Palanivel Thiaga Rajan releases book written by a historian
Social justice, equal rights, and equal opportunities for people were crucial for a society’s growth and Tamil Nadu excelled in upholding such values, said Finance Minister P. T. R. Palanivel Thiaga Rajan at the release of a book, ‘Protestant textuality and the Tamil modern’ at The American College here on Sunday.
The book was written by late Bernard Bate, an American linguistic anthropologist and historian, who specialised in Tamil and spent many years in Madurai. The book charts the development of political oratory and its influence on Tamil society in the last three centuries.
Referring to the highlights by the book on the oratory of Christian missionaries who came to Tamil Nadu in the 1900s, Mr. Thiaga Rajan said, “Be it in India or Tamil Nadu or even Madurai, the contribution of American missionaries is not always talked about much. The link between Madurai and American missionaries goes back to 1881 or even beyond. They contributed to the overall development of the region by providing educational and medical facilities, though there were not the colonising power here,” he said.
Many movements in history, be it the work of American Christian missionaries across the world, the civil rights movement in the US, or the social justice movement in Tamil Nadu – they were closely linked in terms of the cause – the people’s welfare. “People’s welfare is the ultimate aim and in that way Tamil Nadu has always believed in social justice and providing equal opportunities and rights to all people. Social justice is crucial for a society’s growth. In India, Tamil Nadu leads among the few States that have an integrated growth of economics and social justice,” the Minister said.
After being published by Stanford University Press recently, the book was released in India by the Study Centre for Indian Literature in English and Translation (SCILET) at The American College. Malarvizhi Jayanth, a member of the book’s editorial team, said that as Bate, who worked at Yale-NUS College in Singapore, passed away in 2016 without completing this book, some of his friends and former colleagues made the effort to compile and publish it.
Principal Davamani Christober said that it was fitting to release the book at the college where Bate spent a lot of time in his research. “Bate spent a great deal of time with SCILET during his years as a foreign research professor in our college. He was a great human being. He had memorable social ties with our campus,” he said.
Pramila Paul, SCILET Director; Stalin Rajangam, Assistant Professor, Tamil Department; R. Nedumaran, retired professor of English Department, and J. Balasubramanian, Assistant Professor, Department of Jourlanism and Science Communication, Madurai Kamaraj University, spoke.
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