Dr Jinnah Sherifudeen’s contribution to epic poetry | Sunday Observer

Dr Jinnah Sherifudeen’s contribution to epic poetry

Of the few Sri Lankans who write epic poetry in Tamil in Sri Lanka, Dr Jinnah Sherifudeen, a medical doctor, has written over half a dozen poetry books. He comes from the East where Muslim poets flourish and writes traditional and contemporary poetry and fiction too. He has proved efficiency in writing in every field.

Despite changes in style of writing over the years, he does not want to discard ancient verse forms. He is a lover of the pristine Tamil language and uses the conventional epic mode for his descriptive and narrative poetry. He follows the stringent metrical and rhythmic patterns of an age gone-by.

Since Tamil is one of the living languages from the oldest languages, he feels that the old forms of writing should be preserved irrespective of their intelligibility to contemporary readers.

He doesn’t throw words indeterminately. The poet in him makes him use the right word at the right place and his sensibility is greatly seen in his compositions. Instead of writing commentary for an epic, Jinnah creates epics out of commentaries.

One of his epic poetry is called Thirunabi Kaaviyam, meaning an epic on Prophet Mohammed. This 258-page book has 20-pages of introduction.

The book is not only a valuable addition to Tamil Literature in general, but also an important work in the Islamic culture.

In 1,438 verses, the poet covers the comprehensive life story, the subject in all its varied events. The language he uses is not difficult to understand and is easygoing with beautiful imagery and rhythmic sounds.

The books by Dr Jinnah Sherifudeen are: Paalayil Vassantham (Spring in the Dessert), Muthu Nahai (Pearl Jewel), Pani Malayin Poobalam (Pooblam Raga during Snowfall), Mahjabin Kaaviyam (Epic on Mahjabin), Punitha Bhoomiyilae Kaaviyam An Epic on Serene Land), Piralayam Kanda Pitha (Father who witnessed the Revolt, Thaaikena Vaalntha Thanayan (The son that lived for his mother), Bandaara Vanniyan Kaaviyam (The epic on Bandara Vanniyan), Pettra Manam (The Mind of that bequeathed) and Karuhaatha Pasumai (The Withered Greenery).