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 > Tamil Language & Literature > Introduction to Project Madurai > > Classified Catalogue of  Project Madurai  Etexts  in Unicode & PDF > Chronological  Index of  Project Madurai  Etexts  in Unicode,PDF & TSCII  > Viewing Tamil Fonts at Project Madurai - Guidelines > Project Madurai 10th Anniversary Electronic Texts CD, 2008

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OF THIS SECTION
10/06/09

Dr.K.Kalyanasundaram (Project Leader) on 10th Anniversary of Project Madurai - Message for Pongal Day, January 2008
Dr. K.Kalyanasundaram, Leader Project Madurai writes on forthcoming 10th Anniversary of Project Madurai, 24 August 2007 -

" Coming January 2008 our Project Madurai will be reaching a key stage, completing 10 years of existence. Far from keeping the project live, we have managed to produce electronic texts of over 300 important Tamil literary works. They cover a wide span of time, authors and countries and include major works of all religions of importance to Tamil Diaspora.

We want the effort to expand more intensively in the coming decade. PM initiative is now fairly well known worldwide amongst Tamil Diaspora and also amongst indologists as an important online e-resource. There are potentially thousands and thousands of Tamils who could help us. Oddly there are more and more people writing to us asking for etexts of some Tamil work or the other. But only a handful have been helping us in the actual etext preparation process.

So, I propose that we use the coming 10th Anniversary as an occasion to popularise Project Madurai as much as possible. Most effective way we can do this is to distribute the entire collection of etexts (both as PDF and as HTML) in the form of CD. Once people see for themselves the vast collection of etexts in their own computer, I am sure many will come forward to participate in our efforts.

We have over 500 people subscribed to this <pmadurai> list. They come from all over the world. If each subscriber can sensitize 5-10 people by giving them a PM CD and explain what our objectives are, we can easily reach out to few thousand Tamils across the globe.

Project Madurai 10th Anniversary
Electronic Texts CD
 

9 February 2008

Project Madurai CD

tamilnation.org congratulates - and salutes Dr.K.Kalyanasundaram and the Project Madurai team of volunteers from many parts of the the globe on their sustained, determined and successful 10 year effort to bring Tamil literature to the world wide web. The Project Madurai 10th Anniversary CD released in January 2008, now enables these Tamil electronic texts to be accessed off line as well.

The CD contains all Tamil electronic texts released by Project Madurai up to December 2007. The e-texts are made available in all three formats -  TSCII, Unicode and PDF. The e-texts in the CD include the Sangam Classics, Thirukural, Tolakappiyam, Auvaiyar's Writings, Tamil Epics such as Cilapathikaram, works of modern Tamil Writers like Bharathy, Bharathidasan, Kalki as well as works by Eelam Tamil writers. A complete index of the etexts in chronological order appears here - and a classified subject index appears here

The print revolution brought Tamil from the ola leaves to paper, from the select few literati to the many. The digital revolution is bringing Tamil from paper to the computer and the internet. Swaminathatha Iyer and Thamotherampillai heralded the Tamil renaissance in the 19th century. Today, a Tamil digital renaissance is taking place - and is helping to bring Tamil people together not simply culturally but also in political and economic terms. The  contribution made by Dr.K.Kalyanasundaram and the Project Madurai team of volunteers to this renaissance will find an enduring place in the memory of the trans state Tamil nation - a growing togetherness of more than 70 million Tamil people living in many lands.

The Introduction to Project Madurai in Tamil in 1998 by Dr.N.Kannan (who later founded the Tamil Heritage Foundation) was aptly titled "எழுதாக் கிளவி (வேதம்) முதல் இலத்திரன் பதிப்பு வரை! - From Vedas to Electronic Publishing".

" கணினி மூலம் தமிழ் மையங்கள் அமைப்போம்,
கணினி மூலம் தமிழ் இலக்கியத்தை பதிப்பிப்போம்,
கணினி மூலம் பள்ளிகள் நடத்துவோம்,
கணினி மூலம் நட்புப் பாலம் அமைப்போம்.
தொழில் திறனும், தமிழ் வளமும் கை கோர்க்கும் நேரமிது. இதில் நம் பங்கு என்ன என்பது, நாம் தீர்மானிப்பதில் உள்ளது. "

Many years ago in 1956, Professor Dr. Kamil.V. Zvelebil wrote in Tamil Culture (Vol. V, No. 4. October, 1956) - a Journal edited appropriately enough by Rev.Father Xavier Thaninayagam  -

"The following works of art and literature are among the most remarkable contributions of the Tamil creative genius to the world's cultural treasure and should be familiar to the whole world and admired and beloved by all in the same way as the poems of Homer, the dramas of Shakespeare, the pictures of Rembrandt, the cathedrals of France and the sculptures of Greece:

1. The ancient Tamil lyrical poetry compiled in The Eight Anthologies; this poetry is so unique and vigorous, full of such vivid realism and written so masterfully that it can be compared probably only with some of the pieces of ancient Greek lyrical poetry;

2. The Thirukural, one of the great books of the world, one of those singular emanations of the human heart and spirit which preach positive love and forgiveness and peace;

3. The epical poem Cilappathikaram, which by its "baroque splendour', and by the charm and magic of its lyrical parts belongs to the epic masterpieces of the world;

4. The school of Bhakti both Vaishnava and Saiva, which is one of those most sincere and passionate efforts of man to grasp the Absolute; and its supreme literary expression in the works of Manikkavasagar, Tirugnana Sambandar, Nammalwar and Andal.

5. The philosophical system of Saiva Sidhdhantha, a system, which may be ranked among the most perfect and cleverest systems of human thought;

6. The South Indian bronzes of the Chola period, those splendid and amazing sculptures belonging to the best creations of humanity,

7. The Dravidian temple architecture, of which the chief representatives are perhaps the temples of Tanjore, Chidambaram and Madurai.

These seven different forms of contribution without which the world would be definitely less rich and less happy, should engage the immediate attention of all who are interested in Tamil culture; they should all dedicate their time and efforts to make known (and well and intimately known) to the whole of the world these heights of Tamil creative genius."

Project Madurai volunteers have during the past ten years  dedicated "their time and efforts to make known (and well and intimately known) to the whole of the world these heights of Tamil creative genius " contained in the language and literature of the Tamil people.

Dr. S.Jayabarathi from Malaysia and founder of the Agathiyar Discussion List, discussing the reasons for naming the project as Project Madurai commented in 1998:

"... Our proto-historical legends say that there was already a Madurai called Then Madurai (Southern Madurai). This was situated in the land of Kumari, by the river called Kanni. The first academy/library called Sangam was established here. The first scholar to preside over that first Sangam or Thalai Sangam was iRaiyanaar. He is identified with 'Thiripuram eriththa virisadaik KadavuL' .... Then we come to the 19th century. There was a great awakening of the Tamils and U.V. Saminatha Aiyer, Thamodharam Pillai, and others brought to light many of the ancient Tamil works which had hitherto remained in obscurity. ... A Tamil Sangam was formed in Madurai by Prince Paandi Thurai Thevar and other scholars. This was the Fourth Madurai Tamil Sangam. So naming the proposed electronic text archive project devoted to Tamil literature after this great historic city Madurai is very appropriate."

Project Madurai has served to underline the deep rooted reality that language is not simply a matter of communication. "மொழி என்பது வாழ்க்கை" And "தமிழ் எங்கள் சமூகத்தின் விளைவுக்கு நீர்".  The words of Eamon de Valera on "Language & the Irish Nation" will find a reasonance in many Tamil minds and hearts -

 "Language is more than a symbol. In it is stored the accumulated experience of a people... to part with it would be to loose the key to our past, to cut away the roots from the tree. ..."  

Albert B Franklin, writing in the Journal of Tamil Studies, September 1972 on 'The Tamil Language in the Modern World' commented -

"...It has become increasingly apparent over the last century, that Tamil is indeed one of the world's great languages and that in it is expressed one of the world's great and ancient literatures...Such mystic outpourings as the poems of Thirumular, such philosophical penetration as that of Sankara and Ramanuja, such scientific brains as that of the other Ramanuja, the mathematician, or that of the late Nobel Prize winner C. V. Raman do not arise in barren soil. Nor do the exquisite arts of Carnatic music and Bharata Natyam. Imagination of this category springs from a richly intricate and articulate linguistic symbolism..."

Yes, we too are a people with an ancient heritage, a rich language and literature and a vibrant culture and we have a meaningful contribution to make to the fabric of an emerging one world. In Mahatma Gandhi's telling words, by all means 'let us open our windows to the world but let us not be blown off our feet'. International consciousness will not grow by the suppression of one nation by another. It is at the heart of an enlightened national consciousness that the universalising values of liberty, fraternity and equality are born.

"...It is at the heart of national consciousness that international consciousness lives and grows. And this two-fold emerging is ultimately the source of all culture..." Frantz Fanon at the Congress of Black African Writers, 1959

It is when we understand this, it is when we stand firmly on our own feet, that we may also truly understand the words of Kanniyan Poongundran in Purananuru, written two thousand five hundred years ago - words which continue to touch, move and inspire -

யாதும் ஊரே ; யாவரும் கேளிர் ;
தீதும் நன்றும் பிறர்தர வாரா ;
நோதலும் தணிதலும் அவற்றோ ரன்ன ;
சாதலும் புதுவது அன்றே ; வாழ்தல்
இனிதுஎன மகிழ்ந்தன்றும் இலமே; முனிவின்,
இன்னா தென்றலும் இலமே; மின்னொடு
வானம் தண்துளி தலைஇ, ஆனாது
கல்பொருது இரங்கும் மல்லற் பேர்யாற்று
நீர்வழிப் படூஉம் புணைபோல, ஆருயிர்
முறைவழிப் படூஉம் என்பது திறவோர்
காட்சியின் தெளிந்தனம் ஆகலின், மாட்சியின்
பெரியோரை வியத்தலும் இலமே;
சிறியோரை இகழ்தல் அதனினும் இலமே.

192,  எட்டுத்தொகை நூல்களில் ஒன்றாகிய
புறநானூறு - பாடியவர்: கணியன் பூங்குன்றன்

"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.   
Death's no new thing; nor do our bosoms thrill
When Joyous life seems like a luscious draught.   
When grieved, we patient suffer; for, we deem
This much - praised life of ours a fragile raft   
Borne down the waters of some mountain stream
That o'er huge boulders roaring seeks the plain   
Tho' storms with lightnings' flash from darken'd skies
Descend, the raft goes on as fates ordain.   
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise ! -
We marvel not at greatness of the great;
Still less despise we men of low estate."

English Translation by Rev. G.U.Pope
 in Tamil Heroic Poems


Dr.K.Kalyanasundaram (Project Leader) on 10th Anniversary of Project Madurai - Message for Pongal Day, January 2008:

Dear Promads:

We are pleased to recall on this auspicious week of Thaip puttANTU/Pongal 2008 that our Project Madurai initiative completes TEN years and is marching on strong.

We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the tremendous support given in various forms (providing required software tools, preparation of etexts, web hosting, website management etc).

Our objective at the Jan. 1998 launch was preservation and propagation of our rich Tamil literary heritage in the e-form (most widely used one of the 21st C). We set out to prepare etexts of Tamil literary works and to make them available free 24/7 using the Internet. We did not put any restrictions on the genre type, authors, religion or even the period of the work, though priority shall be towards very ancient works that are at risk of total extinction.

As a voluntary initiative, we focussed on works that are in public domain or where the authors (or their heirs) gave us permission to reproduce their work in eform. We managed to release the etexts of over 300 Tamil works (big and small, from those of early sangam period to contemporary works). While we all can be proud of our achievements, coverage is still a tiny part in the vast ocean of Tamil literature. We have a long long way to go. We seek your cooperation and continued support.

On the occasion of 10th Anniversary of Project Madurai, we would like to take some extra efforts to popularise the existence of this initiative globally, in particular to the academic community (students and Teachers of Tamil) in different parts of the world. We are lucky to have several philanthropist Promads amongst us who volunteered to support financially whatever we would like to do.

Thanks to the generosity and logistical support of few Promads (who would like to remain anonymous), we managed to burn 1000 CDs contaning the entire collection of Project Madurai etexts in Chennai. We will have parts of the CDs available locally in various parts of the world.

Our goal in the coming months shall be to distribute these CDs free to academic institutions where Tamil is taught at all levels as well as to Tamil Associations/sangams/manrams, both worldwide. Having done the first step of preparing the CDs, we now need a vast list of target recipients in different parts of the world, particularly in different cities of Tamilnadu. If you do know of any deserving case, please do let us know.

We thank each one of you for your support in the past and seek your continued support in the years to come. For each etext, we do acknowledge in the etext header, the individuals who help produce the electronic version. But there are many noble souls who have been helping us silently through this decade.

We want to thank Mr. Bala Pillai of Australia for providing web-server support from day zero and Dr. Kumar Mallikarjunan for helping me all along as Dy. Project Leader. Dr. S. Anbumani is another person whom we would like to thank as well for all his support in getting the Distributed Proof-reading initiative working. Authorities of Virginia Technical Univ. deserve our gratitude as well for providing web-server support for the DPPM.

We Wish You All a Happy Pongal / Thaip Puttandu !!!

 

 

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