KOCHI: It was in October this year that the University of Tubingen in Germany announced constitution of the Gundert Chair at the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies under it. The Chair, constituted in collaboration with the Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University, will focus on academic and research programmes in Malayalam language. One month after launch of the Gundert Chair, the Malayalam University is in the limelight again, by holding talks with national level and international universities for launching academic programmes in Malayalam.
“After the successful tie-up with University of Tubingen, we approached the other universities in Germany and received positive response from many of them to the idea of starting Malayalam courses and research programmes. We also held informal talks with the University of Edinburgh in the UK and some universities in the US. However, constituting a Chair for Malayalam in the US and UK is a costly affair,” said Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University Vice Chancellor K Jayakumar.
He said that some of the universities at the national level had shown interest in constituting Chair for Malayalam. When asked why the University of Tubingen was chosen for its research programme, Jayakumar said the institution was sitting on a treasure of works by Herman Gundert, who contributed immensely to Malayalam language.
According to him, the research programmes undertaken by the Malayalam University will benefit from the tie-up. The University of Tubingen has revealed that Gundert had bequeathed his personal, academic and research works to its library, and that the guest faculty provided by the Malayalam University would help it work through such historical monographs and manuscripts. Its association with the Kerala partner would help in developing teaching materials for foreign students of Malayalam.
Who is gundert?
■ Dr Herman Gundert was a German missionary, scholar and linguist who came to India in 1836 and lived in Kerala for over 20 years. He worked primarily at Tellicherry on the Malabar coast
■ He wrote the first Malayalam-English dictionary and compiled a Malayalam grammar book Malayalabhaasha Vyakaranam
■ He is held in high regards in Kerala for his scholarly work
Online Language Course for NRIs
Kochi: Sensing the pulse of non-resident Indians (NRIs), especially Malayalis, the Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University, Tirur, has decided to launch an online course of about 100-120 hours on ‘Malayalam Language and the Culture and Literature of Kerala.’
“More than issuing certficates after completion of the course that, our aim is to familiarise interested NRIs with the richness and diversity of Malayalam language and the culture of Kerala. It would be like a second generation ‘ghar wapsi’,” said Vice-Chancellor K Jayakumar.
Though structuring of the online course is at a nascent stage, it has been decided to impart 20-hour training in Malayalam language, 40-hour training in Kerala culture and 50-hour training in Malayalam literature. “Though the original plan was to launch the course on the ‘Kerala Piravi’ day, we had to drop it as some of the details are yet to be worked out. Now, it is expected that the programme would be launched on January 1, 2016,” said Jayakumar.
It is learnt that the course will not be limited to lectures, but will have many interesting features like documentary classes. The sessions will touch upon topics outside the syllabus to make them interesting. Through the initiative, the university expects to attract significant revenues from overseas.