Samuel Vedanayagam Pillai’s liberating novel ‘Prathapa Mudaliar Charithram’ written in 1857 is considered to be a landmark in Tamil literature. It is the first novel in the Tamil language. The novel paved the way for a new genre that began to be recognised as an increasingly important part of the language.
Given the legacy the book comes along with, Storytel is now converting it into an audiobook to make it available for all the literary enthusiasts. The novel is narrated in the first person by entrepreneur-actor M Arunachalam.
“Converting Tamil classics into digital format is a much-needed thing. It will be a digital archive about our traditions, future and a socioeconomic lifestyle lived by our ancestors. Today, most of us feel that the old lifestyle was good and we can educate ourselves about that lifestyle through old books. Many things are lacking in today’s literature. Most of the new age-literature is trying to create controversial issues to get the immediate attention of the public, readers and trying to prove that they are a step ahead of their par age co-writers. Writers should show honesty to their work and literature,” says Arunachalam. He feels that the only way to preserve classic Tamil novels and introduce them to the current generation is by carrying and re-producing (in few cases) through an all-digital platform, particularly, audio medium.
“In today’s generation, no one has (or pretends to have no) time to ‘read’. Reading habit is slowly fading except through mobile/ kindle in some cases. The platform Storytel is doing a fabulous job by creating and broadcasting classic, popular, reader interesting material using well-written and well-read write-ups from famous authors and trained, renowned, professional voice-over specialists,” he adds.
Though ‘Prathapa Mudaliar Charithram’ was written 150 years before, Arunachalam opines that it matches today’s culture.
“For example, if a ruler/politician/authority strictly adheres to the code and conducts of ‘how to run a government’ (which is the last chapter), we will be the best beneficiaries by having a good administration and governance,” he sums up