The Chennai house of Tamil scholar U.V. Swaminatha Iyer's historical house is no more

demolition of Tamil Scholar U.V. Swaminatha Iyer's house, Chennai

U ve S Iyer, commommorative stamp 2006

Is there any justification to have demolished the house of an eminent Tamil scholar of  by-gone period  whose contribution to the Sangam literature is just immeasurable?  If such a scholar were born in a foreign land, his residence would have become a monument of national importance. Tamil Thatha U.V.. Swaminatha Iyers residence in Chennai was razed to the ground. Neither the Tamil scholars nor the state government took any efforts to prevent the demolition of the house that could have been converted into a memorial for him at Chennai where had spent much of his time till 1942. When Madras was a Presidency (comprising four southern states) and later when it became Tamil Nadu, comprising mostly Tamil-speaking people, none of the ministries that came to power since  India's independence had taken steps to preserve the house. With the passage of time, man's greed took precedence over the value of  monumental literary work of a  great  Tamil scholar. A sad day for the Tamil lovers.    

U.V. Swaminatha Iyer, Tamil Scholar,

Thyagaraja Vilas'', the house  on Pilliyar Kovil street in Thiruvatteeswaranpet, Chennai, where U.Ve.S lived and where  famous Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore not only called on him in 1926, but also wrote  a poem in praise of Iyer’s contribution,  disappeared for good way back  in 2015. With UVe S  descendants having sold the house under the pressing circumstance, the buyer, not knowing the heritage value of the building, removed the names Thyagaraja Vilas’ and ‘U.Ve. Swaminatha Iyer Illam before pulling it down along with  the scholar's legacy.  The Chennai Corp. denied permission to demolish the old house, but, the owner went ahead with the demolition, least caring about its historical value. No PIL was filed in the court  to stop the demolition  going on.there. No politician who boasted of safeguarding  the Tamil language protested it. Nor did they buy the house  through their party funds and save it from impending demolition.This house was closely linked to the popularity of Sangam Tamil literature as U.Ve S from here edited and published many ancient literary works such as Silapathikaram, Patthupaatu and Ettuthogai after collecting palm-leaf manuscripts over a long-drawn period from many places across Tamil Nadu. After moving over here from Kumbakonam to work in the Presidency  college, he rented the house  and later bought it from Thyagaraja Chettiyar, a well-known scholar who helped him get the post. As a token of his gratitude, Iyer named it ''Thyagaraja Vilas'.' In the later years, Iyer  dedicated Aingkurunooru to Thiyagaraja Chettiyar.

U. ve. S left the house in 1942, in the wake of bombing of Madras  by a lone Japanese reconnaissance war plane as the world was in the grip of WWII. Media reports said more than 50000  people fled the city in fear of further bombing. While staying in the house at  Thirukazhukundram owned by the Thiruvavaduthurai Mutt,in old Thanjavur dist. U. Ve. S. died in the same year due to age-related health problem. His plan to publish one book a month did not materialize; however he published Thiyagaraja Kovai,

According to the Tamil Scholar  Prof. Parthasarathy .the state govt. could have taken over the house of Sawminatha Iyer just the way they did with the house where Subramania Bharati, famous Tamil poet and staunch patriot, had resided in Triplicane, Chennai. The young generation lost a house  of a scholar who  preserved  the ethos of Tamil culture and literature till his death..That the historical house turned into a mound of rubble is something no sane person will accept it.