Campaign for Tamil Chair gains pace

Pledging support:Justice N. Kirubakaran (seventh from left) releasing a CD containing the theme song for the Harvard Tamil Chair, in Chennai on Saturday. Cardiologist Vijay Janakiraman and industrialist Palani Periyasamy are receiving it.— Photo: V. Ganesan  

Members of the civil society, including judges of the Madras High Court, doctors, actors and Tamil writers, on Saturday came together seeking funds to establish the first Sangam Professorship in Tamil Studies at Harvard University.

The effort will cost around Rs. 40 crore and two US-based doctors hailing from Tamil Nadu began the initiative with a contribution of Rs. 3.5 crore each.

A DVD and an audio CD of the theme song for Harvard Tamil Chair were released at the event. Speaking after the launch, Madras High Court judge N. Kirubakaran said it was not enough if Tamil was given classical status in India. The greatness of the language must be taken to the world and this was an opportunity for that, he added. He urged educationists, industrialists and film actors and their fans to contribute generously.

Former Madras High Court judge K. Chandru said if Tamil thrived today, it couldn’t be without the support of Tamils who lived abroad, adding that if they required money, it was the duty of every Tamil to support the cause. He said since politics had a role in education in Tamil Nadu, it would be better if the Chair was away from this kind of politics.

Madras High Court Judge M. M. Sundresh said Tamil was a way of life, not just a language. For the Tamils, the language was equivalent to God. Citing the story of king Adhiyaman presenting a gooseberry to Avvai so that she, who represented Tamil, would live long, he said the language lived beyond kingdoms and dynasties.

Appreciating the efforts of cardiologist Vijay Janakiraman and oncologist S. T. Sambandam, actor Sivakumar urged Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to ensure Tamil was taught to all students in the State till Class 12.

Chairman, Kasturi and Sons, N. Ram, who pledged The Hindu ’s support for the initiative, appreciated the effort of the doctors. He quoted Sanskrit professor Sheldon Pollock of Colombia University who said “one should not wait until the house is burning to dig a well, and the house of Indian classical language study is not only burning, it is almost in ashes.” Mr. Ram said that Tamil Chair Inc was expecting funds for the effort from the government.

Writer S. Ramakrishnan, who cited the example of the Roja Muthiah library that has had support from Chicago University, said that like Jews had come together to sponsor a Chair for Hebrew, Tamils should chip in for setting up the chair in Tamil.

M. Arumugam, managing director, Broadline Technologies, S. Ramalingam, National president, Energy and Fuel Users’ Association of India, orator K. Gnanasambandam and hotelier Palani Periyasamy graced the occasion.

Those willing to contribute for this effort can do so at Details can be had during working days 044-26411766 or 044-28333083 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 10:56:08 PM |

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