Periyasaami Thooran (26 September 1908 – 20 January 1987) was a patriot, Tamil poet, teacher, and a composer of Carnatic music.

Early life

Periyasami was born to K.A. Palanivelappa Gounder and Paavaathal on 26 September 1908 at Manjakattuvalasu near Modakurichi in the Erode district of India. He was greatly influenced and inspired by Mahakavi Subramania Bharathiyar and Mahatma Gandhi. When a student in college he published an underground monthly magazine called 'Pithan' which was printed by his contemporary K.M.Ramasami gounder in Gobichettipalayam in the beginning and also wrote poems and short stories. It was at this time that he began writing under the pen name 'Thooran' as 'Pithan' featured anti British occupation literature. He declined to sit for the final Bachelor of Arts examination shocked by the execution by the British of Bhagat Singh. Thooran gained his B.A. (Mathematics with a Minor in Astronomy) and L.T. (Licentiate in Teaching) later. Thooran's background in Science was to later help him complete the Tamil Encyclopedia project as he was thoroughly convinced that Science and Technology was an integral part of language.

Literary career

A prolific writer, he composed over six hundred songs on national, spiritual and moral issues. He wrote 'a poem a day' for several years after his daily poojas. He became popular and the melody queens N. C. Vasanthakokilam and D. K. Pattammal always included his works in their concerts. A man with noble ideals, Thooran is an acknowledged poet and composer. Analogous to Tyagaraja's 'Santhamulekha, Soukyamuledhu' (set to Sama rāgam), Thooran's 'Santhamillamal sukham undo?' (Nattaikurinji) stresses that there is no joy without patience and no contentment amidst worries. Deep philosophical truths lay hidden in his simple devotional songs. Musical aesthetics and bhava find abundant evidence in his compositions.

While he was not a musician, he had profound poetic talents. Like Arunachala Kavirayar, he had to seek outside help to set his lyrics to music. Sivaramakrishna Iyer (who was born in 1913 in Mavelikara, Kerala and had joined Sri Ramakrishna Vidyalaya as music teacher in 1937) was his guru and choreographer. Thooran also availed of the services of senior musicians like K. V. Narayanaswamy, T.K. Govinda Rao and T. V. Sankaranarayanan.

Tiger Varadachariar, Musiri Subramania Iyer and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer are three of the eminent musicians who have spoken highly of his compositions. His popular compositions include Gananaathane (Saranga), Kaliyuga Varadhan (Brindavana Saranga)[1], Muralidhara Gopala (Maand), Muruga Muruga (Saveri), Pazhani Nindra (Kapi), Punniyam Oru (Keeravani), Thottu Thottu (Padam in BihagVideo on YouTube), and Thaye Thripurasundhari (Shuddha Saveri).

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