With widespread interest and worldwide support, efforts are underway to establish the first ever Sangam Tamil Professorship at Harvard University.
Establishing a Professorship has been a goal that’s near and dear to many, and two donors and champions of this project have made significant strides in turning it into a reality. Dr. S.T. Sambandam and Dr. V. Janakiraman have obtained approval from Harvard for this fundraising effort and are also the seed donors, having each contributed $500 000.
Alongside their fellow Board Members at Tamil Chair Inc., a not-for-profit established to fund raise, they are working to raise the $6 million dollars needed to create an endowment.
An endowment is a type of fund that allows a financial resource to exist in perpetuity; this essentially means that the interest earned on the $6 million will be used to sustain the Professorship and the amount raised will never be depleted, allowing the fund to exist on an ongoing basis.
This opportunity to have a permanent fixture in Tamil Studies generating research about, and analysis of, Sangam literature, at one of the most prestigious universities in the world is incredible. And it will be no small feat to achieve, but one that Dr. Sambandam and Dr. Janakiram believe can be accomplished through the efforts of Tamils around the world.
Quite fittingly, it was at a gathering of Tamils from around the world that the idea first took hold. At FETNA 2015 in St. Louis, Dr. Janakiraman met Vaidehi Herbert, a resident of Hawaii with a passion for Sangam Literature. To her credit, Vaidehi has translated 18 Sangam texts, 7 Pathinen Keezh Kanakku books, Muthollairam and Paandikovai to English.
After attending a session of Vaidehi’s at FETNA, Dr. Janakiraman expressed his appreciation of her efforts and how accessible she had made the literature. A conversation about expanding such efforts took place over the subsequent months and ultimately Dr. Janakiraman, Mrs. Mallika Janakiraman, Dr. Sambandam and Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Sambandam decided to set up the initiative at Harvard.
If you would like to be a part of history, and make a donation to support the establishment of the first ever Sangam Tamil Professorship, please click here to learn more. You can also donate through a crowdfunding site which has been set up for the initiative.
Donations are tax deductible for residents in Canada and USA and can be made through a variety of means.