Excerpts from reports of U.Ve.Sa’s birth anniversary celebrations.

Exhibition opened in city

Madras, February 19, 1955.

The three-day celebrations in connection with the 101 birthday of the late Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. U.V. Swaminatha Aiyar, commenced last evening with the opening of an exhibition of his works, manuscripts, notes, photographs, etc. by the Chief Minister, Mr. K. Kamaraj Nadar.

The function was held in the premises of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, and was attended by a distinguished gathering.

Mr. K.V. Jagannathan welcomed those present and said that nearly 400 exhibits were kept on show and they would give an idea of the great work that the scholar had done. He had carried on correspondence with a number of learned men and also with men of letters in foreign countries. They were all thankful to Srimathi Rukmani Devi for her keen interest in preserving the tradition left by him, through the Adyar Library. It was but fitting that they honoured the scholar by celebrating his birth centenary.

Declaring open the Exhibition, Mr. Kamaraj Nadar said that Dr. Swaminatha Aiyar had rendered yeoman service to the cause of Tamil, of which Tamilians, not only in this part of the country, but those living in the far corners of the world, should really feel proud. Dr. Swaminatha Aiyar had unearthed the rich treasures in Tamil literature and had brought out many publications for the benefit of the Tamil people.

The Exhibition consists of different sections. The autobiography section contains his diaries, manuscripts of incidents in his life from his boyhood to the last years of his life, his letters and some photographs. His correspondence with foreign authors like G.U. Gope and Julian Vinson, with his won Guru, Sri Meenakshisundarm Pillai, with other scholars like Manonmaneeyam Sundaram Pillai, Poondi Aranganathan Mudaliar, V.O. Chidambaram and others, all very carefully preserved, are also on display. His notes, his compilation of list of Tamil books available with different scholars, a catalogue about musicians and composers, some of his adages and sayings, the innumerable verses he composed and other materials connected with his professional career are also exhibited. A special section is devoted to his labours on Kamba Ramayana. In another section are kept the apparel he wore when he received the title of ‘Mahamahopadyaya,’ the ‘Doctorate’ gown he donned when the degree was conferred on him, the bracelet given to him on the occasion of the conferment of the title, ‘Dakshinadhya Kalanidhi,’ by His Holiness Sri Sankaracharya, his style, pooja utensils and various other personal belongings. The ‘‘sanads’ given at the time of the conferment of the title and the doctorate and also a certificate presented by King Edward VII for recognition of his research and his work in connection with ancient Tamil manuscripts,’ are also kept on show.

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Services to Tamil Praised

Madras, February 21, 1955:

Tributes were paid to the services rendered in the cause of Tamil language and literature by Dr. U.V. Swaminatha Aiyar at a meeting held last evening, at Rajaji Hall in connection with his 101 birthday celebrations. Mr. Sri Prakasa, Governor of Madras, presided.

Mr. C. Subramaniam, Education Minister, welcomed the gathering and said they were fortunate in having Mr. Sri Prakasa, to preside over the function. The Governor, he said, was showing abiding interest in the development of Tamil art and culture. He referred to the services of Dr. Swaminatha Aiyar and said in celebrating his birthday they were reminding themselves of their duties to Tami Nadu and Tamil literature. It must also be remembered that Dr. Aiyar gave a new life to ‘Our language’ when it was despised during the British regime.

Mr. K. Subramaniam read messages wishing the function success from His Holiness Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, the Heads of Dharmapuram, Tiruppanandal and other mutts, Mr. P.S. Kumaraswami Raja, Governor of Orissa, Mr. Natesa Pillai of Colombo, Mr. O.V. Alagesan, Union Deputy Minister, Mr. N.D. Sundaravadivelu, Director of Public Instruction, and others.

Mr. R.P. Sethu Pillai unveiled the portrait of Vidwan Thyagaraja Chettiar, teacher of Dr. U.V. Swaminatha Aiyar, and said Mr. Chettiar was responsible for the renaissance of Tamil literature. Mr. C. Rajagopalachari said they should cherish the memory of Dr. Swaminatha Aiyar as one who revived the glory of Tamil language and literature. What were considered lost once and for all was regained through his untiring and zealous work.

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The pages of the daily in November, 1927, carried extensive reports of the series of ten lectures on Sangham Literature Dr. Swaminatha Iyer delivered under the auspices of Madras University, attended by scholars and illustrious personalities of the presidency.

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