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Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home  Tamils - a Trans State Nation > The Tamil Heritage > Culture of the Tamils >  International Conferences on Tamil Studies > First International Conference Seminar of Tamil Studies, 1966


Conference Programme
Introductory Speech by Father Xavier S Thaninayagam
Presidential Address - Research in South East Asia and in the Far East - Jean Filliozat
Delegates and the Titles of Their Presentations compiled by Sachi Sri Kantha

Conference Papers

Some Aspects of South Indian Cultural Contacts with Thailand: Historical Background - S. Singaravelu
Tolkapiyar's Literary Theory - T.P.Meenakshisundaram
Tiru-p-pavai, Tiruvempavai in South East Asia - T.P.Meenakshisundaram

Literary Theories in Early Tamil: Ettuthokai - M.Varadarajan

The Ritualistic Origins of Tamil Drama - K. Sivathamby
Special Features of Kalkiļæ½s Novels - R. Dhandayudham
A Critical Study of Tamil Documents Pertaining to the History of Jaffna - K.S.Nadarajah 
Brief History of Tamils in Mauritius - M.Sangeelee
Tamils' Contribution to Political Development of Ceylon - A.J.Wilson
Social and Political Ferment in the Malayan Indian Community 1945 to 1955 - S.Arasaratnam
Classical Dance of Ancient Tamils - Nirmala Ramachandran
Elite Formation in 19th Century South India - An Interpretative Analysis - Robert Eric Frykenberg
The Geographical Distribution,  Demographic Characteristics and Mobility Trends  of the Ceylon-Tamil Community with  Special Reference to the Urban Areas of Ceylon - B. L. Panditharatne
Some Aspects of the Muslim Society of Ceylon with Special Reference to the Eighteen Eighties  - A. M. A. Azeez
Some Notes on the History of the Tamil Community  in Dutch Malacca (1641-1825) - F. R. J. Verhoeven


First International Conference
Seminar of Tamil Studies
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - April 1966

Conference Programme

The first International Conference of Tamil Studies, sponsored by the International Association of Tamil Research, the National Education (Indian Schools) Development Council of Malaya, and the University of Malaya, was held at the Third Residential College premises. University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between 16th April and 23rd April 1966.

One hundred and thirty two delegates and forty observers attended the Conference/Seminar. Among those who participated as delegates, there were one from Burma, thirty-one from Ceylon, one from Denmark, five from France, two from Germany, one from Holland, one from Hong Kong, forty-two from India, two from Japan, fourteen from Malaysia, four from Mauritius, one from the Philippines, one from Portugal, six from Singapore, one from South Korea, one from Sweden, one from Switzerland, one from Thailand, five from the United Kingdom, eight from the United States of America and three from Vietnam.

The Conference Seminar was declared open by the Hon'ble Prime Minister of Malaysia, Yang Teramat Mulia Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-haj. at 10 30 a m. on Saturday 16th April 1966 in the Dewan Tunku Abdul Kahman, Ampang Road, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The proceedings of the Conference extended over five full days between Monday 18th April and Friday 22nd April 1966. A total number of twelve Plenary Sessions and six Group Sessions were held during this period, and on Saturday, 23rd April 1966, the Final Open' Session was held.

The Plenary Sessions were conducted on the following subjects: (a) History and Culture in South-east Asia with particular reference to Tamil cultural contacts, (b) Tamil Literary Criticism, (c) Tamil Society in the Cankam period. (d) Westerners and Tamil Studies, (e) Literature and Society, (f) Modern Tamil Literature. (g) South-east Asia after 1500. (h) Music and Dance, (i) Art and Antiquity, (j) Dravidian Comparative Linguistics, and (k} Tamil Society in the modern period. One Plenary Session was devoted to the discussion of papers presented in Tamil.

The subjects of the Group Sessions were: The Tamil Society of the period of the Three Empires, Trade and External Relations, Teaching of Tamil, Diachronic Tamil Linguistics Synchronic Tamil Linguistics. and Translation.

A total number of 150 research papers were presented at the Conference sessions; delegates who were able to present their papers in person were each given ten minutes to present their findings in a summary form. There were a Chairman and a Discussion Leader for each session.

The proceedings of the Conference were adequately documented. Copies of papers, most of them written in English and a few in Tamil. were made available to the delegates before each session.

The business of the Conference sessions were conducted principally in English. Tamil was also used by a number of delegates.

Introductory Speech by Rev.Father Xavier Thaninayagam
Rev. Father Xavier ThaninayagamThe moving spirit behind the conference was Rev.Father Xavier S.Thani Nayagam, originally from Tamil Eelam and who in 1966, was serving at the University of Malaya. His introductory remarks as Conference Chairman reached out both to the hearts and the minds of his audience:

"Mr. President of the International Association of Tamil Research, Distinguished Guests and Colleagues.

'கலையணிச் செல்வன் கமலச் சேவடி
தலை அணி புனைந்து சாற்றதும் தமிழே'
- Veeramamunivar

'என்னை நன்றாக இறைவன் படைத்தனன்
தன்னை நன்றாகத் தமிழ்செய்யு மாறே'
- Thirumoolar  

It is a historic privilege to welcome everyone of you to this Conference Hall where for the first time so many representatives of so many different nations are assembled to discuss various aspects of Tamil Studies.

May I welcome those of you who were not present at the opening of our Conference on Saturday morning. A special welcome to our new Vice-President from across the Pacific, Professor Emeneau.

Not only does our membership cut across national boundaries, but also does transcend frontiers, if any, of religion, of mother tongue, of fields of specialisation. This Conference-Seminar, like other academic Conferences, has been planned and is being held solely to extend the frontiers of learning and the pursuit of disinterested knowledge. It is our privilege to have the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Madras. as the leader of the largest cultural delegation which ever left the shores of India for a foreign country, and to have him share a participant's chair like the rest of us. We are indeed grateful to the Government of India for this gesture, because the status, the age, the wisdom of this statesman. and the composition of the Indian delegation, have served to emphasise the importance of this Conference-Seminar.

May I also be permitted a word of welcome to the other official delegation,   namely the delegation from Ceylon, led by the Hon'ble H. W. Tambiah, Judge of the Supreme Court of Ceylon.

Our welcome is equally warm to all delegates and participants from the other countries and from institutions of higher learning.

I have also the pleasant duty to greet the University of Madurai and its first Vice-Chancellor Prof. T. P. Meenakshisundaram. We are proud that one of our founder members and a Vice-President, and a former teacher of several Heads of Departments and others here present, has been appointed Vice-Chancellor in such a celebrated city with Tamil associations.

This endeavour of ours organised at this University, we would like to be recorded solely as an attempt, howsoever feeble, to serve Tamil Studies...."



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