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Sat 23 Mar 2024

9:30 AM - 1:00 PM (UTC+5.5)

Symposium On Saṃskṛtam And Tamiḻ

Oldest amongst languages declared ‘Classical’ by the Government of India, Saṃskṛtam (or Sanskrit) and Tamiḻ (or Tamil) have been inestimably valuable storehouses of immense quantities and varieties of knowledge indigenous to Bhāratavarṣa, a region of the world whose 63-verse description in critical edition of the Indian itihāsa, the Mahabhārata, encompasses all of today’s mainland India and more. 

Pitted into separate language families first by colonial writers in the 19th century, these languages have since then been often used as divisive levers by a variety of forces with, some may argue, an excessive focus on how they are different — which they no doubt are — but with far lesser efforts to see how they are similar or how they can be seen together and as parts of a larger whole, rather than only separately or worse, antagonistically. 

INDICA Bhāṣā’s Online Symposium on Saṃskṛtam, and Tamiḻ, planned on the 23rd of March 2024 (Saturday) between IST 0930-1300 hrs (schedule below), looks to add to previous efforts that have striven to address the aforementioned imbalance, by bringing you views of some of the finest minds at the intersection of Saṃskṛtam and Tamiḻ across domains such as aesthetics, ways of life and more. 


Time Name Of The Speaker Topic
9:30 Megh Kalyanasundaram
Director Special Projects, INDICA
Invocation and Concept
9:45 Śatāvadhānī Dr R Ganesh
Polyglot Scholar
On The Common Aesthetics of Saṃskṛtam and Tamiḻ
10:30 Dr T Ganesan
Head, Centre for Shaiva Studies, Pondicherry
Saṃskṛtam and Tamiḻ in the Bhāratīya Śaiva literature
11:15 Dr MA Alwar
Professor, Government Maharaja’s Sanskrit College, Mysuru, Karnataka State University
Saṃskṛtam and Tamiḻ in the Bhāratīya Vaiṣṇava literature
12:00 Sri Rangarathnam Gopu
Co-founder Varahamihira Science Forum and Volunteer, Tamil Heritage Trust
Brāhmī and Grantham: Scripts for Saṃskṛtam and Tamiḻ
12:45 Megh Kalyanasundaram
Director Special Projects, INDICA
Beyond Colonial Divisions: Looking at Saṃskṛtam & Tamiḻ together



Śatāvadhānī Dr R Ganesh

Polyglot Scholar

Satavadhani Dr. R Ganesh (b. 1962, Bengaluru) is one of India's foremost Sanskrit poets and scholars. He writes and lectures extensively on various subjects pertaining to India and Indian cultural heritage. He is a master of the ancient art of Avadhanam, where he faces a group of eight (in Aṣṭāvadhanam) or hundred (in Satavadhanam) questioners and in response to their many queries, composes extempore poems set to metre, solves poetic challenges, solves a magic square, keeps track of the count of a randomly rung bell, and so forth. Ganesh performs Avadhānam primarily in Kannada, Sanskrit, and Telugu. (He is credited with reviving the art in Kannada.) He has performed more than 1,200 Aṣṭāvadhanams and five Satavadhānams thus far. He is fluent in several languages including Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Greek, Latin, and Italian. He is well versed in the Vedas, Vedāngas, Upanisads, Dharma-śāstra literature, various classical texts on the arts like the Nātya-śāstra, and literature in classical Sanskrit. Ganesh holds a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and a master's degree in Metallurgy as well as in Sanskrit. Hampi University awarded him a D.Litt. for his thesis, 'Kannadadalli Avadhana- kale. Tumkur University awarded him an honorary doctorate (D. Litt.) He is recipient of several awards and recognitions including the Badarayana-Vyasa Puraskar from the President of India for his contribution to the Sanskrit language. Few amongst his numerous awards include this highest recognition from the state of Karnataka, the Rajyotsava award (in 1992), the prestigious Kalidasa award (in 2020, from Kavikula Guru Kalidasa Sanskrit University, Nagpur) and the Central Sahitya Academy award for the best Sanskrit translation (in 2022).


Dr T Ganesan

Retired Head of the Department of Indology, French Institute of Pondicherry and presently The Head, Centre for Shaiva Studies, Pondicherry

T. Ganesan, with Ph.D. in Sanskrit has been working as Director of Research at the prestigious French Institute, Pondicherry (IFP) since 1985 and now he continues to be a Research Associate there. He is working on the projects A Comprehensive History of Śaivasiddhānta in Tamilnadu as well as on the project Critical Edition of the Śaivāgama-s. He is one of the editors of the Sukshmagama (3 volumes published and the 4th volume under preparation) published by the French Institute of Pondicherry. The first two volumes of the Paushkaragama along with the two unpublished commentaries of Umapati and Jnanaprakasa critically edited by him for the first time has been published by the National Mission for the Manuscripts (NMM), New Delhi in 2014 and 2020. Śivajñānabodhasūtra with the Laghuṭīkā of Śivāgrayogī, Varuṇapaddhati with the commentary Vilocana of Nigamajñānadeśika, Siddhāntaprakāśikā of Sarvātmaśambhu with Tamil and English translations (published 2009), Śivajñānabodhasūtra with the unpublished commentary of Nigamajñānadeśika (published 2009 by Rashtriya Sanskrit Samsthan) and a few other Śaivasiddhānta texts are some of the important Saiva texts critically edited by him. Two Śaiva Teachers of the 16th century: Nigamajñāna I and Nigamajñāna II an analytical study of all the œuvres of these two Śaiva Ācāryas, was published from IFP 2009. He has presented more than 40 seminar papers and research articles concerning Saivism and Saivasiddhanta. He had delivered special lectures concerning various aspects of Saivasiddhānta at The Tamil University, Thanjavur, Pondicherry University, Pondicherry, University of Madras as well as at the Université de Paris III-Nouvelle Sorbonne, Paris and at the University of Marbourg, Germany. Two articles of 10,000 words each on the Śaivasiddhānta and on the Śaiva Āgama-s were published in the volumes of the Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism in 2011 and in 2018. Presently T. Ganesan heads the Centre for Shaiva Studies, Pondicherry.


Dr MA Alwar

Professor, Government Maharaja’s Sanskrit College, Mysuru, Karnataka State University

Dr. M.A.Alwar is an acclaimed scholar highly qualified in Sanskrit and Indian Knowledge systems. He has many academic qualifications to his credit, which include the Vidwan in Prachina Nyaya, Vidwan in Navya Nyaya, in addition to his Master’s degree (M.A.) and Doctorate (Ph. D.) degree, both in Sanskrit. Dr. Alwar has been working to-date as Professor of Nyaya Sastra for about twenty-six years, at the Govt. Maharaja’s Sanskrit College, Mysore, Karnataka Sanskrit University, where his work involves teaching of texts of Indian Philosophy and logic at the Graduate and Post Graduate levels. He is also an Honorary Project Director, Transdisciplinary University (TDU), Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT), Bangalore, South India implementing many projects such as Digital Repository of Medical Manuscripts and books of Karnataka, Comprehensive Dictionary of Ayurveda from Sanskrit - English – Kannada, Critical Edition, Translation and Publication of rare books of Ayurveda and Traditional Dietetics and other such projects. He is an Approved Guide for M.Phil. and Ph. D. of the Karnataka Sanskrit University and is presently guiding students successfully. He is the Managing Trustee and Honorary Director of the Samskriti Foundation ®, Mysore / Melkote and the Chief Editor of many Research Projects, such as, Preparation of Comprehensive Dictionary of Yoga, Preparation of an Electronic Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts dealing with Science and Technology, and Preparation of the History of the Philosophy of Visistadvaita, to name a few. Alwar is an expert Manuscriptologist and has authored about ten books, and edited and published more than 50 books on various topics pertaining to the fields of his expertise.


Sri Rangarathnam Gopu

Cofounder Varahamihira Science Forum and Volunteer, Tamil Heritage Trust

R Gopu, a Madras native, studied computer engineering and was a software engineer, at Microsoft, Seattle. Bored of software, he acquired a taste in history and heritage. A volunteer for Tamil Heritage Trust, he has delivered several lectures on heritage about Mamallapuram, Kanchipuram, Cholas, Pandyas, Orissa etc. His essays have been published by the Week, Swarjaya, New Indian Express. He co founded Varahamihira Science Forum, which organises talks and workshops on science in Madras. He teaches course on Temple Heritage and Indian Astronomy at Saveetha Engineering College. He has also spoken at Kashi Tamil Sangamam and CSIR’s seminar on Traditional Indian Knowledge systems in New Delhi.


Megh Kalyanasundaram

Director Special Projects, INDICA

An Indian citizen with close to nine years of lived experience in China, he is an alumnus of Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, and currently the Director of Special Projects at INDICA. His post-graduate specialization in Strategy, Leadership and Marketing included a study of research methods. His professional experience includes stints as a Market Leader at a Global Fortune 50 firm while he has served a term on the Board of a Shanghai-based not-for-profit. His academic writings span some aspects of ancient Indian chronology, Indian Knowledge Systems, Landscape in Indic texts, Ancient Indian Jurisprudence, Ideas of India and Philosophy. Other professional and pro-bono pursuits have included building differentiated digital platforms for Indic texts targeted at specific learning and research needs and music. His research-based compositional Sanskrit music album ‘Bhārata and her Kāśmīra’ has been listed by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. His subsequent music album ‘Indian Knowledge Systems and Yāskācārya’s Nirukta’ has recently been accepted for listing by the Vedic Heritage Portal. In 2022, the National Museum Institute invited him to contribute content for multiple projects currently underway, including ones on Jammu Kashmir & Ladakh and Kedarnath. In 2023, he was nominated by the Chairman of ICHR as a Member of a National Committee for an initiative focused on Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. His work has been featured in both editions (Chennai and Pune) of Vitasta (2023), a multi-city festival focused on Kashmir organized by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.