N. Palanivelu

N. Palanivelu was a novelist, playwright and poet who had been an active writer for more than 50 years. His short stories and poems reflected political and social changes over the years.

When he was 21, Palanivelu arrived in Malaya to work as a check-roll clerk in Bagan Pasir coconut palm estate in Teluk Anson estate in the morning. He taught at the estate primary school in the afternoon.

A year later in 1930, Palanivelu came to Singapore and joined the Singapore Traction Company as a ticket clerk.4 He devoted his spare time to writing poems, plays, and short stories. His works were published in Tamil Murasu as well as other newspapers. In 1931, he published his first poem “Valimai” (“Strength”) in the magazine Navaneetham.

A turning point in Palanivelu’s literary life came when he befriended Thamizhavel G. Sarangapani, the founder of Tamil Murasu, Singapore’s Tamil daily. Sarangapani published many of Palanivelu’s poems and stories in Tamil Murasu.

As Palanivelu was a member of the Tamils Reform Association, his works reflected the Association’s philosophies, such as the need for marriage ceremonies to be conducted in Tamil, the emphasis on children’s education, and the need to eliminate superstitious beliefs. He also staged plays that dealt with social reform. Suguna Sundaram and Gowri Shankar were two plays he staged to raise building funds for the Tamils Reform Association.

Palanivelu’s first stage play was Jhonny Aalam, which was staged in 1934, and which he described as being one of the first few local Indian productions here.

In 1949, Palanivelu joined the then Radio Malaya as a broadcaster and translator. He produced numerous radio plays and poetry readings in his 20 years of service at Radio Malaya. His poetic work Sakunthalam was broadcasted as a serial.

On 11 November 2000, Palanivelu passed away, leaving behind four sons and three daughters.

(Source: Singapore Infopedia Website)