Bharathi Tamil Sangam was founded in 1941 by the great scientist, Dr. K S Krishnan,who was a great lover of Tamil Literature with the following objectives.
To promote and propagate Tamil language and literature in general and the works of Poet, Subramania Bharathi in particular.
To teach Tamil to the Tamil speaking community and the children who are away from Tamil Nadu in order to have the continuity to the next generation with the language.
To publish good Tamil literary works and the translation in different languages.
To serve as a platform for interaction between Tamil scholars and writers with those of other languages and contribute to the national integration and also to honour them.
To propagate love and peace and serve the society enhancing the human values.
Running a Reading Room containing number of newspapers and periodicals.
It has a well equipped library with a collection of more than 5000 books pertaining to literature.
Conducts Tamil classes for non-Tamils and Hindi & Bengali classes for the benefit of Timils who come to Kolkata on transfer or on business.
Arranging literary meetings and seminars periodically to commemorate great Writers and Scholars.
Has published more than 25 books in Tamil, English, Hindi, Bengali and Marathi.
Instituted two Education Trust, by which it gives scholarship and school uniform to the needy and disabled students.
Conducts social service programmes to the society where it belongs.
The Tamil alphabet has 12 vowels and 18 consonants. These combine to form 216 compound characters. There is one special character, giving a total of 247 characters.
The Tamil alphabet has 12 vowels and 18 consonants. These combine to form 216 compound characters. There is one special character (Aaytha ezutthu), giving a total of 247 characters.
The vowels are divided into short and long (five of each type) and two w:diphthongs. Vowels are also called the 'life' or 'soul' letters. Together with the consonants (which are called 'body' letters, they form compond, syllabic (abugida) letters that are called 'living' letters (ie. letters that have both 'body' and 'soul').
The consonants are classified into three categories with 6 in each
category: vallinam - hard, mellinam - soft or nasal, and idayinam
- medium. Unlike Devanagari, Tamil has neither conjunct consonants
nor aspirated and voiced stops. Some scholars have suggested that
in Sentamil (which refers to Tamil as it existed before w:Sanskrit
words were borrowed), stops were voiceless when at the start of a
word and unvoiced otherwise. However, no such distinction is observed
by modern Tamil speakers.
The script is sometimes called Vattezhuthu, literally "round
writing". This characterstic has partly to do with the fact that
in ancient times, writing involved carving with a sharp point on palm
leaves (olaichuvadi) and it was apparently easier to produce curves
than straight lines by this method. The script is syllabic, in the
sense that each letter is a w:syllable. However, the signs for the
syllables are derived from that of the inherent consonant; thus it
is of the w:abugida type. Some syllables are written by modifying
the shape of the consonant in a way that is inherent to the vowel,
others are written by adding vowel-inherent suffix to the consonant,
yet others a prefix, and finally some vowels require adding both a
prefix and a suffix to the consonant. In every case the vowel symbol
is different from the vowel standing alone. An overdot - equivalent
to w:Devanagari sign w:virama - suppresses the inherent trailing a
sound of the consonant sign - that is, it is a pure consonant.
There are some lexical rules for formation of words. Some examples:
a word cannot end in certain consonants, and cannot begin with some
consonants including 'r' 'l' and 'll'; there are two consonants for
the dental 'n' - which one should be used depends on whether the 'n'
occurs at the start of the word and on the letters around it.
Consonants are also called the 'body' letters. Consonant Sound Category
Also called "Grantha" letters, these letters are used almost
exclusively for writing words that are borrowed from Sanskrit (or
sometimes other languages such as English). Seeing one of these letters
in a word is a good indication that the word is probably borrowed
from Sanskrit (or Hindi) though of course not all such words include
letter (pronounced 'akh') is rarely used by itself - normally serves
purely grammatical function as independent vowel form of the dot
on consonants that suppresses the inherent 'a' sound in plain consonants.
The Tamil calendar is a derivative of the old Hindu solar calendar
and is based on the sidereal year. In contrast, most other languages of India (Telugu,
Hindi) use lunar calendars.
Day, Month, Year
The Tamil calendar is a derivative of the old Hindu solar calendar
and is based on the sidereal year (i.e. the time taken for one revolution
of the Earth around the sun, or the mean time taken by the sun to
return to the same position relative to the background of the fixed
stars in the sky). In contrast, most other languages of India (Telugu,
Hindi) use lunar calendars.
The Tamil calendar also follows a seven-day week. The names of the
seven days are analogous to those used in most other calendars i.e.
they correspond to the same celestial bodies Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury,
Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn, in that order.
The following table lists the days of the week in Tamil:
The Twelve Months
The Tamil new year usually falls in mid-April and the calendar consists of twelve months. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, the number of days in a given month can vary between years. Moreover, Tamil months may even have 32 days. For example, the month of Vaikasi had 32 days in 1996 and 31 days in 1998. Similarly, Aani had 31 days in 1996 and 32 days in 1998.
Each year in the Tamil calendar has a name. These names follow a 60-year cycle. (The number 60 represents five Jovian periods i.e. it takes Jupiter about 12 years to orbit the sun).
The following table lists the cycle of sixty year names:
Tamil literature is as old and as rich as Greek, Sanskrit and Chinese literatures. Sangam Age (that lasted till ca. 3rd century AD) is an important period for Tamil Literature.
After this, during the next few centuries (Kalabhra Period) there was a lull in literary output. Then came a period of about four centuries (6- 10th C. AD) when a number of devotional or Bakthi literature appeared.
There were many important saivaite and Vaishnavaite literature contributions In the post-Sangam period (200-600 AD) is notable for the composition of five great Tamil epics Silappadikaram, Manimekalai, Jivaka-cintamani, Valaiyapati and Kundalakesi. Silappadikaram is considered to be the brightest gem of early Tamil literature. It is an invaluable source book of ancient Tamil dance and classical music.
Tolkappiyam one of the greatest works that the world has ever produced is the oldest extant treatise in Tamil. Its survival against vicissitudes is a wonder. Books literary and grammatical prior to it were completely lost. No works have reached us for the three centuries subsequent to Tolkappiyam.
Between 600-900 AD, the Tamil literature came under the influence of Saiva and Vaisnava saints called Nayanmars and Alvars respectively. The Saiva saints first compiled their hymns into the Devaram. The hymns of the Saiva saints were later collected into twelve anthologies called Tirumurais. The Periya Puranam or Tiruttondar Puranam, considered as the twelfth Tirumurai, was composed by Sekkizhar (12th century AD). The Vaishnavaite saint Nathamuni (824-924 AD) compiled the Vaishnava hymns into four books called Divya Prabandham or Nalayira Divya Prabandham. The other Alvar saints who contributed to the Tamil religious literature include Periyalivar, Poigaialvar, Bhutattalvar, Andal (the only woman saint among Alvars) and Nammalvar. Nammalvar's Tiruvaymozhi, the third book of Divya Prabandham, is said to be a quintessence of the Upanishads.
One of the great figures of Tamil literature, Kamban, belonged to this period. He was the greatest of the court poets of Kulottunga Chola III (1178-1218 AD).
He adapted Valmiki's Ramayana in Tamil in his Ramakatai or Kamba Ramayanam, which is very unique in its style and technique. The Cholas were the great patrons of Tamil literature.
The second great work with 1330 couplets written by an individual author is Tirukkural.
'Tiruvalluvar' who is also a follower of 'Tolkappiyam' made a new approach to Ceyyliyal and gave a concrete shape to some of the ideas contained in that chapter in Tolkappiyam.
It is very difficult to find out the cultural heritage of the Tamils in the Modern Literature. The historic march of literature in Tamil began with the pre-Christian era. For the major division of "Silappathigaram" the first epic of Tamilnadu. In this epic Tamil Kings were given due respect at proper places.
"Tamil and Tamilnadu" are magic words to the Tamils to raise them as one man to do their duties at critical times in our history. This cultural aspect has been predominant in our Modern Literature.
The movement of Reform under the leadership of Periyar E.Ve.Ramasamy tried to reestablish the ideals of 'Kural' among the Tamils. They wanted to use it as a shield of "Aram" against the social evil and ignorance.
'Kalki' as a follower of Rajaji wrote many stories and novels in support of prohibition. Periyasami Turan has also written many stories to show the evil effects of drinking.
In order to eradicate the "Theva Thasi" System previling in the Hindu temples "Tevadhasi" and "Kottu Melam" short stories written by Ta.Na.Kumarasami and Ti.Janakiraman respectively came out successfully.
The modern period witnessed the impact of Islam and Christianity on Tamil literature. Umaruppulavar (1605-1703 AD) was the earliest among the Muslim Tamil poets. He composed the Sirappuranam, which is a verse narrative on the life of Prophet Muhammad. Another work dealing with the Islamic faith was Muhaidin Puranam (1845 AD) by Mohammad Ibrahim. Constanzio Beschi (1680-1747 AD), who adopted the pseudonym of 'Viramamunivar', wrote a classic Tembavani, on the life of Jesus Christ.
Subramanya Bharati (1882-1921 AD) was one of the greatest of Tamil litterateurs of the modern times. He is renowned for his patriotic and devotional songs and intense prose writings on contemporary social affairs. His Panchali Sabadam is an epic poem based on a single episode of the Mahabharata. His other great works include Kalippattu, Kannanpattu and Kuyilpattu.
The other renowned Tamil poetic works of the modern times include Meyyarivu and Padal Tirattu of V.O.Chidambaram; Malarum-malaiyum and Umarkkayyam-padalkal of Desikavinayagam; Podumai Vettal, Tamiizhan Idayam and Sankoli of Kalyanasundaram; Avalum Avanum of N.K.Ramalingam; Azhakin Sirippu, Pandiyan Parisu, Tamizhiyakkam, Kudumbavilakku, etc of Bharatidasan. Durai Manickam was another important modern Tamil poet who is credited with prolific works like Aiyai, Nurasiriyam, Koyyakkani, Ensuvai Enbatu and Paviyakkottu. The other renowned poets of this period include M.L.Thangappa, Mudiyarasan, Ezhilmutalvan, N.Kanakaraja Iyer, A.Srinivasaraghavan, Kannadasan and Tamizhazhagan.
The chronological Listing of Tamil Literature..
Chronological Listing of Tamil Literature
Bharathi Tamil Sangam (Regd.)