Umaru Pulavar Memorial, Ettayapuram
The memorial, an imposing two-storied building, was inaugurated with much fanfare in October 2007. The then DMK government under M Karunanidhi promised that the memorial would be turned into a research centre and houses a public library with a collection of 5,000 books, including the works of the great poet. Five years later, the place is deserted, the huge hall empty. Residents on Umaru Pulavar Street, where the memorial is located, don’t know if a library is planned here. According to them it is the dargah of Umaru Pulavar and they are not aware that a library will be set up inside.
The memorial built at a cost of Rs 22.5 lakh is maintained by the information and public relations department of the state government. The first floor of the building, where the library was supposed to come up, has gathered dust over the years and not even a single book has been collected so far. Apart from the well-maintained grave, the building doesn’t have any furniture or facilities for the visitors. “Till date no funds has been allotted for the library and not a single book has been collected by the government.
Interestingly, the building is just two streets away from the house of Subramania Bharati, who hails from the same place. The house where the great modern Tamil poet lived has been turned into a museum with rare photographs and manuscripts. It was after a huge public demand to honour Umaru Pulavar that the then chief minister MGR laid the foundation stone for a memorial in 1981.
While the poet faces neglect at his birth place, in faraway Singapore, fans of the poet have set up a world-class library as a tribute to his contribution to the Tamil literature. The memorial was inaugurated on 29th Oct 2007 by the Honorable speaker Thiru R Avudaiappan, Government of Tamilnadu Legislative Assembly. Memorial is maintained by the Information and Public Relations Department under the direct supervision of the District Public Relation Officer.
Umaru Pulavar was a Tamil Muslim poet from Tamilnadu, India. Umaru Pulavar was born in 1642 in the town of Ettayapuram in district. He is celebrated as one of the greatest Islamic Poets of India. The forefathers of the poet came to Tamil Nadu to sell perfumes and settled in Nagalapuram, before moving to Ettayapuram where the poet was born. Umaru Pulavar’s literary talents flourished under Kadikai Muthu Pulavar that is only in Tamil language, court poet of the Ettayapuram Zamin. At the age of 16, Umaru Pulavar stole the national limelight by winning a literary debate with Vallai Varundhi, a renowned poet from North India. Umaru Pulavar was then made the court poet of the Ettayapuram Zamin. But he was not able to learn Arabic grammar. While learning the Arabic language his master went for his essential work for earning money.
Seerapuranam considered to be one of the best works by him, depicts the history related to Nabi Mohammed, and it contains 5,027 poems in three ‘Kandams’ (parts), which are Vilathathu Kandam, Noobuvathu Kandam and Hijurathu Kandam. Each of the ‘Kandams’ narrates various stages of the life of Nabi. Muthu Mozhil Malai and Sethakathi wedding poems are among his other literary works.
His memorial at Ettayapuram in Tuticorin district was renovated by the government of Tamil Nadu and was declared open by the then Speaker of legislative assembly and the then ministers. The Umaru pulavar Tamil language center in Singapore named after the scholar strives for providing quality education in Tamil language in Singapore. A social welfare trust by name "Omar - Bharathi Educational Trust" is constituted at Thirupuvanam Pudur in the regard of both the poets from Ettayapuram. The trust has also opened branches in Ariyalur district and in Theni district. The Islamiya ilakkiya Kazhagam gives award every year to eminent Tamil scholars in the name of Umaru Pulavar.