Na Govindasamy



Na Govindasamy (b. 1946, Singapore−d. 26 May 1999) was an educator, writer and an Internet researcher. He started writing in the 1960s. His works, which include plays, dramas and short stories for radio and television, furthered the development of literature in Singapore.1

Govindasamy was also one of the pioneers who made important contributions to the Tamil digital renaissance in the 20th century. He developed the Kanian fonts,2 which made it possible for Indians in any country to exchange information in Tamil over the Internet.3

In 1999, Govindasamy passed away suddenly at the age of 52.4

Education
After completing his tertiary education, Govindasamy joined the Teachers’ Training College before becoming a full-fledged Tamil teacher. After a few years, he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Tamil and became a lecturer at the National Institute of Education.5

Writing career
Govindasamy’s plays focused on social and communal issues faced by the Indian community in the 1960s and 1970s.6 Two of his radio plays, Anbukku Apaal and Alaigal Oyvathillai, were very popular among the masses.

In 1977, Govindasamy initiated the “Ilakkiya Kalam” (Literary Critics’ Circle), a group who gathered and analysed the best stories of the period. Following that, a collection of the best short stories was published.7 He also published Ulloliyai Thedi − a collection of short stories, and a novelette titled Velvi.8

In addition, a research paper done by Govindasamy, titled “The development of Tamil literature in Singapore: From a societal perspective”,9 became the basis for all future research papers and has been cited in many books about Singapore Tamil Literature.10

Major works published
1990: வேள்வி11 (Velvi)
1990: Co-editor, The Fiction of Singapore12
1991: தேடி: நா. கோவிந்தசாமியின் புனைகதைகள்13 (Thedi: Na Govindasamyin Punaikathaigal)
1992: சிங்கப்பூர்த் தமிழ்ச் சிறுகதைகள்14 (Singapore Tamil Sirukathaigal)
1995: Co-editor, Journeys: words, home and nation15

Awards
1967: Govindasamy’s story Kaattaatrin Karaiyinile is awarded first prize in the Singapore Malaysia Short Story Competition organised by Singapore's Tamil daily Tamil Murasu during Tamilar Thirunal.16
1992: National Book Development Council’s award for Thedi, a novelette.17

1994: Southeast Asian Write Award.18



Author
Sundari Balasubramaniam
 



References
1. Lee, S.H. (1994, September 29). NIE lecturer wins SEA Write Award. The Straits Times, p.15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Library Board. (2006). Singapore Literary Pioneers Gallery guide. Singapore: National Library Board Singapore, p. 114. (Call no.: RSING 809 SIN)  
2. Edit in Tamil on Internet. (1996, January 8). The New Paper, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Library Board. (2006). Singapore Literary Pioneers Gallery guide. Singapore: National Library Board Singapore, p. 114. (Call no.: RSING 809 SIN)  
3. Mathi, B. (1996, January 8). Lecturer develops Tamil font for use on Internet. The Straits Times, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Library Board. (2006). Singapore Literary Pioneers Gallery guide. Singapore: National Library Board Singapore, p. 114. (Call no.: RSING 809 SIN)  
4. 858 REQUIEMS 858 REQUIEMS 858 REQUIEMS. (1999, June 9). The Straits Times, p. 54. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Library Board. (2006). Singapore Literary Pioneers Gallery guide. Singapore: National Library Board Singapore, p. 114. (Call no.: RSING 809 SIN)  
5. நா. கோவிந்தசாமி (1946–1999). அறிமுகச் சுருக்கம் (2011). In Krishnan P. et al (Eds.), நா. கோவிந்தசாமி எனும் படைப்பாளி (pp. 18–23). சிங்கப்பூர்: தேசிய நூலக வாரியம். (Call no.: RSING 894.811471 NAK); National Library Board. (2006). Singapore Literary Pioneers Gallery guide. Singapore: National Library Board Singapore, p. 114. (Call no.: RSING 809 SIN)  
6. நா. கோவிந்தசாமி (1946–1999). அறிமுகச் சுருக்கம் (2011). In Krishnan P. et al (Eds.), நா. கோவிந்தசாமி எனும் படைப்பாளி (pp 18–23). சிங்கப்பூர்: தேசிய நூலக வாரியம். (Call no.: RSING 894.811471 NAK); National Library Board. (2006). Singapore Literary Pioneers Gallery guide. Singapore: National Library Board Singapore, p. 114. (Call no.: RSING 809 SIN)  
7. A Mani. (2016). Fifty Years of Singapore Tamil Literature. In Pillai, Gopinath, Kesavapany, K. (Eds.), 50 Years of Indian Community in Singapore (pp. 51–55). Singapore: Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific. (Call no.: RSING 305.89141105957 FIF)
8. Lee. S.H. (1994, September 29). NIE lecturer wins SEA Write Award. The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Library Board. (2006). Singapore Literary Pioneers Gallery guide. Singapore: National Library Board Singapore, p. 114. (Call no.: RSING 809 SIN)  

9. Govindasamy, Na. (1979). சிங்கப்பூர்த் தமிழ் இலக்கிய வளர்ச்சி: ஒரு சமூகவியற் கண்ணோட்டம். In Tamilselvan P.N. et.al. (Eds.), Tamil Language and Literature in Singapore, pp. 24–39. Singapore: University of Singapore Tamil Language Society. (Call no.: RSING 494.811095957 SIN); National Library Board. (2006). Singapore Literary Pioneers Gallery guide. Singapore: National Library Board Singapore, p. 114. (Call no.: RSING 809 SIN)  
10. Harper, T.N. (1999). The end of empire and the making of Malaya, p. 392. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.5105 HAR); National Library Board. (2006). Singapore Literary Pioneers Gallery guide. Singapore: National Library Board Singapore, p. 114. (Call no.: RSING 809 SIN)  
11. கோவிந்தசாமி, நா. (1990). வேள்வி. Singapore: Orchid Publishing House. (Call no.: RSING 894.811371 GOV)
12. Thumboo, E., et al. (Eds.). (1992). The Fiction of Singapore. Singapore: Published under the sponsorship of the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information. (Call no.: RSING 823.008 FIC)
13. கோவிந்தசாமி, நா. (1992). தேடி : நா. கோவிந்தசாமியின் புனைகதைகள். Singapore: Orchid Publishing House. (Call no.: RSING 894.8113 GOV)
14. கோவிந்தசாமி நா, இளங்கோவன் (Ed.). (1992). சிங்கப்பூர்த் தமிழ்ச் சிறுகதைகள். சென்னை : தமிழ்ப் புத்தகாலயம். (Call no.: RSING 894.811371 SIN)
15. Thumboo, E., et al (Eds.). (1995). Journeys: words, home and nation: anthology of Singapore poetry (1984-1995). Singapore: UniPress. (Call no.: RSING 821 JOU)
16. National Library Board. (2006). Singapore Literary Pioneers Gallery guide. Singapore: National Library Board Singapore, p. 114. (Call no.: RSING 809 SIN); ஸ்ரீலக்ஷ்மி M.S. (2009, November). சிங்கப்பூர்த் தமிழ் இலக்கிய முன்னோடிகள் - ஓர் அறிமுகம். வல்லினம், இதழ் 11. Retrieved 2018, 26 November from வல்லினம் website: http://vallinam.com.my/issue11/essay1.html
17. Lee, S. H. (1994, September 29). NIE lecturer wins SEA Write Award. The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Library Board. (2006). Singapore Literary Pioneers Gallery guide. Singapore: National Library Board Singapore, p. 114. (Call no.: RSING 809 SIN) 
18. Lee, S. H. (1994, September 29). NIE lecturer wins SEA Write Award. The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Library Board. (2006). Singapore Literary Pioneers Gallery guide. Singapore: National Library Board Singapore, p. 114. (Call no.: RSING 809 SIN)  



The information in this article is valid as at 19 December 2018 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Literature
Arts>>Literature>>Tamil Literature
Indian writers