His work on freedom struggle, spirituality won him awards
Pe. Su. Mani, Tamil writer-historian, died on Tuesday evening at his residence in New Delhi after a brief illness. He was 87. He is survived by two daughters. His wife died in 2017.
Born on November 2, 1933, in Pennathur of Tiruvannamalai district, Mani had a modest academic background and did not pursue beyond school education. He had worked in the postal department and retired as a supervisor.
In his youth, he got attracted to eminent Tamil scholars Ve. Swaminatha Sarma, an author of a number of Tamil works on European social and political philosophers, and M. P. Sivagnanam (also known as Ma. Po. Si.), who ran a political group, ‘Tamilarasu Kazhagam’. He had worked as a leader of the group’s West Mambalam unit in Chennai.
After realising that Tamil Nadu’s contribution to the freedom struggle had not been given the attention it deserved, Mani took to writing biographies of a number of nationalists hailing from the State, such as G. Subramania Iyer, V.V.S. Iyer and P. Varadarajulu Naidu.
The writer, who visited Sri Lanka thrice in the 1990s on the invitation of the government and the Ramakrishna Math, wrote a book on the history of the math in the neighbouring country. He also wrote in detail about rare journals of the 19th century.
He was a recipient of several awards. In 2001, he received the Bharati award, instituted by the State government. Three of his works, including those on Subramania Bharati, Subramania Siva and Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, bagged the awards.
Thiruppur Krishnan, editor of a Tamil journal, ‘Amudhasurabi’, observes that Mani specialised in three broad areas — history of the freedom struggle, spiritualism, and Bharati.
Pointing out that he followed the idea of nationalism propounded by Ma.Po.Si., former head of Tamil Department at the University of Madras, V. Arasu describes Mani’s book on Brahma Samaj as an important work.
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