With its rich literary traditions, Tamil is more unique than all other languages of the world. Tolkapiyam, the oldest surviving treatise of the classical language, formulates just not the grammar of ezhuthu (orthography), sol (etymology), yaappu (prosody) and ani (rhetoric), but porul, a treatise on ethics dealing akam and puram ( Love-themes and martial spirit) – the grammar which is hardly found in any other languages of the world.
Besides a great number of early literary works that were lost in calamities, Tamil began its journey with Tolkapiyam, passed through Sangam lyrics, bakthi and didactic literature and many other miscellaneous literary works. Adapting to the advancements in science and technology, the classical Tamil language gets enriched every day with modern poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. The corpus of classical Tamil literature throws light on the life of ancient Tamils and bears testimony to one of the earliest civilizations that existed in Kumari Kandam, the lost continent associated with Lemuria.
The research centre functions on the sprawling campus of Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore, a prominent part of the Kongu region, which is known for places of archaeological importance such as Perur, Vellalore, Kalayamuthur, Arachalur and so on. With Coimbatore being a part of the Kongu region, it witnessed the lives and missions of eminent Tamil scholars of yore as Pavananthi Munivar, Adiiyarkku Nallaar and Kongu Velir. The research centre is a treasure house of knowledge with its large and rare collection of books, palm leaf manuscripts, copperplate grants, and other historical documents. The centre proudly displays a huge collection of books from Tamil Nool Kaapagam, a library founded by the noted bibliophile and publisher Pulavar Palladam Manickam.
The research centre, which is named after the great educationist, industrialist and philanthropist N Mahalingam, stands in memory of his yeoman service to Tamil, as he took great pieces of Tamil literature to English and brought world literature of fame to Tamil through their translations. The philanthropist and the founder of various educational institutions including the KCT, Arutchelvar had also edited the Tamil monthly magazine Om Sakthi for around four decades. With his love for Tamil language and literature, the philanthropist encouraged Tamil researchers and historians and made valuable pieces of Tamil literature reach the masses by publishing them at subsidized prices.
The centre aims at digitizing ancient and modern pieces of Tamil literature that have been painstakingly collected and treasured through ages. The research centre is also aiming at providing world-class higher education in Tamil research, documenting the researches that have been made so far and conducting short term Tamil courses. Being a treasure trove of information for future researches, the institution will also direct to obtain grants for researches into Tamil language and literature. Being a central point for Tamil research, the institution is on the pursuit to collect information under the six divisions - Geology, Archaeology, Anthropology, Linguistics, Art, and Modernism. Moreover, the research centre will take up the mission of carrying Tamil literature to new horizons and bringing commendable pieces of world literature to Tamil through quality translations.
The centre branches into Geography, Archaeology, Anthropology, Linguistics, Arts, and Modern Literature. The groups exhibit their respective contents and further branch into various sub-divisions and. For instance, the branch Geology showcases its elements such as thinaikotpaadu (conventional rules laid down in Tamil works as akam and puram) and karuporul (Characteristic regional features of the five tracts of land). So do the other branches.
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