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Harvard - "Sangam Tamil Chair"

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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 Chair Inc. is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization set up specifically to collect funds for the establishment of the Tamil Chair. Donations given to Tamil Chair, Inc. are tax deductible.

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Harvard - "Sangam Tamil Chair"

  1. 1. Tamil Chair, Inc. | 4113 Tiber Falls Drive | Ellicott City, MD 21043 | Tel. 443.854.0181 | Tax ID: 47-5021758 www.harvardtamilchair.com | https://www.facebook.com/HarvardTamilChair/ | tamilchair@gmail.com யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் ரேளிர் | All land is home. All men, kith and kin. தமிழ் இருக்கை Tamil CHAIR Tamil Chair Inc. – Board Dr. விஜய் ஜானகிராமன் Dr. Vijay Janakiraman kvjanakiraman@gmail.com Dr. சுந்தரரசன் சம்பந்தம் Dr. Sundaresan Sambandam sambandam10@gmail.com திருமதி. கைரதகி ஹெர்ஹபர்ட் Mrs. Vaidehi Herbert kavini100@gmail.com திரு. பால் பாண்டியன் Mr. Paul Pandian ppandian@transglobaltech.com முகனைர் ஹசார்ணம் சங்ைர் Dr. Sornam Sankar sornam@gmail.com திரு. அப்பாதுகர முத்துலிங்ைம் Mr. Appadurai Muttulingam amuttu@gmail.com திரு. குமார் குமரப்பன் Mr. Kumar Kumarappan kkumar11@gmail.com முகனைர் ஆறுமுைம் முருகையா Dr. Arumugam Murukiah arumugam13@gmail.com Contents and purpose Dear Patron: You must have heard about the efforts to establish a “Tamil Chair” at Harvard University. This has been in the news media and/or the social media involving India/Tamil. This package presents you with more background material on the proposed Harvard Tamil Chair. This folder includes the following material: 1. A Solicitation letter – An introduction to the subject and a plea to your intellect and rationale, to join hands to move this project forward. 2. About Harvard with reference to Tamil Chair – With a focus on their language programs and their endorsement for a Tamil Chair. 3. About Tamil language – A crisp and short linguistic outlook. 4. Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ about the Harvard Tamil Chair Project. We would much appreciate you taking the time to review these materials and promote this effort among your contacts. We value your questions and suggestions. In addition, we look forward for you to join hands and make a contribution to support this cause. Thanking you, The Board Harvard Tamil Chair
  2. 2. Tamil Chair, Inc. | 4113 Tiber Falls Drive | Ellicott City, MD 21043 | Tel. 443.854.0181 | Tax ID: 47-5021758 www.harvardtamilchair.com | https://www.facebook.com/HarvardTamilChair/ | tamilchair@gmail.com யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் ரேளிர் | All land is home. All men, kith and kin. தமிழ் இருக்கை Tamil CHAIR Tamil Chair Inc. – Board Dr. விஜய் ஜானகிராமன் Dr. Vijay Janakiraman kvjanakiraman@gmail.com Dr. சுந்தரரசன் சம்பந்தம் Dr. Sundaresan Sambandam sambandam10@gmail.com திருமதி. கைரதகி ஹெர்ஹபர்ட் Mrs. Vaidehi Herbert kavini100@gmail.com திரு. பால் பாண்டியன் Mr. Paul Pandian ppandian@transglobaltech.com முகனைர் ஹசார்ணம் சங்ைர் Dr. Sornam Sankar sornam@gmail.com திரு. அப்பாதுகர முத்துலிங்ைம் Mr. Appadurai Muttulingam amuttu@gmail.com திரு. குமார் குமரப்பன் Mr. Kumar Kumarappan kkumar11@gmail.com முகனைர் ஆறுமுைம் முருகையா Dr. Arumugam Murukiah arumugam13@gmail.com Join hands to make Harvard Tamil Chair a reality A TV ad begins with a man calling out, ‘I have travelled the seven seas and seen different people’. He continues describing them all, yet concludes, ‘we are more alike my friend, than unlike’. How true. The world urban centers are evolving towards a universal culture, with just minor differences influenced by local settings. Somewhere in that stitched together tapestry of universal culture would be found traces of wisdom contributed by different ancient cultures. Tamil deserves to find a place there. But it will happen only if there is a concerted effort towards that realization. Tamil Sangam literature, most of it being over 2,000 years old, is our earliest literature, stemming from ancient oral poetry. The literature is a vast storehouse of information about a way of living in ancient Tamil Nadu, that could well have been anywhere in the world. Yet, the global reach of Tamil literature is so limited, that it makes one feel that it is the best kept secret in the world. For its ancient and Classical standing, Tamil literature deserves to be critically looked and shared across other cultures for mutual benefits. There is another responsibility to us, Global Tamils. There is now a substantial Tamil population here in US, Canada and Europe. Future generations of Tamils in these places, would subconsciously look for an identity; search the depth of their heritage, to associate with and feel pride in, just like other ethnicities do in these open, beautiful, diverse countries. We need to give these kids a handle to latch on to their rich heritage with pride. What better way than a Tamil Chair at Harvard University. Harvard University, the celebrated citadel of Higher Education for Global community, has approved a Sangam Tamil Chair Endowment. This can function as a premier academic hub, providing a platform for the needed diversity and intellectual vitality to promote Tamil. The amount needed to create this endowment is six million dollars. Physicians Dr. Janakiraman and Dr. Sambandam have each donated half a million dollars. The Tamil community all over the world has started to collect the remaining five million dollars. Tamil Chair Inc. was formed as a fund raising committee to accomplish the establishment of this endowment. This is a project for all of us. We invite you and request to join hands with your generous donation and other forms of help, to make Harvard Tamil Chair a reality.
  3. 3. Tamil Chair, Inc. | 4113 Tiber Falls Drive | Ellicott City, MD 21043 | Tel. 443.854.0181 | Tax ID: 47-5021758 www.harvardtamilchair.com | https://www.facebook.com/HarvardTamilChair/ | tamilchair@gmail.com யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் ரேளிர் | All land is home. All men, kith and kin. தமிழ் இருக்கை Tamil CHAIR Tamil Chair Inc. – Board Dr. விஜய் ஜானகிராமன் Dr. Vijay Janakiraman kvjanakiraman@gmail.com Dr. சுந்தரரசன் சம்பந்தம் Dr. Sundaresan Sambandam sambandam10@gmail.com திருமதி. கைரதகி ஹெர்ஹபர்ட் Mrs. Vaidehi Herbert kavini100@gmail.com திரு. பால் பாண்டியன் Mr. Paul Pandian ppandian@transglobaltech.com முகனைர் ஹசார்ணம் சங்ைர் Dr. Sornam Sankar sornam@gmail.com திரு. அப்பாதுகர முத்துலிங்ைம் Mr. Appadurai Muttulingam amuttu@gmail.com திரு. குமார் குமரப்பன் Mr. Kumar Kumarappan kkumar11@gmail.com முகனைர் ஆறுமுைம் முருகையா Dr. Arumugam Murukiah arumugam13@gmail.com Harvard University Harvard University is the oldest university in the United States. Harvard University was established in 1636 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was named after its first benefactor John Harvard. The main campus is 209 acres large. In addition, it has many teaching centers in Boston. Harvard's alumni include eight U.S. presidents, several foreign heads of state, 62 living billionaires, 335 Rhodes Scholars, and 242 Marshall Scholars. To date, 150 Nobel laureates, 18 Fields Medalists and 13 Turing Award winners have been affiliated as students, faculty, or staff. At Harvard University, there are chairs to teach the other classical languages Greek, Sanskrit, Latin, Hebrew, Persian and Chinese. Tamil literature, which reached heights many centuries before Christ needs to be taught and researched at Harvard. Harvard University has endorsed the idea of a Tamil Chair in their Department of South Asian Studies. The following note, was part of a letter received from Harvard University: “We are very pleased to convey to you our desire to support the establishment of the first Sangam Professorship in Tamil Studies at Harvard University. We are thrilled to work with the Tamil community towards this shared goal. This effort will require a total commitment of $6 million”. The above note reflects Harvard University’s commitment to the Tamil Chair, while needing the Tamil community to raise the funds needed for that endowment. Harvard University maintains a WEB page for the ‘Sangam Professorsip for Tamil at Harvard University’ at: http://sangamprofessorship.fas.harvard.edu/
  4. 4. Tamil Chair, Inc. | 4113 Tiber Falls Drive | Ellicott City, MD 21043 | Tel. 443.854.0181 | Tax ID: 47-5021758 www.harvardtamilchair.com | https://www.facebook.com/HarvardTamilChair/ | tamilchair@gmail.com யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் ரேளிர் | All land is home. All men, kith and kin. தமிழ் இருக்கை Tamil CHAIR Tamil Chair Inc. – Board Dr. விஜய் ஜானகிராமன் Dr. Vijay Janakiraman kvjanakiraman@gmail.com Dr. சுந்தரரசன் சம்பந்தம் Dr. Sundaresan Sambandam sambandam10@gmail.com திருமதி. கைரதகி ஹெர்ஹபர்ட் Mrs. Vaidehi Herbert kavini100@gmail.com திரு. பால் பாண்டியன் Mr. Paul Pandian ppandian@transglobaltech.com முகனைர் ஹசார்ணம் சங்ைர் Dr. Sornam Sankar sornam@gmail.com திரு. அப்பாதுகர முத்துலிங்ைம் Mr. Appadurai Muttulingam amuttu@gmail.com திரு. குமார் குமரப்பன் Mr. Kumar Kumarappan kkumar11@gmail.com முகனைர் ஆறுமுைம் முருகையா Dr. Arumugam Murukiah arumugam13@gmail.com Tamil Literature The beginnings of Sangam Literature, the earliest extant literature of the Tamil language has its beginnings around 300 B.C., preceded by a long oral tradition. This literature containing 18 books spans about 500 years. Tholkāppiyam, the ancient grammar and rules book laid down the rules for the literature. The literature is a record of the Tamil culture, in addition to epigraphical evidences. There are accounts and observations of Greek and Roman writers like the author of Periplus (A.D. 70), Pliny (A.D. 78), and Ptolemy (A.D. 140), which have elaborate descriptions of many cities and ports in the Tamil country. The Sri Lankan king Gajabāhu I and Chēran Chenguttuvan of Pathitruppathu were contemporaries. King Gajabāhu reigned from 173 to 195 A.D. Iravatham Mahadevan has shown that the inscriptions at Pukalūr, which can be dated to 200 A.D. mentions the names of Chera kings who appear in the literature. Kamil Zvelebil, the Czechoslovakian Sankrit and Tamil scholar wrote “By virtue of its literary excellence, those 26,250 lines of poetry promote Tamil to the rank of one of the great classical languages of the world.” A. K. Ramanujan’s words "These poems are 'classical,' i.e., early, ancient; they are also 'classics,' i.e., works that have stood the test of time, the founding works of a whole tradition. Not to know them is not to know a unique and major poetic achievement of Indian civilization" proclaim loudly the status of Sangam poetry. The literature has two major divisions, the Akam and the Puram. The Akam poems which are about 75% of the literature are about love and relationship between a man and a woman. The Puram poems are about kings, bards, poets, artists, warriors, battles, brave women etc. The poets, both men and women, came from all backgrounds - kings, noble men, learned men, doctors, businessmen, teachers, metal smiths, goldsmiths, cattle herders etc. The literature is also nature poetry since it has elaborate information about the fauna and flora of the Tamil country. The Sangam poets never lost sight of the physical world around them. Keenly observing nature, they brought to life the fauna and flora, and used them effectively in almost every poem, to reveal human emotions, thereby creating beautiful vignettes. In addition, one can read about music and arts, metal work, planets, constellations, huge houses and palaces, export and import, Greek traders and mercenaries, friendships between kings and poets and many other interesting topics. The Sangam literature laid the basis for all later works. The Saivite and Vaishnavite poets drew heavily from Sangam. So did Thiruvalluvar and all other later poets. The influence can still be seen in modern poetry.
  5. 5. Tamil Chair, Inc. | 4113 Tiber Falls Drive | Ellicott City, MD 21043 | Tel. 443.854.0181 | Tax ID: 47-5021758 www.harvardtamilchair.com | https://www.facebook.com/HarvardTamilChair/ | tamilchair@gmail.com யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் ரேளிர் | All land is home. All men, kith and kin. தமிழ் இருக்கை Tamil CHAIR Tamil Chair Inc. – Board Dr. விஜய் ஜானகிராமன் Dr. Vijay Janakiraman kvjanakiraman@gmail.com Dr. சுந்தரரசன் சம்பந்தம் Dr. Sundaresan Sambandam sambandam10@gmail.com திருமதி. கைரதகி ஹெர்ஹபர்ட் Mrs. Vaidehi Herbert kavini100@gmail.com திரு. பால் பாண்டியன் Mr. Paul Pandian ppandian@transglobaltech.com முகனைர் ஹசார்ணம் சங்ைர் Dr. Sornam Sankar sornam@gmail.com திரு. அப்பாதுகர முத்துலிங்ைம் Mr. Appadurai Muttulingam amuttu@gmail.com திரு. குமார் குமரப்பன் Mr. Kumar Kumarappan kkumar11@gmail.com முகனைர் ஆறுமுைம் முருகையா Dr. Arumugam Murukiah arumugam13@gmail.com Frequently Asked Questions What does a chair mean? An endowed chair is an academic unit under a specific department in an institution of higher education to teach and research, with the financial support of donors and it lasts in perpetuity. What is Tamil Chair, Inc.? 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 Chair Inc. is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization set up specifically to collect funds for the establishment of the Tamil Chair. Donations given to Tamil Chair, Inc. are tax deductible. What is the need for a Tamil Chair? 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. The Tamil language has had a continuous and vibrant literary history which continues to this day. Tamil is the 20th most commonly-spoken language (by 80 million people) in the world. Today, Tamil is spoken in many countries of the world. Tamil literature is a vast field and there are many areas which need to be researched. Tamil needs to be taught at institutions where other classical languages of the world are taught. Also, there are many Tamils from all over the world who attend Harvard University. They had expressed an interest to learn Tamil and so it is taught there at a basic level. It is a matter of prestige for the Tamil community to set up a Tamil chair at the oldest and most reputed academic institution in the United States. It will also help produce Tamil scholars who will be trained in modern research methodologies. For other classical languages, there is research and progressive work done at various international academic centers. It is quite urgent and highly imperative that the same attention be given to the Tamil language. It will
  6. 6. Tamil Chair, Inc. | 4113 Tiber Falls Drive | Ellicott City, MD 21043 | Tel. 443.854.0181 | Tax ID: 47-5021758 www.harvardtamilchair.com | https://www.facebook.com/HarvardTamilChair/ | tamilchair@gmail.com யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் ரேளிர் | All land is home. All men, kith and kin. தமிழ் இருக்கை Tamil CHAIR enhance the chances for its continual use and growth, and also gain global recognition. This chair at Harvard could become the guiding light for other institutions that are engaged in Tamil studies and research. Is Sangam literature the only Tamil that will be in focus? No. Sangam literature, other Tamil literature and contemporary Tamil will be studied/researched/taught. Since Sangam literature is the basis of all later Tamil literature including our bhakthi literature, all related literature will also be taught. Why at Harvard? Harvard University, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, established in 1636, 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. It has produced many U.S. presidents, noble prize winners and celebrated scholars. 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. Are students interested in learning Tamil at Harvard? Yes. There are currently 29 students who are taught Tamil by Mr. Jonathan Ripley, who was trained by Dr. Norman Cutler, University of Chicago. Mr. Ripley lived in Tamil Nadu for 2.5 years. These students approached Harvard University requesting Tamil studies and the university hired Mr. Ripley as a preceptor to teach Tamil. Currently, there is not a professorship for Tamil. About half a million Tamils live in North America and Harvard University has a few hundred Tamil students. There are about 50 accredited Tamil schools in the U.S. and many students will take up Tamil studies at a higher level if offered. How long will Harvard teach Tamil? Once the Chair is endowed, Tamil will be taught there in perpetuity.
  7. 7. Tamil Chair, Inc. | 4113 Tiber Falls Drive | Ellicott City, MD 21043 | Tel. 443.854.0181 | Tax ID: 47-5021758 www.harvardtamilchair.com | https://www.facebook.com/HarvardTamilChair/ | tamilchair@gmail.com யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் ரேளிர் | All land is home. All men, kith and kin. தமிழ் இருக்கை Tamil CHAIR Who is spearheading this fundraising effort? Dr. S.T. Sambandam and Dr.V. Janakiraman are the two seed donors who have made generous donations. They are spearheading this effort. They approached Harvard University and obtained approval in July 2015 to establish a Tamil chair. Dr. Janakiraman (hails from Vadakandam, Thiruvarur) is a practicing Cardiologist in Pennsylvania and has been in US since 1975. Dr. Sambandam (hails from Thirukudanthai, Thanjavur) is an Oncologist residing in Cranston, Rhode Island and has been in US since 1971. Mrs. Vaidehi Herbert, has translated the 18 Sangam books, 7 PathinenKeezhKanakku books, Muthollaayiram and Paandikovai to English. She has also translated Tagore's Gitanjali to Tamil. She lit the fire in Dr. Janakiraman. At her request, Mrs. Mallika Janakiraman, Dr. Janakiraman, Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Sambandam and Dr. Sambandam decided to set up a chair at Harvard. What is the recruitment process and timeline? The total commitment to Harvard for setting up the Tamil Chair is six million U.S dollars. Upon receipt of the amount, Harvard will begin the search for the most qualified Tamil scholar to assume the professorship. Harvard will choose a proven scholar who has taught, researched and published in academic journals. How can you help in this historic effort? Both Dr. S.T. Sambandam and Dr.V. Janakiraman have made the seed contributions of $500,000 each. Many others have made contributions. The balance of the amount needs to be raised. Your direct donation to Harvard is eligible for tax-deduction in the US and in Canada. Your donation to Tamil Chair, Inc. is eligible for tax deduction in the U.S. Please help us in this effort. Encourage your friends and family to join us in setting up this chair. Some employers match employee contribution. Please check with your company and donate. By being part of this great effort, you will become a part of the Tamil history. You can send your contributions by one of the options in the ‘DONATE’ page. Why are Harvard University and Tamil Chair Inc. requesting donations? It is a matter of preference and convenience to the donor. You can pay directly to Harvard University or to Tamil Chair Inc. Should you mail a check to Harvard University, please attach a note stating that it is for the Tamil Chair. Also let us know about it so that we can make sure that your funds are designated for the Tamil chair. Should you decide to issue a check to Harvard University, we encourage you to please mail the check to us. We will log the information and then mail your check to Harvard. This process will make sure that your
  8. 8. Tamil Chair, Inc. | 4113 Tiber Falls Drive | Ellicott City, MD 21043 | Tel. 443.854.0181 | Tax ID: 47-5021758 www.harvardtamilchair.com | https://www.facebook.com/HarvardTamilChair/ | tamilchair@gmail.com யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் ரேளிர் | All land is home. All men, kith and kin. தமிழ் இருக்கை Tamil CHAIR donation will safely reach the Tamil Chair fund. If you want to donate directly to Tamil Chair, please mail the check to Mr. Kumar Kumarappan. Will 100% of donated amounts given to Tamil Chair, Inc. go to Harvard University? Yes. 100% of your donations will go to Harvard University for the Tamil chair. Tamil Chair Inc. is run by volunteer board members who bear the operational costs. Please note that if you donate through a credit card, Paypal or Minkasu there is a transaction fee which gets deducted from the total amount. Tamil Chair will get the amount minus the transaction cost.
  • SiddhiSecretSauce

    Jun. 8, 2021
  • AshokKumar3020

    Nov. 3, 2017

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 Chair Inc. is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization set up specifically to collect funds for the establishment of the Tamil Chair. Donations given to Tamil Chair, Inc. are tax deductible.

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