Project Madurai 10th Anniversary
Electronic Texts CD
9 February 2008
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
Cilapathikaram, works of modern Tamil Writers like
Kalki as well as
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
renaissance in the 19th century.
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
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
" கணினி மூலம் தமிழ் மையங்கள் அமைப்போம்,
கணினி மூலம் தமிழ் இலக்கியத்தை பதிப்பிப்போம்,
கணினி மூலம் பள்ளிகள் நடத்துவோம்,
கணினி மூலம் நட்புப்
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
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
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
5. The philosophical system of
Saiva Sidhdhantha, a system, which may be ranked among the most perfect
and cleverest systems of human thought;
bronzes of the Chola period, those splendid and amazing sculptures
belonging to the best creations of humanity,
temple architecture, of which the chief representatives are perhaps the
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
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
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.
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 -
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
Thirumular, such philosophical penetration as that of
Sankara and Ramanuja, such scientific brains as that of the
Ramanuja, the mathematician, or that of the late Nobel Prize
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 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 -
ஊரே ; யாவரும் கேளிர் ;
தீதும் நன்றும் பிறர்தர வாரா ;
நோதலும் தணிதலும் அவற்றோ ரன்ன ;
சாதலும் புதுவது அன்றே ;
இனிதுஎன மகிழ்ந்தன்றும் இலமே; முனிவின்,
தென்றலும் இலமே; ‘மின்னொடு
வானம் தண்துளி தலைஇ, ஆனாது
கல்பொருது இரங்கும் மல்லற் பேர்யாற்று
முறைவழிப் படூஉம்’ என்பது திறவோர்
காட்சியின் தெளிந்தனம் ஆகலின், மாட்சியின்
சிறியோரை இகழ்தல் அதனினும் இலமே.
192, எட்டுத்தொகை நூல்களில் ஒன்றாகிய
- 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
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
in Tamil Heroic Poems
Dr.K.Kalyanasundaram (Project Leader) on 10th Anniversary of Project Madurai -
Message for Pongal Day, January 2008:
We are pleased to recall on
this auspicious week of
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
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 !!!