Please Help to Find our Father’s Tamil Translation of Anna Karenina

By S Swaminathan


Anna Karenina was written by the famous Russian author Leo Tolstoy. My father Venkatraman Santanam translated it in to Tamil in the 1940s and it was published even before India became independent. It ran in to 1500 pages a monumental work for that time. I think no one else had embarked on such a Himalayan task. Unfortunately neither I in London nor my brothers in India have a good copy. The copy we have got has many pages missing. I request the Tamil enthusiasts to find us a copy of the Tamil translation.

For the sake of an easy flow, my father titled the book as ANNA KARINA in Tamil instead of the original title Anna Karenina. Please see the Tamil introduction written by my father. He was praised by leaders like K Kamaraj and writers like Manikkodi B S Ramiah (Please see Ramiah’s book Manikkodi Kalam). My father was detained in Vellore jail with K Kamaraj during the freedom struggle. After release he became a journalist and worked as the News Editor of Dinamani, Madurai for over forty years.

The book was priced Rs10 which must be an expensive book at that time. Had anyone invested that ten rupees and it doubled every five years it would have grown to Rs 81000 today. One surprising thing is that no writer of History of Tamil Language has mentioned this translation. Probably the copies were sold out as soon as they were published or few hundred copies only were printed. So I request future writers to include this book which will be a fitting tribute to his Tamil contributions. My father’s big contribution to Tamil language, I would say, is the development of Patti Mandapam (debate) and spiritual writing in Tamil.

Great speakers like Solomon Pappiah, SSM Sundaram, Mrs Saraswathy Ramanathan, Late Kundrakkudi Adigalar have got huge publicity due to these Patti Mandapams. When people ridiculed religious discourses (Upanyasam), my father published page after page in Dinamani summarising the discourses. No one of that age would have missed the speeches of  Variyar Swamikal, Keeran, Kanchi Maha swamikal, Anantharama Deekshithar to mention a few.

Please read the Tamil intro of the book and help us to find a complete copy.


Please send feedback to: swami_48@yahoo.com; through Twitter (@Swami_48) or Facebook.


The scans are below:



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