Friday, March 27, 2009

An officer and a litterateur

Not many people have been successful at combining the hard life of a police officer with the sensitivity of an author and playwright. Throw in the fact that one of his most famous works is an interpretation of Harischandra and the contrast between the two personas becomes that much sharper. It is therefore a significant credit to Diwan Bahadur Saravana Bhavanandam Pillai that he is remembered (although only just about) equally for his policing prowess as well as his literary legacy.

Bhavanandam Pillai was one of the first Indians to rise through the ranks to become the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Madras. He was also keenly interested in the history of the Tamizh language and set up the Bhavanandam Academy Trust to help scholars research into that history. Newton House on Jeremiah Road, where he lived, is now home to the library of the Academy and also serves as its head office.

No comments: