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Dr U V Swaminatha Iyer

Updated on September 13, 2014

Tamil Thatha

Even though most of us are specialized in multi-language talent, satisfaction will not be there in other language compared to like communicating in Tamil language.

If communicating in mother tongue, the sweetness, enjoyment, feel and satisfaction is unique and can't be described in words.

This is applicable to all languages.

It is privilege to learn that Tamil has been termed as ancient language and at this time we have to remember the sacrifice and contribution made by many scholar to bring it to this form.

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About Swaminatha Iyer

Tamil language has crossed so many hurdles and the sweetness and grammar is retained in the same form and we have to salute so many scholars and saints who have fought to retain it. One of such scholar is, being called as "Tamil Thatha" (grand father of Tamil) Dr U V Swaminatha Iyer, also called affectionately as UVS.

He has born on 19th February 1855 at Uthamadhanapuram near Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India to the couple Venkata Subbaier and Saraswathi Ammal. As a student, he used nail and palm leaf to study. He learnt tamil from his father who is a knowledgeable person and learnt him lot of historic novels.

After completing the school, to fulfill his desire of learning tamil, he learn from various scholars. At his age of 17 he joined as a student with Shri. Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai. After six years of thorough learning and the demise of his guru, he learnt from Shri Subrahmania Desikar.

As he learnt the language from so many scholars, he became a reputed scholar. In those days, there won't be any text books. All were written in manuscripts in the form of palm leaf with nail. The new lessons taught will be written neatly and legibly in the leaf. This will be passed on to the future generations.

At the age of 25, he got a job as Tamil teacher at Kumbakonam Government College. His style of teaching attracted many students and in fact they also loved Tamil as their favorite subject.

In 1903, he joined Presidency college, Chennai as Tamil teacher. Before his joining his previous teacher who was not respected got more respect based on his teaching style. After working for 16 years there, he retired from his service.

Contribution to the Society

He has written in his hook "En Sarithram", how the people destroyed the invaluable assets of ancient books of manuscript and why they did.

He came to know about some manuscripts held by Varaguna Pandiar, stored at Nallur temple and he enquired about it. He got shocked by hearing that as described in the vedic, all the old manuscripts were dumped in pot and lit fire by pouring ghee.He got vexed be hearing these and got angry, how the vedas tell about such type of destroy.

In another instance, when he enquired about the old scripts, they told that some pages were torn, some were not readable, hence they collected all the old scripts, which were occupying places and dropped in river.

By hearing such words, he wanted to have back up and in 1887, he first recovered the manuscript of Seevaka Sinthamani and published a book. He felt happy that one literature has been saved from the old system.

After that, he has recovered and published Pathupaattu, Silappathikaram, Purananooru, manimekalai, Aynkurunooru, Pathitrupathu, Paripadal, Kurunthogai etc.

By honoring his achievement of recovering old manuscript literature, Indian Government has awarded him "Mahapadhyoya" in 1906.

In 1932, Chennai University has awarded him Doctorate.

He breathed Tamil in his entire life-term counted his last breath on 28th April 1942 at his 87th year.

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