T.K. Ramanuja Kavirajar was born to Kallapiran and Arasalwar on 25.12.1905 in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. Born in a traditional Hindu family, Kavirajar was intensely trained in Nalayira Divya Prabandham a divine collection of 4000 hymns on Lord Vishnu sung by the mystic Alwars. Thiruparkadal Kavirayar, who was his maternal grandfather, is credited to have rendered this tutoring to Kavirajar at a very tender age. Thus the poet was exposed to both spirituality and classic poetry at one stroke.
His creative career made an early start while he was in school at Tirunelveli. Kavirajar was studying his ninth standard when he pencilled his first poem in chaste Tamil on nature. The poet displayed similar prowess in English as well.
Before he finished his schooling he had mastered all of the works of Shakespeare and that of the Tamil poet Kamban. He was also fond of astronomy and talented in music. Like most famed poets he met with the downside of life at an early age. Both his mother and grandmother passed away when he was 14. He was adopted by his maternal uncle Kasinivendhan Kavirayar during his graduation days. Interestingly it is accounted that Kavirajar was reading the chapter on adoption from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations when it actually happened to him in life. Luckily for him, his ‘Great Expectations’ were met but not without toil.
|Happy be the Christmas day
With sincere love and reverence pray
When the lord our saviour Christ was born
To save frail man from sin forlorn
|The star was bright and winds full blew
In radiant light good angels flew
And spoke to shepherds on the lawn
Strewn with dew like pearls that shone
|No Palace great or lordly dome
Our saviour chose for his happy home
For sin is there in lofty pride
Trampling down the toiling tide