இந்தப் பக்கத்தை தமிழில் வாசிக்க: வாழ்க்கை வரலாறு (பயோகிராஃபி)
Biography is a detailed description about a person’s or personality’s life. It is usually written by someone who lived in the times of the personality or someone who lived in the latter years. If the personality writes about his own life, it is called Autobiography.
Such Biographies is not just a collection of data about the person, but is rather written in a way to help learn about the person’s personality through various life events and experiences.
In English, Biographies were introduced during the 16th Century. But such writings were not accepted as literary works until the 18th Century. Dr. Samuel Johnson’s "Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets" (alternatively known as "Lives of the Poets") was the first work to be recognized as a Literary work. Later, Boswell’s "Life of Samuel Johnson", happened to be the turning point of such Biographical works.
A Biography is written in a way to help learn about the person’s personality through various life events and experiences. Any material that reminds about the said person such as, writings, diary entries, letters, memento etc., is considered to be a proof for the biography.
The memories of the personality’s relatives, friends, or any person who has had a cordial relationship with the person, happens to be an important part of the biography. The personality’s character, attributes, the historical events that happened during his lifetime and related reactions, are few of the aspects that help better understand the personality. M. Vedasagaayakumar mentions in his book "Ilakiya Thiranaaivu Kalanjiyam" that in the current times an objective approach towards a personality is strongly recommended for a Biography.
Biographies in Tamil
In Tamil Nadu, Biographies were introduced in literary formats only from the 20th Century. But just as in English, a biography of monks was published in Tamil during the 16th Century. This book also happened to be the second book to be printed in Tamil. This book was the Tamil translation of a Portuguese book.
In Tamil, U.V. Swaminatha Iyer’s "Meenatchi Sundarampillai Sarithiram" (Meenatchi Sudarampillai Biography) is a notable biographical book in Tamil. Saaminaadhaiyar was a person who gave emphasis to the depiction of the context of time. M. Vedasagaayakumar mentions that Saminadhaiyar was a person who concentrated on the believability of history.
In Tamil, Bharati and Va.Ve.Su. Iyer’s Biographies are also said to be an example for such biographical literature. The book "Maghakavi Bharathiyar" was written by V. Raamasaamy Iyengar also known as Va.Ra. When referring to other biographies he wrote about Bharathi he said that, " The time has come when there are a lot of wrong opinions about Bharathiyar roaming around the country. Many people who were afraid of him, afraid to see him have started spreading rumours that they are closely acquainted with Bharathiyar. I do not know what to say about these people who 'flatter the rich’ ". But researchers raise the same question about Bharathiyar's biography written by Va.Ra. He presents Bharati as an incomparable personality. In his book, the weakness of Bharati as an individual is not completely revealed. Yadugiri Amma, a member of the Acharya family who supported Bharati, wrote "Bharati Ninaivugal" (Memories of Bharati). Bharati's wife Chellammal has made entries about the memories of him.
Va.Ve.Su. Iyer’s friend Thi.Se.Sau. Rajan wrote his Biography under the title "Va.Ve.Su. Iyer". This biography is said to be an example of authenticity. Suthananda Bharathiyar, who worked with Va.Ve.Su. Iyer during his last days, wrote his biography titled "Veeravilakku Va.Ve.Su. Iyer" (The lamp of valor Va.Ve.Su. Iyer). In the later years, Pe.Su. Mani, Ilandhai, Su. Ramasamy, have written the biography of Va.Ve.Su. Iyer.
Pudhumaipithan’s Biography was written by Tho.Mu.Si. Raghunathan, who was his colleague. Like Va.Ra’s Maghakavi Bhaaradhiyaar, this book also portrays Pudhumaipithan as an incomparable personality and an historical hero. All the famous biographies written in Tamil are about creative people.
As an exception, during the World War, people were curious to know about the heroes of World War. In this context, many wrote the Biographies of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin. The book "Fascist Jadamuni Mussolini" was written by Pudhumaipithan. Saaminadha Sharma has also written a biography of Mussolini. Both the writers have written biographies of Hitler as well. M. Vedasagayakumar mentions that "Biographies written by Pudhumaipithan happen to be in a way of being an evaluation of the lives of the said heroes".
In Tamil, Biographies of many political leaders have been written. But none of these are intended to evaluate these personalities. An attempt to write a biography in the form of fiction has also been made in Tamil.
- Ilakiya Thiranaaivu Kalanjiyam - M. Vedasagayakumar