Event to raise funds for Tamil Professorial Chair at Harvard University

Venkat Raman

Auckland, January 11, 2018

A group of young Tamilians, called, ‘The New Zealand Tamil Youth Group’ is organising a progamme to collect funds for a ‘Tamil Chair’ for the post of a Professor at the Harvard University in the USA.

The Programme will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2018 from 530 pm to 830 pm at Mt Eden War Memorial Hall, located at 489 Dominion Road, Mt Eden, Auckland.

Details of the Programme and entry tickets have not yet been announced.

Chief Guest Rajmohan Arumugam

Rajmohan Arumugam of ‘Put Chutney’ fame will be the Chief Guest.

Those watching YouTube and other channels will know that Rajmohan, a radio and television programme presenter, is an outspoken man with a lively personality and humour. His ability to raise issues concerning Tamil Nadu are beginning to draw national and international attention.

His programmes are said to raise social consciousness.

Lofty Target

Sowndra Rajan, an organiser of the forthcoming Programme in Auckland, said that Tamilians worldwide have thus for raised US$5.5 million, against a worldwide target of US$6 million for the Chair at Harvard.

About the Language

Tamil is one of the world’s major languages spoken by tens of millions of people, in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, the Caribbean, North Africa, South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles and many other countries where people of Tamil origin live and work.

Tamil is one of the ‘Six Original Languages of the World’ including Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Chinese. Along with Persian, these are known as ‘Seven Classical Languages’ with a history of over 2000 years. All these languages have a Chair at Harvard except Tamil.

The literary tradition of Tamil is among the best in human civilisation, encompassing poetry, music, dance, drama, philosophy, reflexive sciences of grammar, logic, historiography, and religion. The available oldest record of Tamil dates back at least 2300 years.

‘Thirukkural,’ written by ‘Thiruvalluvar’ is one of the most widely read and translated pieces of literature in the world. Comprising 1330 couplets, the ‘Kural’ covers every subject and situation relevant to humankind. Written more than 2000 years ago, it transcends religion, caste, creed, political philosophies and other manmade barriers.

About the Chair

Mr Sowndra said that establishing a Tamil Chair at Harvard University, one of the most prestigious institutions in the world, is a matter of both pride and joy.

“The richness of the language, the increasing influence of its content among scholars and writers in other languages and the growing popularity of Tamil culture around the world are among the many other reasons that encouraged Tamilians to pitch for a permanent Chair (Professorship) at the Harvard University. Tamil has grown beyond its boundaries and it is now our duty to ensure that it continues to prosper in ensuing generations,” he said.

“A Chair at Harvard will accrue research grants and encourage people to choose Tamil as a study of Classical Languages, promoting critical studies, translation, books and other publications, he added.

Donations welcome

The New Zealand Tamil Youth Group is seeking Sponsorship for the Event in the following categories: Event Sponsor: $2000; Platinum Sponsor: $750; Gold Sponsor: $500; Silver Sponsor: $250.

Donations can also be deposited into the bank account of ‘NZ Tamil Youth Group’ at Kiwi Bank (Account Number 38-9019-0330051-00).

Further details can be obtained from Sowndra Rajan on 021-180-4908; Pradeep on 021-442147; Bala Murugan in Hamilton on 021-08190564; Veera Raj in Wellington on 021-1667209. Facebook (HarvardTamilChair).

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