Staff Reporter

PUDUCHERRY: The books that Tamil scholar T. V. Gopala Iyer thumbed for reference for over 30 years at the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient (EFEO) in Puducherry no longer would feel his touch.

The pundit taught at St Peter's High School, Tanjavur and Sivakami Iyer High School in Thirukattupalli. He was also Principal of Raja's College in Tiruvaiyar and teacher and scholar at the EFEO. He breathed his last on April 1 in Srirangam after a brief illness. A gathering of friends, colleagues and students, led by the Director of the French Institute Jean Pierre Muller, paid homage to Gopala Iyer on Wednesday and recalled the work that he had done at the EFEO.

Having been brought into the institute by former director Francois Gros in 1978, he had edited more than 20 books on Tamil literature including Thevaram, Tholkappiyam and Periya Thirumozhi and Maaran Ahapporul.

He brought out editions of `Ilakkana Vilakkam' in seven volumes and the `Ilakana Kootu'.

His colleague and an expert on inscriptions, Vijaya Venugopal recalled how for 13 years Gopala Iyer visited the Thiruvaamur temple when the Sadhayam star was in the ascent each month, which was said to be Appar's birth star.

Arivunambi, Head, Department of Tamil, Vaishnava expert Varadadesikan and professor Jean Deloche of the French Institute were also present.