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Jayakanthan was born in in a family of agriculturists in Cuddalore, in the South Arcot district of Tamil Nadu. He quit school after completing grade 3 education. He was then considered a problematic child. He was close to his mother and grandfather. He had a rocky relationship with his father. Unable to bear the harsh treatment meted out to him at home and in the village, he ran away from home at the age of 12 to Villupuram. There, he grew up under the aegis of his uncle from whom he imbibed communist ideologies and was also introduced to the works of Subramanya Bharathy.

It was here where Jayakanthan first worked as a minion in the CPI party office. Jayakanthan has written a lot about his days in the office and seems to cherish his boyhood days there. Jeeva Jeevanandam and Mr. Baladandayutham and many others. Thus, the CPI office in Chennai became his primary school, the members of the communist party his immediate family. Jayakanthan grew up listening to the discussions of these leftists during his formative years.

It can be seen that this had a serious impact on his outlook and literary works. Jayakanthan once wrote that Mr. Jeeva was horrified to read his Tamil with full of grammar mistakes. This led to Jeeva offering the fee needed for proper education under a Tamil pandit.

Thus he learned proper Tamil from a pandit. Later he moved around in various jobs forced by circumstances. But in , unexpected political developments resulted in extreme restrictions on the activities of the CPI. Jayakanthan was forced to work in a shoe shop in Thanjavur for a short period of time, after which he came back to Chennai. This period was an important phase for Jayakanthan as he found more time to think and read.

Internal rifts within the CPI and his difference of opinion on many political issues forced him to gradually withdraw from CPI and active politics. Equally he broke ranks with his fellow Tamil writers in opposing E. Ramasamy Periyar a noted rationalist movement leader in Tamil Nadu and his view of brahminism in Tamil Nadu.

Only a personality like Jayakanthan who could have the courage and wisdom to oppose Mr. Ramasamy openly in a public forum. Jayakanthan was greatly praised for his public speech in Tiruchi. Before this, he also tested waters in other political philosophies including Congress. He was fascinated with the former Chief Minister and Congress party leader Kamaraj and briefly served as a member of that party and actively compaigned for him and his party members during election time.

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Jayakanthan Short Stories


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