University of Madras offers fellowships in memory of Irish linguist

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University of Madras will offer three fellowships to students in honour of Irish missionary and linguist Robert Caldwell from this academic year. The university held a meeting to commemorate the 200th birth anniversary of the scholar who established that south Indian languages had roots in Tamil and not Sanskrit.

R Thandavan, vice chancellor of the university, said, “Two fellowships will be given to students of language and literature department and one for Thirukkural department.”

Robert Caldwell came to Chennai (then Madras) in 1838 as a missionary and fell in love with the beauty of the Tamil language and started to spread the language. He wrote seven books including ‘A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South Indian Family Languages’ in 1856 and ‘A Political and General History of Tinnevely’ in 1881. These two works are considered masterpieces. He died on August 28, 1891, and as per his wishes, was buried in a temple he built at Idaiyankudi near Tirunelveli.

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