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Prof. Manonmaneeyam Sundaram Pillai MA (1855-1897)

Article by Dr.Kanam Sankara Pillai
 Pathanamthitta, Kerala

Raja Kesava Dasan the famous Divanji of Travancore who constructed the Alapuzha port brought two Vellala families from Thirunelveli for account keeping.
One was Arjunan Piilai of Vadkkekara and the other Perumal Pillai of Thekkekara. Sundaram was the son of Perumal Pillai and Madathy Ammal. He studied the famous Tamil works like Thevaram, Thirikural, Thiruvachakam of Manikkavachakar in early childhood.
For higher education he went to Trivandrum. Bensley Seshayyar, Pillaveettil Mathevan Pillai, Pandithar Swaminataha Pillai were his teachers.

Rangarayar son of Sir T.Madavarayar was his classmate. In 1880 he got Main Economics. He is the First MA holder of Travancore and so got the name- “MA Sundaram Pillai”.

He married Sivakami Ammal at the age of 22. He became a disciple of Kodaknalloor Swamikal.
With Thycaud Ayya Swamikal he started Saiva Prekasa Sabha in Trivandrum. Chattampi Swamikal and Sri Narayana Guru were frequent visitors of his residence .

Once Swami Vivekanandan came to his residence to have a discourse with the learned Professor. He was the pet student of Dr. Harvey, Professor of Maharaja’s College (present University College). So he was appointed as Professor in the same college. The famous Tamil play Manonmaneeyam was written by him in 1891.

There after he was called “Manonmaniyam Sundaram Pillai”. The prayer song "Tamizh thai vazhattu" first published by Sundaram Pillai, MA as the invocation to his play, "Manonmaneeyam" was adopted the official "prayer song" of Tamil Nadu in June 1970.

He did research on Pathuppattu of Tamil Sanghom literature. Another work was “Kings of Travancore ”for which he got an award.

He bought a large mountain area of 1000 acres in Peroorkada and named it Harveypurm and constructed his residence- Harvey Bungalow there.

Novelist C.V.Raman Pillai, R.Eswara Pillai, K.P Sankara Menon etc were his students.In 1888 he published “Noottakaivilakkam” .In 1894 he got “Rai Bahadur” title .He was known as learned Philosopher and his friend Chief Secretary Thanu Pillai was called “Born Philosopher”.

With their combined effort the Archeology Department of Travancore was born and Professor was the first Director of the Department. He died on 26th April 1897.

The Manonmaiam Sundanar University in Thirunelveli is named after this Great Professor Ex Finance Minister P.S.Nataraja Pillai was his only son

Thycaud Ayya Swamikal

[26 July 2003 23:51]

also see on Manonmaniam Sundaranar....



  1. Tamizhthai Vazhthu to be retuned by AR Rahman

    15 Nov 2007 ... One Response to “Tamizhthai Vazhthu to be retuned by AR Rahman”. azar on Dec 5th , 2007 at 8:16 am. very good site ...
    www.chennai365.com/news/tamizhthai-vazhthu-to-be-retuned-by-ar-rahman/ - 54k -

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