Support for Tamil Studies at Cologne University
Tamil Studies at Cologne University has its roots in the Institute of Indology, founded in 1963 by Klaus-Ludwig Janert, who was one of the
few indologists of his time to take a deep interest in Tamil studies. He started building a Tamil library, which has grown into a collection of almost 40000 books, making it one of the largest Tamil libraries in the western world. Ever since, the department has made countless valuable contributions ranging from Sangam Literature to tribal language studies.
In 2005, the institute was threatened by the University's decision to close it down – a fate which had already befallen several other Indological institutes across Europe. The protest by Tamils across the world made the University to reconsider its decision. However, in 2014, Cologne University decided not to renew the professorship in Indology and Tamil studies after the retirement of Prof. Ulrike Niklas in March 2022. Due to this decision, one of the very few international University institutes exclusively dedicated to Tamil studies will be lost, together with its unique Tamil library.
Currently, the efforts are on to save at least a Tamil lecturer position, so that the teaching of Tamil and the existence of the unique library may be ensured until Cologne University's financial situation changes and eventually support for the institute resumes. An initial funding of €137500 was provided by Tamil Chair Inc. (Harvard, USA) for the lecture position upto March 2021. It ensured the continued teaching & research activities, annual summer schools in Pondicherry and supervision of the Tamil library. The key focus of this position would be to develop modern methodologies for teaching Tamil as a foreign langugage according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
To continue the Tamil lecturer position until the planed term of May 2022, a sum of € 137500 (= US$ 168000) is furthermore required by March 2021. Otherwise, the lecturer position will be terminated by March 2021 due to lack of funds. Therefore, the institute of Indology and Tamil Studies at Cologne University needs immediate financial help for the continuance of this Tamil lecturer position. Any amount of money collected will immediately contribute to the prolonging of Tamil teaching and research at Cologne University and will pave way for the sustainment of Tamil Department.
Join us in saving the Tamil Studies at Cologne University!