When Vellaisamy, himself a fugitive from the law, wanders into the village of Athipatti, he finds a people who are struggling to survive in extreme poverty, without any water for their daily needs. His bold spirit and conviction that there s nothing that human beings cannot achieve motivates them to take positive steps to improve their own future, instead of waiting in vain for government aid. With a new sense of agency, the villagers unite to solve their water problem only to find that the authorities don t approve of such people-led initiatives. The celebrated Tamil play Thaneer Thaneer (1979), which was made into an award-winning film by the same name, explores very contemporary issues like the growing disillusionment of the people with the country s development policies, showing how they serve the interests of an urban elite. Komal Swaminathan was an eminent Tamil playwright who was also a filmmaker and an editor. S. Shankar, the translator, teaches English at Rutgers University, New York. He has been published widely.
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