Veteran Tamil scholar Professor Veluppillai passes away

[TamilNet, Monday, 02 November 2015, 20:49 GMT]
Veteran Eezham Tamil scholar, Professor Alvappillai Veluppillai, who has internationally contributed over several decades to serious academic work in Tamil language, epigraphy, Dravidian linguistics and religion, passed away on Sunday night in San Francisco in the USA. He was 79. Born in Puloali South of Vadamaraadchi, Jaffna, in 1936, he was Professor of Tamil at the University of Jaffna as well as the University of Peradeniya. He also served at the Institute of Dravidian Linguistics in Trivandrum, Kerala University, the International Tamil Research Centre at Chennai, Uppsala University of Sweden and at the Virginia and Arizona Universities of the USA.

A Veluppillai
Professor A Veluppillai (29.11.1936 - 01.11.2015)
Professor Veluppillai suffered head injuries from a fall in the bathroom at home and passed away at a hospital in San Francisco.

Professor Veluppillai, an illustrious contemporary of professors, Kailasapathy, Sivathamby, Indrapala, Pathmanathan and Shanmugadas, in Tamil and historical studies, was a student of a great Eezham Tamil preceptor in multi-facetted Tamil studies, Prof K Kanapathippillai, at the Peradeniya University in the 1950s. Veluppillai inherited from him pursuits in certain unique areas of Tamil studies that had lacuna at that time, in grammar, linguistics and in the study of Eezham Tamil inscriptions.

Veluppillai received his Ph.D from the UK and had a further research degree D. Litt. He and Professor K. Indrapala went together for advanced studies in Epigraphy at the Chief Epigraphist Office of the Archaeological Survey of India in Mysore in the 1960s. Veluppillai’s contribution in the study and publication of the Eezham Tamil inscriptions is very significant.

His extensive research on Tamil inscriptional language and terminology was published in Kerala.

After serving at the Peradeniya University for a long time since 1960s, Veluppillai became the Professor and Head of the Department of Tamil at the University of Jaffna in 1984.

Professor Velupillai was working together with Professor Peter Schalk on the Tamil-Buddhist epic Ma'nimeakalai at the Uppsala university of Sweden in the 1990s.

After retirement, he was living with his children and grandchildren in the USA.

Paying homage to Professor A. Veluppillai, an article he wrote exclusively for TamilNet in July 1997 is brought out herewith. This was written when TamilNet was planning at that time to pioneer an Internet presentation of the profile of Tamil language in general with the inclusion of the perspectives of Eezham Tamils.


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