|'Adukku Mozhi' Ramasamy: Photo by: Prakash Chellamuthu|
“ I was told that on a day in the pre-independence era, great poet Rabindranath Tagore had visited our school and sang his poem 'Jana Gana Mana' for the students. From then on, the institution began to sing it everyday as its school song, until, at a later time, it was declared as the National anthem” says Ramasamy, former headmaster of the heritage institution - PSG Sarvajana Higher Secondary School.
Known for his extempore Tamil speech in a language, which is full of alliteration, consonance and rhyme, he is appropriately called ' Adukkumozhi ' Ramasamy. Go to his home at Peelamedu Pudur, the 84 year old is sure to hold you spellbound by his sweet rhythmic language, even as he welcomes you at the entrance.
“ I do not know how I mastered the skills in word play. However, I had the opportunity of studying under legendary Tamil professors Ma. Ra.Po. Gurusamy, Tha.Ea. Gnanamurthy, A. Ki. Paranthamanar, Rasamanickanar, Avvai Duraisamy Pillai and Aram, who were my inspirations” he informs.
Ramasamy is also an alumnus of same PSG Sarvajana Higher Secondary School between 1946 and 1949, when Srinivasa Iyengar, father of the famous educationist S.S.Rajagopalan, was its headmaster.
“ Baskar Iyer was my Hindi master at school. A powerful orator in Hindi, English and Tamil, he would come to the institution in his 'Angawastram' draped around his neatly ironed white shirt. It would resemble the dressing style of C. Rajagopalachari, the last governor general of India” recalls Ramasamy.
In Coimbatore today, shops selling fresh fruit and vegetables are numerous with their common name 'Pazhamudhir Nilayam'.
“ But, the term was first coined by Ramasamy Ayya” chips in Kumarasamy, a present day Tamil teacher at the PSG Sarvajana Higher Secondary School, during Ramasamy's interview for Coimbatore Express.
And Ramasamy recalls the incident:
“ When one of my students set up a shop to sell fruit and vegetables and wanted me to give a name for it, I coined the term ' Pazhamudir Nilayam'. And today, I am glad to see that it has become a common phrase to call any fruit and vegetables shop”
While Ramasamy was a student at Sri RamakrishnaVidyalaya, its founder and former education minister T.S. Avinashilingam Chettiar lauded him for his oratorical skills in rhythmic Tamil language and told him to accompany Acharya Vinoba Bhave in a padhayatra from Mettupalam to Perur – the leader's campaign for Bhoodhan movement in Coimbatore.
“ In the procession, I even composed a song 'Nilathai Pangi Thaareero Bhave,Vino Bhave..' and sang it throughout the campaign “ reminisces Ramasamy.
The octogenarian, who has addressed in numerous literary meetings, was recently invited to speak in a wedding held at Washington in the US.
“ Interestingly, it was the marriage of a Thanjavur-based Tamil bride with an American bridegroom, whose name is Stuart Francis Murphy. When I solemnized their wedding, I made the American groom recite the couplets from Thirukural and explained the work's glory to the American guests” says Ramasamy.
With his passion for chaste Tamil, Ramasamy christened his son and daughter as 'Porchezhiyan' and 'Poonguzhali' respectively.
“ My grandchildren 'Amutha Yazhini' and 'Nambi', who are pursuing higher education in the US now, speak chaste Tamil better than me” winds up Ramasamy.
Link to my article in The New Indian Express: http://epaper.newindianexpress.com/c/18507372