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K. Subramania Pillai

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Kaa. Su. Pillai

இந்தப் பக்கத்தை தமிழில் வாசிக்க: கா.சுப்ரமணிய பிள்ளை

K. Subramania Pillai (Kaa. Su. Pillai) (Kandhimathinathapillai Subramania Pillai) (November 5, 1888 - April 30, 1945) was a Tamil scholar and a Tamil literature history teacher. He was a Shaivite, a lawyer, a Tamil professor, a translator, an orator, and a speechwriter. He was multilingual with fluency in Tamil, English, Sanskrit, and Malayalam.

Birth, Education

K. Subramania Pillai was born on November 5, 1888, to Shaiva Vellalar Gandhimathinatha Pillai and Meenakshiammai. He received his primary education in a thinnai (porch) school in Tirunelveli. In 1906, he obtained the first rank in the Chennai Matriculation exam. In 1908, he topped the F. A (Fellow of Arts) examination in the University of Madras. He won first place as a student in a 'Pulavar' (Pundit) examination conducted by the Madurai Tamil Sangam. He won a prize organized for Tamil research, by Powermurket, an Englishman. In 1910, he graduated with a B.A. History. In 1913, he received his M.A. in English Literature and in 1914, he received his M.A. in Tamil Literature.

Kaa. Su. Pillai


In Chennai

In 1919, he joined the Madras Law College as a lecturer, with the help of Judge Sheshadri Iyer. In 1920, Kaa. Su. Pillai delivered 12 lectures on the subject, Principles of Criminology, at the University of Calcutta; he received the "Tagore Legal Lecture Award" created by the Rabindranath Tagore family. In 1922, he became a member of the glossary terms committee created by the Madras presidency. In 1926, he was elected as a member of the governing body of South India Saiva Siddhantha Works Publishing Society Tinnevelly Limited, which was formed to publish books in pure Tamil, without mixing words from other language. He held that position until 1932. Sir Pitti Theagaraya Chetty, who was one of the founding members of the South Indian Welfare Association, helped Kaa. Su. Pillai to become a law professor. In 1927, he resigned as a law professor due to a new regulation at the Madras Law College.

In Nellai

Kaa. Su. Pillai returned to his hometown, Nellai (Thirunelveli), after resigning as a law professor. From 1927 to 1929, he engaged in historical research on 'Saivakuravargal' Sundarar, Seikizhar, and Manivasagar. He also engaged in writing the history of Tamil literature. In 1930, he resigned from Annamalai University and again returned to Nellai. He contested in the local elections and served as a member of the Tirunelveli Municipality. He served as the trustee of the Gandhimati Amman Udanurai Nellaiyappar Temple located in Nellai. Later, he established Thevara and Saiva Agama schools to lay the foundation for worship in Tamil.

In 1934, the Madras Presidency Tamil Conference convened for the first time in Nellai. Kaa. Su. Pillai took charge as the chairman of the reception committee of the conference, where he spoke about the greatness of Tamil language and the Tamil people. In 1934, Madras Presidency Tamil Association was started at Palayankottai as decided in the conference. Kaa. Su. Pillai held the post as president until 1938.

In Kanchipuram

Kaa. Su. Pillai lived in Kanchipuram from 1938 to 1940. He stayed with his friend, Isaimani Sundaramoorthy Oduvar, and researched about 'Thamizisai' (Tamil music).

In Chidambaram

He was a professor in the Tamil department, in Annamalai University, Chidambaram, during the academic year 1929-1930. Ten years later, he served as a professor again there for four years, from 1940-1941 academic year to 1943-1944 academic year. He retired on July 1, 1944.

He suffered from rheumatism while working as a Tamil professor for the second time at the Annamalai University. Therefore, he wrote his research papers and texts through his assistant. In 1944, he returned to Nellai, from Chidambaram.

Literary Life

Kaa. Su. Pillai wrote a book titled Tamil Ilakiya Varalaru, published in two parts, when he lived in Nellai, from 1927-1930. This was the first book that tried to define Tamil people and Tamil literature. He has written forewords for Thiruvasagam, Tirukural, Tirumurugatrupadai, and Siva Gnanapotham and the biographies of Appar, Sundarar, Sambandar and Manickavasagar.


  • In 1940, he was awarded the Palkalai Pulavar at Tirunelveli, by the Madras Presidency Tamil Association.
  • In 1940, a member of the Needhi Katchi (Justice Party), in the South Indian Welfare Association, and the prince of Chettinad, A. Muttaiah Chettiyar presented Kaa. Su. Pillai, a bronze badge in appreciation of his work.

Biography, Memorials

  • Kaa. Su. Pillai Varalaru- E.Mu Subramaniyapillai 1958 (Tirunelveli Saiva Siddhanantha Printing Society)
  • A pillar was erected in memory of Kaa. Su. Pillai on October 13, 1947 at the main junction in Tirunelveli, in the Kailasapuram Town Park, on the west bank of the Thamiraparani River.
  • The Kaa. Su. Memorial Literary Group was established in Kulithalai. One of the leaders of the Dravidian movement, Mee. Su. Ilamurugu founded this group. Kaa. Su. Pillai’s Centenary year was celebrated on behalf of this group, at Kulithalai.


Kaa. Su. Pillai died on April 30, 1945, at the age of 56.

Literary Significance

Kaa. Su. Pillai is notable for being one of the earliest researches in Tamil literature. He did not follow the research methods used by Manonmaniam P. Sundaranar or K. N. Sivaraja Pillai. It was noted that his studies were mostly written in accordance with the linguistic data of the texts. His Shaivite leaning had limited his researches. His foreword for Thirukural, which was written on the basis of Shaivism, is an example.


S. No First Edition Second Edition Third Edtion Books Pages Publisher
01 1920 Principles of Criminology
02 1923 1927, July Indhiya Samayangalin Surukka Varalaru 42
03 1932, August Saiva Sithandha Vilakka Surukam 16
04 1924 1927, May Saiva Sithandha Unmai Varalaru 40
05 1924, April Sambandar Thevaram Eyarkai Porulazhagu 2+42
06 1925 1939, July Arivu Vilaku Vaasagam 5+66
07 1925, August Pandara Saathiram Pathinaanku
08 1925, December 1958, August Saiva Siddhantha Sathaanasariyarkalum

Avarkalin Arul Noolgalum Saiva Sithandha Vilakkamum

09 1926 1947, June Appar Swamigal Sarithiram 164
10 1927 1953, June Gnanasambadha Swamigal Sarithiram 10+205
11 1927 Nandhanasaariyar Sarithiram (An excerpt from the novel, Saivasithandha Uraikothu)
12 1928 1947 Natharamoorthy Swamigal Sarithiram 8+208
13 1928 1954, September Seikizhar Swamigal Sarithiramum Periya Puranam Aaraichiyum 154
14 1928 1947, March Manivasaga Perumal Varalaru 8+124
15 1928 1958, June Ilakiya Varalaru (Part 1) 20+269
16 1928 1958, June Ilakiya Varalaru (Part 2) 20+516
17 1929 1955, June Thirukural Pozhipurai 10+370
18 1929, March Murugan Perumai 36
19 1929, May Metaphysics of the Saiva Siddhanta System 4+38
20 1930, June 1955, March Thaayumana Swamigal 4+207
21 1930 1958, February Pattinathadigal Varalarum Noolaraichiyum 8+112
22 1932, June 1947 Kumaragurupura Adikal Varalarum Noolaraichiyum 4+6+134
23 1932, August 1949, November Meikantaarum Sivagnana Podhamum 18+177
24 1933 Suthaathuvitham
25 1934 Andaal Varalarum Noolaraichiyum
26 1938 1952, December India Varalaru Kadhaigal- Book 1 4+74
27 1938 1949, November India Varalaru Kadhaigal- Book 2 4+92
28 1939 Pazhanthamizh Naagarigam Allathu Poruladhikara Karuthu
29 1938 Vanool
30 1939, May 1941, May Ulaga Perumakkal, Part 1 136
31 1940, August Ulaga Perumakkal, Part 2 6+141
32 1940, August 1948, May 1963, April Sir P. C. Roy 6+122
33 1949, December Sivagnanapotham Pozhipurai 6+81
34 1953 Tamizhar Samayam 14+134
35 1955, November Sivagnana Swamigal Varalaru
36 Thiruvaasagam Pozhipurai
37 Thirumurukatrupadai Kuripurai
38 Kumaragurupararin Kandhar Kalivenba Kuripurai
39 Pala Pulavargal Iyattriya Thanipaadatriratu- Volume 1
40 Pala Pulavargal Iyattriya Thanipaadatriratu- Volume 2
41 Naalvar Varalaru (Meikandaar, Arunadhi Sivachariyar, Maraignana Sithiyar, Umapathi Sivachariyar)
42 Irayanaar Agaporul
43 Tamizh Noorkolgaiyum Tamizh Mozhiamaippum
44 Thirucholiyar Thurai Vilakkam
45 Thirunaan Marai Vilakkam
46 Saiva Sadangu Vilakkam
47 Meikanda Noolgalin Urainadai
48 Dhyanamum Vazhkai Uyarvum
49 Kadavulum Vaazhkai Nalamum
50 Ulaga Nanmaye Oruvan Vaazhvu
51 Makkal Vaazhkai Thathuvam
52 Vaazhkai Inbam
53 Udal Nool
54 Sivaprakasham- English Translation
55 Needhineri Vilakkam- English Translation
56 A Short Sketch of the Hindu Religion
57 A Note on Hindu Religion Endowment Bill
58 Tamil Blooms
59 Nature of Thevaram and Ancient Tamil Scripture
60 Porut Sattam
61 India Dhandanai Thogudhi- Volume 1
62 Lectures on the Indian Penal Code
63 Pathivu Vidhi
64 Kuttra Sattam
65 Thiruvandhiyar Thirukalittrupadiya

✅Finalised Page