from the late writer.

In the event, the new letter that Vairamuthu today released to the press is expected to bolster his case. ‘Hope this settles all matters and speculation at rest,’ Vairamuthu said. ‘Now that Jayakanthan, despite being dead, has taken the trouble of clearing the air, all those who were at my throat should ease off,’ Vairamuthu said.

Asked how a dead man could write a letter, Vairamuthu shot back: ‘How can you expect me to answer it? I am not dead yet. Only Jayakanthan can answer the question. I am merely passing on to you the letter that I received from him.’

‘At any rate,’ Vairamuthu added, ‘my poetry or short stories never die. Only those who read them die. Sometimes immediately’. Though he didn’t elaborate, perhaps that is what happened to Jayakanthan.

Vairamuthu flatly denied the allegations that he was a publicity monger. ‘I merely passed on Jayakanthan’s letter to Kumudham because they asked for it. My sincerity can be gauged by the fact that I have not opened my mouth to anyone on the letters written to me by Vaali and Kannadasan in response to my short stories series in Kumudham.

Cheap publicity or not and Jayakanthan’s appreciation letter is true or not, Vairamuthu is arguably the best poet in India — that is if you are arguing the point with Vairamuthu himself. Otherwise the jury is still out on his versing prowess.

Vairamuthu is generally known by the monicker ‘Kavi Perarasu’, aptly meaning the poet (Kavi) who versifies the kind of stuff that Perarasu makes (Perarasu is popular director who specializes in kitschy formula movies).

Meanwhile, Kumudham which published the controversial purported letter from Jayakanthan, this week, in its continuing endeavour to bring high literature to the common people, is running a special poll: Who is apt to play the role of Jayakanthan in a bio-pic, Ajith or Vijay?’ The answer is, of course, Siva Karthikeyan.

(Disclaimer: கவிதைக்கு பொய் அழகு, கவிஞருக்கு புரட்டு அழகு)