Vidiyal Pathippagam, a radical publishing house was started by a group of ex-comrades of a revolutionary political movement with Sivagnanam as its founder supported by Dhandapani and Kalyani. Several other comrades and translator V. Govindasamy joined them in this noble cause of disseminating knowledge. It is said that all comrades involved then including Siva were not profit motivated and were dedicated to the cause of publishing radical and revolutionary books – particularly translations.
Vidiyal earned goodwill of the Tamil readers for the titles it published and has been regarded so far as the most sought after publishing house by all those who are concerned with struggle for an egalitarian society and in contributing to social change. Such a reputation was in fact garnered by Vidiyal only because of the translated works published by them and translators served to be the back bone of those publications. Among the many translators contributed for Vidiyal, com. V Govindasamy and com. S. Balachandran were known to be the contributors of a lot of massive political and literary works with their selfless commitment towards knowledge dissemination.
In the due course of time, several altercations arose between Siva and translators, and this unforeseen circumstance resulted in comrades V.Govindasamy and S.Balachandran detaching themselves completely from Vidiyal Pathippagam and both of them intransigently chose to ‘STOP’ giving publishing rights for any translated work – whether it was already published by Vidiyal or not it didn’t matter- to Vidiyal for further publishing. Two other translators who were then attached to vidiyal, namely V. Natraj, Kannan.M (French Institute of Pondicherry) extended their hands of support to Com.V.Govindasamy and Com S.Balachandran and withdrew their involvement with Vidiyal .
The bitter experience from such a ‘principled’ publication as Vidiyal had caused great distress to V.Govindasamy and S. Balachandran and they were in a situation of being unable to attach themselves as full fledged translators to any other publication. Even in that situation they had been collaborating with Bharathi Puthakalayam and New Century Book House in editing and publishing some of the works translated by them and others. Soon the above mentioned progressive publishers are going to publish a few works too. But, despite the warning given by the comrade translators, Vidiyal continued to sell their translated works, many a time doing this without informing them about the number of copies printed, and without any financial compensation for them.
This bungle became widely known amongst the writers, translators and literary circles at a later stage. But, it was said that Sivagnanam was joined by few ‘business men’ who were misguiding him and this proved to be true when Sivagnanam announced that vidiyal Pathippagam was soon to be converted as Vidiyal Trust. Sivagnanam was diagnosed with lung cancer and had been hospitalized. It was at this life ending juncture that he announced that Rajaram ( a businessman), Kannan.M (French Institute of Pondicherry) and Soundaran (businessman), and Sulur Vijayakumar (businessman) were the member trustees of Vidiyal. This came to the shock of many including comrade Kalyani (and her daughter Sumithra) whose family were with Sivagnanam right from the day of its inception of Vidiyal and gave their blood and soul to all its activties . They have raised several doubts about Sivagnanam’s WILL and also opposed Vidiyal being taken over by those ‘trustees’. It is said that some legal actions have been taken by that family. Also news is that Rajaram had verbally abused Kalyani, a lonely widow of the suddeny demised comrade Dhandapani, living in the premises where Vidiyal was functioning earlier, with venomous male chauvinistic words.
Kalyani and family have sought after legal assistance to fight against the injustice done to them.
Having allegedly expropriated Vidiyal Pathippagam and its assets, ‘Trustee-Owner’ Rajaram (&his group of other member trustees) ventured in committing several other fraudulent practices including republishing translated works of one translator with another translators name, altering the original translation in bits & pieces, hoaxing the titles, writing dim-witted blurb’s in an imprudent manner. They continued to republish and sell the already translated works without informing the translators and offering them the due monetary compensations.
Their first such scam was brought to light when they published renown translator com. Ira. Murugavel’s translated work “Oru Poruladhara Adiyalin Oppudhal Vaakkumoolam” (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man) was republished slightly altering its title as “Oru Poruladhara Adiyalin Vaakkumoolam” (dropping the word Oppudhal, meaning confession – and the reworked title would actually mean Statement of an Economic Hit Man!!!). The book was said to be translated by Poppu, but it was very evident that they used Ira. Murugavel’s translation and in pretension of publishing a new translation of the book they did some superficial patchworks that are catchy.
Writer, Translator Ira. Murugavel had filed a case against Vidiyal Pathippagam. Then it is said that they ‘came to line’ with him and were made to bend their knees.
In spite of facing continuous legal charges for their continuous frauds, ‘Trustee-Owner’ Rajaram & Co. continue their uncouth works.
Now they have their eyes on S. Balachandran’s and V. Govindasamy’s translated works. Those works were highly sought after for their extraordinary titles, subject matter and translation. Their translations have in fact earned a reputation and trustworthiness to those books (amongst many other translated works on the same subjects). Vidiyal Publishers, now having lost their reputation and not having any noteworthy, publishable constructive works with them has chosen to republish the comrade translators’ translations in a deceitful manner by following the same pretensions as they already did with Ira. Murugavel’s translation.
This 2nd scam of theirs was conveyed through Kurali Publications, a budding publication from Theni. Kurali was started as a little serious literary magazine about 2 years ago and has now been established as a publishing house. With its selective articles and translations Kurali had also earned a high reputation and trustworthiness and became a sought after little magazine in tamil within a very short period of time.
The Present Continous:
Kurali’s commitment to radical and revolutionary publishing had brought in tandem with comrades like S. Balachandran, Govindasamy and other like-minded people to publish books of importance and high social value. Both S. Balachandran and V. Govindasamy have whole heartedly given publishing rights for their many translated works without demanding a single penny, which again stood testimony to their selfless nature and commitment towards social change.
It was with this background and motive, Kurali stepped into publication. Processes related to publishing their works have been going on for almost a year and are on the verge of completion. As the news spread in the industry now, Kurali had received a phone call from ‘Trustee-Owner’ Rajaram on 13th of September,2014. Though the talk of the phone- call had started as wishing Kurali for its new venture, the intent was to inform that Vidiyal is publishing two translated works of S. Balachandran titled ‘Eriyum Samaveli’ and ‘Pedro Paramo’ written by Juan Rulfo. When Rajaram informed this, Vasumithra, one of the partner of Kurali Publications in turn questioned how it was possible for them to publish those works when Balachandran had given the copyrights for them to be published by Kurali.
The answer given by Rajaram was astounding – “Balachandran cannot claim any rights as it was a product of ‘team-work’ and some corrections of the translations and incorporation of two new short stories in their tamil versions are freshly done by one of the then team members V.Nataraj , “ he said. We told him we would get back to him after discussing with Balachandran. On hearing all this, Balachandran was taken aback and rose to agony and got back to us after discussing with his friend and translator V. Govindasamy with a decision to approach court of law.
When we conveyed this to Rajaram he said, “Okay, you may go ahead and file a case, we don’t bother.” The tone conveyed the arrogance and pride of a ‘Capitalist’ greed after money. It looked like fraud and scam were not new to them and it showed that they are ready to do anything to make money in the name of publishing “revolutionary book with social commitment”. While they boast themselves of publishing radical and revolutionary books that disseminate knowledge to fight against exploitation (primarily capitalism), they are not ashamed of exploiting the translators. Having buried down their conscience- if at all they really had it ever- Vidiyal Pathippagam trustees Rajaram@ Rajaraman,Soundar@ Soundaran,Sulur Vijayakumar and Kannan (French Institute of Pondicherry and their chief collaborator V.Nataraj @ V.Natarajan are not only cheating translators but are also planning to obliterate a budding publishing house with a typical Capitalist Spirit of eliminating competition.
Believing in the past comradeship shared by our comrades with Natraj, we wanted to seek clarification from him whether he was actually involved in this fraud. V. Natraj’s reply was again shocking to us. While S. Balachandran spoke to him V. Natraj had confirmed that he has done translation of the two additional stories. When he was question whether it was morally right on his part to have done this inspite of knowing that vidiyal was going to publish the existing Balachandran’s translation by just adding two new stories, Mr. Natraj confessed that he was doing that as Kannan (French Institute Pondicherry) had asked him to do so. He also added that he will do what Kannan says. Dear People, this is the Ethics of Kannan & other trustees of Vidiyal Pathippagam. It is quite shameful.
Kurali Publication and S. Balachandran have decided to fight for justice by appealing to the court of law. The work is already in progress.
Having exposed the unethical practices of Vidiyal Pathippagam, Kurali appeals to all Book Stores, Publications, BAPPASI and readers to condemn Vidiyal Pathippagam and also request not to support them in any form. And also we appeal to all the writers and translators of the tamil literary world to be with us in fighting against injustice perpetrated on the intellectuals of all milieus by the publishing octopuses of the creed of Vidiyal Pathippagam.