Tamil Chair at Harvard University


By Vidya Sridhar

HOUSTON: Harvard University has accepted a proposal to set up a “Sangam Tamil Chair” in the Department of South Asian Studies with the focus being on Tamil Sangam Literature and all Tamil literature influenced by it.

Tamil language has ancient literature dating back to around 300 B.C. Tamil is one of the classical languages of the world, with Greek, Sanskrit, Latin, Hebrew, Persian, and Chinese being the others. Apart from Tamil, for other classical languages, there is research and progressive work done at various international academic centers. Tamil is the 20th most commonly-spoken language (by 80 million people) in the world. Tamil literature is a vast field and there are many areas which need to be researched.


Why Harvard?
Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and is considered as one of the celebrated citadels of Higher Education in the world producing many noble prize winners, celebrated scholars and above all many presidents of this country.

Representing many different countries, languages, and research interests, Harvard functions as a premier academic hub, promoting great diversity and intellectual vitality. Harvard has many of the best scholars in the world in its teaching faculty. Being a teaching and research university, Harvard provides great opportunities for Tamil students, scholars and researchers.

The total commitment to Harvard for setting up the Tamil Chair is six million U.S dollars.  Dr. S.T. Sambandam and Dr.V. Janakiraman are the two seed donors who have made $500,000 each are spearheading this effort.

In Houston, a team led by Sam Kannappan is organizing a fund raising event on March 25, at Meenakshi Temple’s Kalyana Mandapam. Three local organizations, Meenakshi Temple Society,Tamil Nadu Foundation and Bharathi Kalai Mandram have joined together to raise fund for this noble cause! The function is scheduled to start at 4:30 pm with a light snacks followed by dinner after the function.

 Your donation to Tamil Chair, Inc. is eligible for tax deduction in the U.S. Encourage your friends and family to join us in setting up this chair. By being part of this great effort, you will become a part of the Tamil history. The checks can be made payable to ‘Tamil Chair Inc’ and mailed to V.K. Dorai, 111 Addison place, Sugar Land, TX 77479. Donations given to Tamil Chair, Inc. are tax deductible. For details contact: athiruvengadam@yahoo.com