(Last Updated on : 01-02-2013)
Viramamunivar was a Tamil Christian poet named Joseph Beschi who came to Tamil Nadu
from Italy and modernized prose in Tamil literature
. He arrived in the Tamil country in order to preach and propagate the ideals of Christianity. Viramamunivar is still renowned even at the present age due to his contributions to Tamil language
and Tamil literature
. He was also amongst the eminent pioneers who developed Tamil Christian Literature
. One of the most outstanding works of the Tamil poet Viramamunivar is entitled the Tempavani, which fetched him enormous fame. He developed and modernized the Tamil nikantus that gave synonyms under several headings, and also composed and developed the first Tamil dictionary titled the Caturakarati. His reform of Tamil scripts is praised even now for its utility.
Viramamunivar also reformed the existing two short and two long vowels, which existed at the time, to their current form. His reform of Tamil scripts
is praised even now for its utility. Other than composing the Tempavani, Joseph Beschi wrote other literary works in Tamil language including the Tirukkavalur Kalampakam and the Kitteriyammal Ammanai. Tonnia Vilakkam, a grammatical work composed by the author, is considered as the one of the most significant works and thus several established scholars have renamed the work as the Kuttit Tolkappiam, after the famous grammatical work Tolkappiyam
. Further more, the Tamil Christian poet Viramamunivar analysed the differences between spoken and literary Tamil and composed two different grammatical works titled Kotuntamil Illakkanam and Centamil Ilakkanam respectively. He also translated the Tirukkural and the Tonnul Vilakkam into Latin.
The Italian poet and author also composed some prose works in Tamil language. Paramartta Kuruvin Katai, a humorous composition, is perhaps the most popular works among them. It is a compilation of amusing and funny short stories that were written much before the appearance of short story as a genre in Tamil literature. Viramamunivar constructed a book of ethics known as Vetiyar Olukkam, for the seminaries. It was translated into both Kannada and Telugu. Amongst the other major works in prose written by Joseph Beschi or Viramamunivar, the most noteworthy are Petamaruttal, Veto Vilakkam and Nanak Kannati. Among them the Nanak Kannati was rendered into Kannada.
The epic work of Tempavani elaborately describes the many tales which are related to the life of Lord Jesus Christ
together with other traditional accounts, composed in 3615 verses. The Tempavani contains many lines and phrases which are found in the works of Kambaramayanam
and he followed the convention of epic works in Tamil literature such as the Kambaramayanam and the Periya Puranam