In recognition of the untiring and eminent services rendered to Tamil language, eighty-year-old Professor Francois Gros was handed over the Indian President’s Kural Peedam award for the year 2008-2009 for Classical Tamil studies at a function organised at the French institute in Puducherry on Friday.
The award carrying a citation and `5 lakh, was handed over to Gros by Gnanamoorthy, director-in-charge of the Central Institute of Classical Tamil, Chennai, in presence of the Consul General of France in Puducherry, Pierre Fournier.
Prof Gros, a researcher at the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP) was earlier presented the award in absentia by the President Pranab Mukherjee on December 21, 2012, at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi, which he could not attend owing to health reasons.
Later, addressing the gathering Professor Gros said that classical Tamil needed to be kept alive in modern age to understand tradition, culture and value.
The function was attended by French Institute director, Dr Pierre Grard and staff.
Gros was closely associated with the activities of the French Institute (l’Institut Français) of Pondicherry over a long period of time in Tamil classical literature.
He was involved in the translation of ‘Paripatal’, a text of ancient corpus called Sangam, (Prix Saintour 1969 of l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres) and Livre de l’Amour de Tiruvalluvar (1992), and Tamil Saiva devotion in its various aspects.
He also studied and translated poetry and iconography of Karaikkalammaiyar, Tevaram (1984, edition under the patronage of UNESCO), Periya Puranam (2001), fundamental text of medieval literature, and the works of Arunagirinatar (1980), lyrical expression of a bilingual regional culture, Tamil and Sanskrit.
He was deeply interested in integrating archaeology and study of monuments with history, through epigraphy and environment. In the year 1970, he produced a monograph on Uttaramerur.
In the year 1980, he launched a multidisciplinary project on Tiruvannamalai mobilising the resources of Pondicherry and his associates for fifteen years, and later in 1985 he launched a project on the Kaveri valley.