CHENNAI: Chief Minister MK Stalin on Monday said steps were being taken to establish Classical Tamil Chairs at five universities in South Asian countries University of Reunion Island, University of Sumatera Utara, University of Languages and International Studies in Vietnam, and Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.
He was addressing a gathering after presenting the Kalaignar Karunanidhi Semmozhi Tamil awards at the Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT) here. Dr M Rajendran and Dr K Nedunchezhiyan received the award for 2020 and 2021 respectively. The award for the current year was given to Dr Jean-Luc Chevillard, a Tamil scholar from France. He could not attend the function. The award carries a purse of Rs 10 lakh and a citation.
After the Centre declared Tamil as a classical language in 2004, former chief minister the late M Karunanidhi was instrumental in transferring the CICT, which was functioning in Mysore, to Chennai and provided a large parcel of land to build its own building in Perumbakkam. In 2008, he donated Rs 1 crore from his personal funds to establish a Kalaignar Karunanidhi Semmozhi Trust, Stalin recalled.
On the occasion, the CM also released 16 books published by CICT. The books include Tirukkural as the book of the World, Paripatal Text - Transliteration, translations in English verse and prose, Patinen Kilkanakku works, Dravidian comparative grammar - III, and Nalatiyar in Telugu.
Dr Rajendran served in various capacities in TN government for many years. In 2008, he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Tamil University in Thanjavur. He was the coordinator of the academic committee of the World Classical Tamil Conference. He is currently heading the high-level committee on the Tamil Nadu Public Library Act and Rules Amendment. He has written 14 books and published 12. He also serves as the publisher of Kanayazhi, a Tamil literary magazine.
Dr K Nedunchezhiyan has authored many books on Tamils, their past, and their culture. He has been writing about Periyar’s ideals and the Dravidian movement. Dr Jean-Luc Chevillard is a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris. He has more than four decades of experience in Tamil scholarly tradition. His PhD was on Cenavaraiyam, one of the commentaries of Tholkappiyam.
His focus has been on the grammatical and lexicographical texts created over centuries by generations of Tamil scholars to transmit a body of knowledge to students of Tamil poetical idioms. Minister for Tamil Official Language and Tamil Culture Thangam Thennarasu, CICT Vice-Chairman Professor E Sundaramoorthy, and CICT Director R Chandrasekharan were among those present.