Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
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 > Tamil Language & Literature > Thamizh Literature Through the Ages - Preface > 1. Introduction > 2. The Sangam (Academy) period. > 3. The Didactic Period > 4. The Era of the Thamizh Epics > 5. The Era of Devotional Period  > 6. Epics of the ChOzha Period > 7. Grammar and Lexicography > 8. Philosophical Literary Period > 9. Thamizh purANangaL and Minor Poems > 10. IslAmic and Christian Contributions to Thamizh Literature > 11. Modern Period > 12. Present Situation  > 13. Conclusion



We acknowledge with gratitude the permission granted by  Professor Krishnamurti  to feature his Monograph on Tamil Literature Through the Ages. The monograph was published at the Marabu website  and the remarks of the leader of Project Madurai, Dr.Kuppuswamy Kalyanasunderam, will find an echo in the hearts of many Tamils, living today in many lands - "Digital Tamil is making rapid advances. The initiative of Prof. Krishnamurthi in placing his entire monograph online, with free access to everyone, is a pioneering effort."

Thamizh Literature
Through the Ages - Contents

0. Preface
1. Introduction
2. The Sangam (Academy) period.
3. The Didactic Period
4. The Era of the Thamizh Epics
5. The Era of Devotional Period 
6. Epics of the ChOzha Period
7. Grammar and Lexicography  
8. Philosophical Literary Period
9. Thamizh purANangaL & Minor Poems
10. IslAmic and Christian Contributions
11. Modern Period
12. Present Situation  
13. Conclusion 

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Thamizh Literature Through the Ages
தமிழ் இலக்கியம் - தொன்று தொட்டு இன்று வரை

Dr. C.R. Krishnamurti,
Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, B.C. Canada

Dr. C.R. Krishnamurti served as Professor (Animal Physiology) at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. Canada since 1967. Continuing as Professor Emeritus in the same University after retirement. Extracurricular interests include Carnatic Music and (Tamil) Thamizh Literature. He is the author of a recently published book entitled:  "Thamizh Literature Through The Ages - A Socio-Cultural Perspective".

 ".... probably the most significant contribution (of the Tamils) is that of Tamil literature, which still remains to be 'discovered' and enjoyed by the non Tamilians and adopted as an essential and remarkable part of universal heritage. If it is true that liberal education should 'liberate' by demonstrating the cultural values and norms foreign to us, by revealing the relativity of our own values, then the 'discovery' and enjoyment of Tamil literature, and even its teaching ... should find its place in the systems of Western training and instruction in the humanities.." Kamil Zvelebil in The Smile of Murugan : On Tamil Literature of South India

[see also Tamil Language and Literature, மொழியும் தேசியமும் - M.Thanapalasingham  and   காலம்தோறும் தமிழ் - M.Thanapalasingham]

"The literature of a country is a reflection of its people and their culture. With the availability of literature spanning more than 2000 years, Thamizh lends itself as an ideal language to put this hypothesis to test. Going through the literature which I was fortunate enough to access, I derived great pleasure in studying the various facets of our literary past. If I had succeeded in expressing my feelings in a manner which would give an incentive for others to go through the original texts in their spare time or as part of their curriculum, I would consider my job well done. I have tried to look at the Thamizh culture and society as impartially as possible and if some personal bias did creep in occasionally it can only be ascribed to an inherent human weakness.

Secondly I do recognize that mere nostalgia of the past results in complacency while excessive criticism of the present leads to cynicism and despondency... Throughout this narrative I have attempted to put our achievements and failures in the context of how best we can shape the future in a better way.

Thirdly, when literature is studied in school or college as part of a formal curriculum, it is usually done under pressure of examinations and assignments. Until I studied literature for pleasure, I did not realize how much I have missed over the years. To entice the readers to appreciate the niceties of the literary formats I have followed the style of quoting the original works wherever possible. It is the experience of many that transliteration of Thamizh words and names, no matter how well it is done, does not give the same feeling as seeing the same in Thamizh scripts. Quite frequently one spends a fair amount of time trying to decipher the names and loses interest ultimately. By giving the Thamizh words next to the transliterated words I hope I have minimized the problem considerably.

Finally, going through the Thamizh literature, one is amazed at the depth and breadth of the knowledge the scholars of the past possessed. The feeling that one has just scratched the surface of what has been done already becomes inevitable. No aspect of life has been left untouched or unadorned. Any one hailing from a Thamizh cultural background can therefore be proud of their literary heritage. In this context, it is natural that those who has lived in the western world for a considerable time, get exasperated when utter ignorance or gross misrepresentation of Thamizh and\or Indian culture is expressed formally or informally. A study of our own literary past would give us the background to counter unwarranted criticisms appropriately and accept the legitimate criticisms for reflection and retrospection. ..

Though the lessons from our literary excursions into the past are obvious, there are bound to be differences in the interpretation of literary materials. Conclusions, I believe, from the voluminous literature should be left to the individuals remembering that in every field, one would find that a holistic approach in problem solving was found to be much better than a sectarian or clannish attempt to safeguard local interests..." (Dr. C.R. Krishnamurti - from the Conclusion)




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