A Yesurajah, an unorthodox Tamil writer | Sunday Observer

A Yesurajah, an unorthodox Tamil writer

6 September, 2020

Athanaar Yesurajah is an unorthodox Tamil writer and critic in Jaffna. He has travelled widely and is well known in local Tamil literary circles and in Chennai. The magazines, he edited periodically, are quoted by young literary enthusiasts.

One of his books published with photographs in 2016 titled Nunavik Kurippuhal (Remembered Notes), is a 136-page document on International films, published by Alai Veliyeedu at Oadaik Karai Veethti, Guru Nagar, Jaffna, priced at Rs 300.

The articles in the book,centering mainly around cinema, were previously published in Jeevanathi. It is partly the literary history in Tamil during the past four decades in Lanka and partly his autobiography. Born in a fisher family and studied in a small school up to GCE A Level, he worked as a mason and succeeded in entering the public service. He proved his innate talents by becoming a literary figure among the contemporary Sri Lankan Tamil writers.

Having worked in the South of Sri Lanka, he acquired a good knowledge of Sinhala and became popular among his Sinhala counterparts.

While he was working at the Postal Department in 1980,he acquainted with Lal Silva in the Telex section, who was also interested in writing. One day, Silva invited Yesurajah to a literary gathering of 40 youngsters in Ambalangoda. Yesurajah explained his literary activities to the audience with his scanty Sinhala and held the audience spellbound by mentioning the works of Sinhala literary giants and artistes, such as Parakrama Kodithuwakku, G.B. Senanayake, Siri Goonasinha, Mahagama Sekera, Martin Wickremasinghe, Gunadasa Amarasekera, Leel Gunaekera and Gunasena Vithana.

He was acquainted with international cinema by watching foreign films at embassy screenings, which prompted him to screen such films in his hometown, Jaffna with the assistance of the University of Jaffna.