Kavimani Desigavinayagam Pillai (July 27, 1876 - September 26, 1954) was an eminent Tamil poet. Asiya Jothi, Nanjil Nattu Marumakkal Vazhi Manmiyam, and the translation of the work of Omar Khayyam are his masterpieces. In 1940 the Tamil Sangam at its 7th annual conference held at Madras (now Chennai) honored Desigavinayagam Pillai with the title Kavimani. In October 2005, he was commemorated on an Indian postage stamp.
Legal name, Full name : Kavimani Desigavinayagam Pillai
Born : July 27th 1876
Died : 26th September 1954
Class : person, writer, poet, Leo person, author
In the annals of 20th century Tamil literature, the name of Desigavinayagam Pillai occupies a special place.
Born to Sivathanupillai and Adilakshmi at Theroor in the Princely state of Travancore now known as Kanyakumari District in Tamilnadu on July 27, 1876, Desigavinayagam Pillai had his early school education in Theroor and attended college at Nagarcoil. He started his career as a school teacher and after serving in one or two schools in Kottar and in Trivandrum, he joined Maharaja's college at Trivandrum as a lecturer in Tamil.
He composed his first Tamil poem at the age of 19. He wrote many songs for children which were published in'Malarum Malayum' (Flower & Garland) in 1938. Asiya Jothi (Light of Asia), Nanjil Nattu Marumakkal Vazhi Manmiyam (a satire on society) and the translation of the work of Omarkhayyam are his master pieces.
Even now, his poems are taught in schools and colleges his poems are marked by nobility of intent and simplicity of language. He had a good command over Malayalam and English and translated the work of some selected authors from English to Tamil. In 1940 the Tamil Sangam at its 7th annual conference held at Madras honored Desigavinayagam Pillai with the title 'Kavimani'.
He was also an epigraphist and studied many stone inscriptions in and around Kanyakumari and Nagarcoil. His research work 'KandalurSalai' was famous and was reprinted in the year 1953. He adopted simple living and high thinking as his guiding principle. In 1948 Kavimani was offered the post of the Laureate which he refused and recommended the name of a contemporary Tamil poet for this post. He also showed unwillingness for the post of Honorary Professor of Tamil at Annamalai University.
A devout follower of Gandhi, he always wore khadi and used to spin the Charkha. He was deeply concerned with the uplift of the downtrodden. The South Travancore Hindu College was his brain child. He retired from service in 1931 but even after retirement worked as a member of the Text Book Committee of Travancore state and also as a consultant for Tamil lexicon prepared by Madras University.
He breathed his last on September 26, 1954 at the age of 78 but till today Kavimani Desigavinayagam Pillai lives in the hearts and minds of people because of his noble deeds and legendary qualities. Kamleshwar Singh designed the Stamp and the First Day Cover. Neenu Gupta designed the pictorial first day postmark. Brochure containing write-up and technical data was issued on the occasion. The First Day Cover and the Brochure are priced at Rs 2 each. India Security Press printed the stamps by Photo Gravure in the quantity of 0.6million in the sheets of 35 stamps.