Dr. M. Rajendran, Vice-Chancellor of Tamil University, Thanjavur, has sent this response to Professor Noboru Karashima's article, ‘IATR and the World Classical Tamil Conference,' published in The Hindu of July 23, 2010:

The following clarification is offered with particular reference to the publication and distribution of the Proceedings volumes of the 8th World Tamil Conference held in 1995.

Prof. Karashima had made a proposal to the Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on 6-8-2006 outlining how and by whom the volumes might be sold and to whom the proceeds should be paid.

In this letter, he had stated, among other things, the following:

“As IATR does not have any physical infrastructure for disseminating the volumes to scholars and the public, I request that the Government of Tamil Nadu may kindly permit Tamil University, Thanjavur, which hosted the conference and took efforts in the publication of the proceedings and the International Institute of Tamil Studies, Chennai, which was conceived as the academic wing of IATR, to store and sell the volumes on behalf of IATR under terms and conditions mutually agreed upon by IATR and these two institutions.

“Since the expenses for the publication were met from the conference fee of the delegates to IATR, I request that the Government of Tamil Nadu please issue an order that the balance of the collected money, after deducting publication expenses and also the proceeds from the sale of the volumes after deducting expenses relating to the sale of publication, may be handed over to IATR for the use of its programmes and activities. IATR has plans to make it more visible and more actively encourage research in all aspects of Tamil including its classical aspect.

“May I take this opportunity to request that the Government of Tamil Nadu purchase the volumes (released in 2006 though the publication date is given as 2005) to the public libraries in the State at cost price in order for the fruits of scholarly research on Tamil to reach common people.”

After internal consultations among the concerned institutions, the Tamil Nadu Government issued a G.O. on 23-09-2009, approving in full Prof. Karashima's proposals.

Tamil University had sent the volumes to the International Institute of Tamil Studies (IITS) on 28-07-2008, i.e. even before the issue of the above G.O.

Department of School Education issued implementing instructions through its G.O dated 22-02-2010. Excluding 130 copies earmarked for free distribution, it was decided that the Directorate of Public Libraries should purchase 870 sets at a total cost of Rs. 12.18 lakh, and remit it to IITS, for eventual remittance to IATR. Prof. Karashima was also informed of this situation.

In line with the G.O. dated 22-2-2010, the 870 sets were handed over to the Department of Public Libraries and distributed to various libraries.

In the light of the foregoing, it is somewhat intriguing and regrettable that Prof. Karashima has chosen to state in his article that “the Proceedings volumes of the 8{+t}{+h} IATR conference held in Thanjavur 1995 still remain in Tamil University without distribution.”

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