My article “IATR and the World Classical Tamil Conference”, published in The Hindu on July 23, 2010, was rightly described by Professor V.C. Kulandaiswamy and Dr. I. Mahadevan in The Hindu on August 7, 2010, as a “requiem for the IATR”. Both these scholars were very active in organising the World Classical Tamil Conference held in Coimbatore this June.
I had argued that the IATR had fulfilled its historical role, because while in its early years there was some justification for its association with the progressive aims of the Dravidian movement, the time had come for it to distance itself from regional political agendas.
For these reasons, I have submitted my resignation as President, IATR, to its Central Council. I am satisfied that under my stewardship the IATR functioned as a “non-political and non-profit making body” (No. 4 in the Articles of Association); that it made a substantial academic contribution to Tamil studies at its Eighth conference held under my presidentship; and that it defended the principle of academic freedom by keeping its independence from the World Classical Tamil Conference held recently in Coimbatore.
As I said in my article, the renaissance of IATR, perhaps in another form, rests on the shoulders of younger, forward looking scholars of Tamil studies.
(Noboru Karashima is Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo.)