Monday, September 3, 2012
It looks like what it is. The signboard of a business that has seen vastly better times, but is now faded, rusting in its own history. "Appar Achchagam" it says, with the preceding words having faded completely away. It may not be much to look at, but it had its day about half-a-century ago.
Appar Achchagam, on Broadway, was the printing arm of the Saiva Siddhantha Works Publishing Society, which was run by Va. Thiruvarangam Pillai, who was a big fan of Maraimalai Adigalar. (Maybe the biggest fan - he married Neelambigai, the Adigalar's daughter). He had been instrumental in bringing Adigalar to Ceylon, and the SSWP Society had published every one of the Adigalar's books. Upon his death, Adigalar bequeathed is collection of over 4000 Tamizh books to the SSWP Society, which, in 1958, opened the Maraimalai Adigal Library on Linghi Chetty Street. Building on that initial corpus, the Library grew to over 35,000 rare books, journals and manuscripts over the next 50 years. Unable to house them, or to maintain the Library itself, the Society turned the entire collection over to the Connemara Library.
Today, the Society seems to have gone under completely. A handwritten sheet, under this sign, calls on them to deliver vacant possession of the premises by order of the High Court. The heritage of the Adigalar, revered as the father of 'pure Tamizh', seems to have been completely institutionalized, now!