Knowledge and intelligence are the essential qualities
that distinguish a human being from other living creatures.
While intelligence is innate, and in-born, knowledge
is acquired. But both these noble qualities are motivated,
nourished and cultured in academic bodies. These institutions
of higher learning are widely known as Universities.
Ancient India with its hoary tradition and glorious
past has a claim to have had a Sanskrit college during
the reign of Pallavas in the sixth century A.D. and
much earlier a University at Nalanda in the north of
India. Much later in the 19th century, there arose the
reputed Madras, Bombay and Calcutta Universities during
the British paramountcy in India. So, the concept of
organised academic learning through the Universities
is neither strange nor new to India. Even before the
second millennium A.D., there had been Senatus Academicus
known as First, Second and Third Cankams for the growth
and development of Tamil, the oldest of the Dravidian
languages in India.
The Tamil language, in the south of India
is known for its antiquity, its richness of vocabulary
and its great classical literature. For a long time, its
depth, uniqueness and glory were not known to the world
outside. Great orientalists such as Max Mueller, Keith
and even Edwin Arnold identified the literature of India
with Sanskrit only. It is this woeful neglect of Tamil
in the British period that motivated a confluence of veteran
Tamil scholars at Thanjavur to think in terms of starting
an exclusive university for the development and growth
Tamil as early as 23rd of August, 1925. These scholarly
samaritans opened an account also in the Imperial Bank
at Trichinopoly in the name of the proposed Tamil University.
But perhaps due to the lack of official patronage of the
government, this glorious plan did not materialise.
That noble aspiration in post-independent
India was given a concrete shape in September, 1981. The
Location of the Tamil University was chosen to be in the
outskirts of Thanjavur. This ancient capital of the later
Chola dynasty and the granary of the South as it is known
from time immemorial, was happily accepted as the site
of the University. The Tamil Nadu State Assembly unanimously
passed the Tamil University Act in the second week of
September 1981 and the first Vice-Chancellor took office
a week later, The University Grants Commission accorded
a statutory recognition to the university in 1983.
The aims and objectives of this unitary
type of university comprise a higher research in Tamilology
and advanced study in various other allied branches such
as Linguistics, Translation, Lexicography, Music, Drama
and Manuscriptology. But this pure research-oriented University
introduced academic research by offering M.Phil and Ph.D
programmes in 1992 for a few disciplines such as Language,
Literature, Translation, Sculpture, History and Architecture.
Due to the public demand, even Post graduate programmes
had to be included in June 2003.
To speak of the academic outline of the
Tamil University, mention may be made of the five faculties,
headed by the Deans each.
The Language Faculty with major disciplines
such as Literature, Linguistics, Folklore, School of Indian
Languages, School of Philosophy and Tribal Studies.
The Faculty of Manuscriptology consists
of the Departments of Rare paper Manuscripts, Palm Leaf
Manuscripts, Epigraphy and Under-water Archaeology.
The Faculty of Developing Tamil includes
the Departments of Tamil Studies in Foreign countries,
Translation, Compilation, Sociology and Scientific Tamil
The Faculty of Arts consists of the Departments
of Drama, Music and Sculpture.
The Faculty of Science has got in its
fold the Departments of Siddha Medicine, Ancient and Earth
Sciences, Architecture and the Computer Science.
The functions of each of the Department
noted above and briefly enumerated in the order in which
they are serialised below.
Both under the Departments and various
projects funded by University Grants Commission, Ministry
of Human Resources Development, Department of Science
and Technology, etc. various Encyclopaedias ,Dictionaries
and Compendiums have been compiled and published by the
University in the last 26 years of service.
Encyclopaedia of Humanities (Completed)
Encyclopaedia of Science - 8 Vols.
Encyclopaedia of the Temples in TamilNadu
- 3 Vols.
Encyclopaedia of Drama - 3 Vols.
Greater Tamil Lexicon - 4 Vols.
A Dictionary of Cankam Literature
Compendium of Cankam Literature (with
English Translation halfway through)
Translation of Medical and Engineering
Texts into Tamil (Fifteen each)
The Publication Department of the University,
with its latest laser type printing press has brought
out more than 403 publications which includes research
works, anthologies and translations contributed by the
staff. A monthly Bulletin each in English and Tamil disseminate
the news of various activities of the University. Two
Quarterlies, the Tamil Kalai in Tamil and Tamil Civilization
in English are the research journals published by the
There are about fifty five endowments
instituted by Philanthropists for various faculties to
arrange lectures and also for printing them. The Hindu
Religious and charitable Endowment Department of the Government
of TamilNadu have earmarked a huge sum of Fifteen lakhs
of rupees to conduct religious philosophy seminars and
research publications under the aegis of the School of
His Excellency the Governor of Tamil Nadu is Ex-officio
Chancellor of the University. So is the Education Minister
of the State of Tamil Nadu, its Pro-Chancellor
The Vice-Chancellor is nominated by the
Chancellor for a term of three years under statutorily
recongised rules and regulations. A well-known linguist
and a consummate administrator Dr. V.I.Subramoniam was
the first Vice-Chancellor. It was he who planned and systematically
developed the University in its initial stages. Nine
Vice-Chancellors, who succeeded him in all these 26 years
have contributed their valuable services in the upkeep
and maintenance of this autonomous institution.
The Registrar, a chief administrative
Officer with a team of his officials and clerical staff
maintains the day-to-day administration of the University.
Location of the Campus and facilities
The University is situated in a very large of about 800
acres, generously granted by the State government of Tamil
Nadu. Huge buildings and blocks meant for the administrative
departments are located in the campus. The administrative
block with its imposing structure and a gopuram motif
is a sight to see even from the National Highway connecting
Thanjavur with Trichinopoly. No less is the magnificence
of the University Library, the edifice of which will remind
the onlookers of the glorious Indian Parliament at New
Delhi. The Karikalan Gallery, built on the occasion of
the World Tamil Conference is capable of accomodating
about 2000 people.
The Language Block, women's hostel, boy's
hostel, Guest House and an open air theatre are the other
landmarks of the campus. The residential quarters for
the Vice-Chancellor, for Professors, Lecturers and for
the ministerial staff are all located on the other side
of the National Highway.