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Suryanarayana Sastri's house to be converted into a memorial

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LANDMARK: A view of the house of `Parithimar Kalaignar' in Madurai. Photo: G. Moorthy
LANDMARK: A view of the house of `Parithimar Kalaignar' in Madurai. Photo: G. Moorthy

T. Saravanan

Suryanarayana Sastri sought classical language status for Tamil in 1902 First to seek classical language status for Tamil

MADURAI: The long winding road that breaks off from the highway leads one around the Pasumalai Hill into Vilacheri.

All hands at the village, located at about three km from Pasumalai in the south of the city and better known for its doll making units, point to a renovated house in the Agraharam where Tamil scholar V.G. Suryanarayana Sastri, popularly known as `Parithimar Kalaignar,' was born and lived through his formative years.

The house shot into limelight when the State Government declared to convert it into a memorial and sanctioned a sum of Rs.15 lakh towards nationalising the books authored by the scholar.

The Government's action had come as a mark of respect to the man, who was the first to voice a demand to declare Tamil as a classical language when the British had their stranglehold on the country.

"Different people at different times have sacrificed their lives for the development of Tamil. Of them, `Parithimar Kalaignar' is remembered for his sustained efforts to declare Tamil as a classical language in 1902, when the University of Madras planned to remove Tamil from the syllabus," said V.S. Govindan, grandson of the scholar and retired Tamil professor.

"His contributions for the development of the language are great. Within a short span of time (as he expired at the age of 33 due to tuberculosis) he had authored many books, including those on grammar of drama and history of Tamil language. His profound knowledge and love for the language was well appreciated by experts from different quarters," said Mr. Govindan.

"We have met Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and thanked him for the gesture," he said.

Once converted, the memorial would enliven young minds and inspire them into learning Tamil language with passion. By setting the decision in motion, the Government has once again reaffirmed its commitment to honour those who dedicated their lives for development of Tamil.

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