A prolific writer, a respected journalist, connoisseur of arts, and a revolutionary, R Krishnamurthy, better known as Kalki, was a literary giant, whose body of work includes Alai Osai, and his famous trilogy, Parthiban Kanavu, Ponniyin Selvan and Sivakamiyin Sabatham. Kalki’s novels, written between 1941-54, belonged to a historical genre, a mix of drama, action, intrigue and passion. He chronicled social issues, where fact and fiction merged to provide the background for his stories.
Kalki to most people is the author of one novel—Ponniyin Selvan, says Gowri Ramnarayan who recently translated his biography which runs into two huge volumes. She undertook this humungous work, not because he was her grandfather, but because he was an amazing writer, whose ideals and work needed to be made available to the English-speaking public. He wore many caps—as freedom fighter with Gandhian ideals, social activist, a man whose powerful pen shaped lives with his words, kindling the spirit of the freedom struggle.