‘The Abyss’ – an English translation of Jeyamohan’s Tamil novel ‘Ezhaam Ulagam’

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Jayamohan is one of India’s most important writers today, a contemporary sage and artist. Like Dostoevsky, his fiction tackles humanity’s eternal problems and offers astonishing insight into our existence. His most important work to date is his 26-part Roman His fluve called His Venmurasu (The White Drum), a serialized version of the Mahabharata. At over 25,000 pages, the book is one of his longest literary works in the world, and on his website he was serialized one chapter a day.

He is also a renowned screenwriter, with films such as: Nan Kadavul, Ventu Tanintadu Kadu and more recently, the two-part Ponyin Servan to his achievements.rose Nan KadavulWinner of two national awards and a cult classic, was based on Jeyamohan’s novel. Ezaam Ulagam (“Abyss”).

The novel is available for the first time in an English translation published by Juggernautbooks. As a novel translator and longtime reader of Baradwaj Rangan’s blog, I thought I’d reach out to readers here in case they’re interested in reading this article.

Link to “Abyss” – http://tinyurl.com/theabyssbook

Jeyamohan spent his early twenties as a wandering mendicant. Dressed in ocher robes, he roamed across India without a ticket and lived with beggars in temple towns. “Abyss” was born from there. He takes you deep into the world of beggars and lets you experience their suffering and freedom.

Jeyamohan wrote “The Abyss” in 2003. The days of his penance he passed in five days. I asked him in an interview why he wrote it.

“It’s the litmus test for humans,” he said. “You dip a human in acid and ask what’s left.”

I thought what an extreme experiment. But it’s true. That experience is certainly played out in the novel, and its insight into humans is revelatory.

There is suffering in the life of a beggar. But in India there has always been a strong tension of spiritual effort among beggars.Siddhar, baul, nath, jogi – begging is the way of life of such aspirants. they accept it. It’s a strange thing for modern man to understand.

The texture of this novel emerges from the juxtaposition of these two worlds, the meanest and the most sublime. When I first read the novel, I found this aspect the most difficult to reconcile. But in translating it, something inside was reorganized, and a new understanding was gained. The novel also contrasts the life of a beggar with the domestic woes of Pandaram, who unwittingly trades in humans. His suffering, which we will later understand with shock, is essentially the same as that of a beggar.

The novel is full of such exciting moments. This novel doesn’t shock us much with what it shows us about the outside world. Rather, it is what we reveal to ourselves that shocks us more. Few books written in India today enter this zone so intensely.

when roses made Nan Kadavul In 2009, it was clear to readers of the novel that he really got Ezaam UlagamIlaiyaraja scored the music.Both the film and its music were wonderful interpretations of the spirit of the novel. [The begging bowl] It has not faded to this day. I have added English subtitles to the Tamil lyrics for non-Tamil audiences.

Twenty years after Ezhaam Ulagam was written, it appears in my translation in English. it’s a privilege. I hope English readers can get a little closer to Jeyamohan’s life-changing work.

– Suchitra Ramachandran

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