Finance Minister K. Anbazhagan on Sunday hailed the linguistic and literary contributions of Tamil to the composite culture of Asia. Inaugurating a three-day silver jubilee symposium hosted by the Institute of Asian Studies, Mr. Anbazhagan said ancient Tamil had a historicity comparable to Hebrew, and had cast its influence far and wide.
He pointed to linguistic evidence about spiritual leaders like the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma, who hailed from Kancheepuram, being ambassadors of Tamil and expanding the sphere of influence of the language. Researchers also indicate that Lord Buddha too was well acquainted with ancient Tamil, he said.
The Minister launched three publications on the occasion — one on the Tamil-Japanese relationship, another on the heritage of early Christian communities in India and the third on the writings of late DMK founder and former Chief Minister, C.N. Annadurai. In his presidential address at the international symposium on the “Contributions of Tamils to the Composite Culture of Asia,” M. Israel, chairman, Board of Governors, Institute of Asian Studies, said that in spite of the influence of Sanskrit, Tamil had retained its unique identity as a family of languages.
Chennai Mayor M. Subramanian was also present.
G. John Samuel, Director of the Institute, said the symposium aimed to carry out a systematic study of Tamil cultural, linguistic and literary interactions within the broader Asian perspective.
Among those who offered felicitations were Jaroslav Vacek, Czech linguist, Singaravelu Sachithanantham, Malaysian scholar, Tsutomu Kambe, scientist from Japan, Gregory James, Hong Kong-based lexicographer, Joseph Aranha, president, Asian Arts and Cultural Council, U.S., Sanmugadas, Sri Lankan scholar, Wei Luling, Chinese researcher specialising in the Silk Route, and Kim Yong Jun, Korean archaeologist.