It has 2,000 articles with information on India in general and Tamil Nadu in particular
The Chief Minister announces purchase of 1,500 copies by State Government Higher Education Department will buy 500 copies for college libraries
CHENNAI: One of the world's biggest repositories of information is now available in Tamil, with a distinct south Asian flavour.
With Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi launching the Tamil translation of the Concise Encyclopaedia Brittanica, brought out by the Vikatan Group of Publications, history of a kind was created on Saturday.
The three-volume Tamil Brittanica offers much more than the original: it has 2,000 articles with information on India in general and Tamil Nadu in particular. Information on Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia too find a lot of space.
Responding to the spirit of the occasion, Mr. Karunanidhi immediately announced the purchase of 1,500 copies by the State Government, 1,000 by the School Education Department for use in libraries and 500 by the Higher Education Department for college libraries.
"I would have been surprised only if the Vikatan group had not undertaken this," Mr. Karunanidhi said, recalling his long association with the late S.S. Vasan, founder of the group. Despite political differences, a strong love for Tamil bound him to the Vikatan family. The Tamil Brittanica should go global, he said.
N. Mahalingam, chairman, Sakthi group of companies, received the first copy.
S. Balasubramanian, the group chairman, said an earlier effort by his father S.S. Vasan at bringing out a 2,000-page Tamil dictionary in 1935 had to be given up, and it was only now that the Vikatan group could bring out a Tamil encyclopaedia.
The encyclopaedia was the product of a committed team effort, said B. Srinivasan, the group's managing director. Efforts were on to add an English index to the three-volume set. The encyclopaedia was available at concessional rates for those who had booked earlier, he said. The Tamil encyclopaedia was expected to match the sales of the Malayalam translation, which had sold 30,000 copies.
Later, speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Srinivasan said efforts were on to take the encyclopaedia online and bring out a compact disc. The project would be completed later this year.
The DMK Government was committed to the development of Tamil literature and had announced the setting up of a Rs.1,000-crore international library in the State, School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu said.
The concise encyclopaedia was a milestone in the development of Tamil, and the Vikatan group should strive to translate the entire encyclopaedia, Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy said.
The encyclopaedia contained information on all State Chief Ministers, Sangam classics and ancient Tamil sports, and care had been taken to maintain accuracy, Sudha Seshaiyan, who headed the editorial team of the encyclopaedia, said.
Among those who offered felicitations were K.M. Thomas, managing director, Encyclopaedia Brittanica (India) Ltd., social worker Sarojini Varadhappan and poets Abdul Rahman, Vairamuthu and Vaali. The encyclopaedia set, priced at Rs.4,000, will be available at a concessional price of Rs. 1,999 until April-end for those who had booked copies earlier. For bookings made till May-end, the set will be available for Rs. 2,500.