The French honour comes to N.S. Ramanuja Thathachariar for his research
Chevalier de la’Legion d'honneur is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte. Today it is France’s highest honour. This year it has been awarded to N.S. Ramanuja Thathachariar for his deep scholarship in Sanskrit.
NSR, as he is known, hails from Navalpakkam from an illustrious family of scholars. He is an acknowledged expert on Nyaya (logic), Vyakharna (grammar), Mimamsa (investigation into the nature of dharma) and Vedanta (philosophical traditions concerned with self-realisation).
Although he began his pursuit of Sanskrit under his father, his formal initiation was at Sri Venkateswara Oriental college, Tirupati. Completing the course with distinction, he then joined the Sri Perumbudur College for pursuing the sironmani course.
Completing his sironmani with distinction, he worked in the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library for many years, bringing several rare manuscripts to light. In 1958, he joined the Deccan College Post – Graduate and Research Institute in Pune where much of his time was spent on the Sanskrit dictionary project. From 1964, he was a lecturer at the Kendriya Vidyapeeta in Tirupati and eventually retired as its Vice-chancellor in 1994.
NSR’s works are several in number and all of them show deep scholarship and an unbiased approach. His works include critical editions, commentaries, independent works and research papers.
Critical editions include those of ‘Tattvachintamani’ of Gangesa and ‘Jnapakasangraha’ of Nagesa.
Commentaries include those on Balabodhini, Bhavabodhini, Rajivollasa and others. His independent works include those that interpret various logic and philosophical texts in Sanskrit. Research papers are also in similar subjects and have enjoyed critical acclaim from scholars across the world.