Parithimaar Kalaignar

Parithimar Kalaignar(Tamil: பரிதிமாற் கலைஞர்)(real name:V. G. Suryanarayana Sastri) (b.August 11, 1870[1] - d. November 2, 1903), a Professor of Tamil at the Madras Christian College was the first person to campaign for the recognition of Tamil as a classical language.[2][3]


Suryanarayana Sastri was born at Tirupparankunram in a Brahmin family.[4] He graduated in Tamil and was soon employed as a Professor of Tamil in the Madras Christian College. In 1895, Suryanarayana Sastri rose to become the Head of Department for Tamil at the Madras Christian College.[2] He was one of the early pure Tamil activists. He changed his name Suryanarayana Sastri to its pure Tamil form ParithiMaal Kalaignyar (Surya - Parithi (sun), Narayanan - Maal (God Vishnu), Sastri - Kalaignyar (artist or scholar))

Campaign for recognition of Tamil as classical language

Suryanarayana Sastri had immense love for Tamil and wrote plenty of books.[3] He even changed his Sanskrit name to its Tamil translation.[5]

When the Madras University proposed to exclude Tamil from its syllabus, Parithimar Kalaignar vehemently protested against the proposal forcing the authorities to drop the move.[2] In 1902, he proposed that Tamil be designated as a "classical language" thereby becoming the first person to make such a petition.[3] Parithimar Kalignar is also known as Dravida Sastri.[6]

Parithimar Kalaignar was also the first to use the Tamil name Kumarinadu for the mythical lost-land of Lemuria.[7]


Paritihimar Kalaignar died in 1903 due to tuberculosis[3] at the young age of 33.[6]


Parithimar Kalaignar is regarded as an inspiration for Tamil enthusiasts as Maraimalai Adigal and the Tanittamil Iyakkam.

In 2006, the Government of Tamil Nadu declared Parithimar Kalaignar's house in his native village of Vilacheri as a memorial and sanctioned a sum of rupees 15 lakh towards nationalizing his books.[3][8]

On August 17, 2007, postage stamps were issued in memory of Saint Vallalar, Parithimar Kalaignar and Maraimalai Adigal.[2][9]

On December 13, 2006, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi extended an amount of Rs. 15 lakh to the Tamil scholar's descendants.[10]

See also


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