USSR Natrajan honoured with Tamil Chemmal award

‘USSR’ Natrajan G receiving award from Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in Chennai. Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, State Minister for Tamil Official Language and Tamil Culture, K Pandiarajan and Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan are present.

Meet ‘USSR’ Natrajan G, secretary of Indo-Russian Cultural and Friendship Society and resident of Vadaplani, who received the remarkable honour, the ‘Tamil Chemmal’ award in February this year, from the Tamilnadu government for his works in Tamil language. Natrajan, who is a close friend of writer Jayakanthan, worked in USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and literary organisations.

News Today caught up with the octogenarian recently to chat him up about his success.
Excerpts:

Q: How did you feel when you were named for the prestigious award?
A: I was happy when I was presented with the ‘Tamil Chemmal’ award by the State government. The award authenticates my work in Tamil language and has made people know what I have done for my native language.

Q: Is the award for any specific work?
A: It is for my translation works that I had done in USSR since 1977. In USSR, my job was to translate books in Russian and other languages into Tamil. Over the years, I translated more than 1 lakh Russian books of different categories into Tamil and made it available for Tamil people.

Q: Do you think awards honour a writer?
A: Never. Awards and honours authenticate a writer’s works. The real honour for a writer is when s/he finds her book on a reader’s shelf.

Q: When was your first encounter with victory?
A: It was during my schooldays. I did my high school at Thiruvalluvar Government School at Sathamangalam. There, I took part in a Thirukural recitation competition, where I rendered all the 1330 Kurals and bagged a fountain pen. This event and victory motivated me later to learn more about the Tamil language.

Q: Have you written any books so far?
A: Yes, I have penned eight books, including Payanangal Mudivathillai featuring my experience in Soviet Union, Engum Sutham Ethilum Sutham highlighting the importance of cleanliness, Nala Manam Vedum, featuring stories for children, Arthamulla Vazhuvuku 60 Vazhigal for everyone.

Q: What is your favourite book and why?
A: My recent book Arthamulla Vazhuvuku 60 Vazhigal is my all-time favourite, since it helps a reader learn more about how to lead a happy life.

Q: How did you find time for all of these activities?
A: I utilised each and every minute of my free hours to learning more about Tamil language and doing literary works.

Q: Any upcoming projects?
A: Yes, I am working on a book dealing with the current problems faced by most people in society. It will be the second part of Arthamulla Vazhuvuku 60 Vazhigal.

Q: Can you tell us why you add ‘USSR’ to your name?
A: It is because former Chief Minister M G Ramachandran used ‘USSR’ during my first meeting with him. During 1977, I had the opportunity to meet MGR to discuss an official matter. I was waiting in his office to meet him and had given my name as ‘Natrajan’ in the reception. I waited for an hour to see him. After the meeting, he asked me to add ‘USSR’ before my name so that people would recognise me easily. From then on, I called myself ‘USSR’ Natrajan.

Natrajan resides at Loganathan Nagar, Second Street, Vadapalani. Ph: 99413 85795.

Balamurugan Selvaraj