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Abithana Chintamani is an encyclopedia on Tamil literature written by A.Singaravelu Mudaliar (1855 - 1931). This is the first encyclopedia on Tamil literature. The first edition, which contains a recommendation dated 1899 by V. Kanakasabai Pillai, appeared in 1910 and contained 1050 pages. The second edition, containing 1634 pages, appeared posthumously in 1934, with a preface by the author's son, and is available as reprints.
The Fourth Tamil Sangam was formed in Madurai on the 14 September 1901. It was founded by Pandithurai Thevar of the royal family of Sethupathis of Ramanathapuram. Thevar was planning to publish an encyclopedia on Tamil literature if some author agreed to do the job. Meanwhile, Singaravelu Mudaliyar, a Tamil Pandit working at Pachaiyappa's College, Chennai was preparing such a work, and had completed it. However he could not find a publisher for the work. Pandithorai Thevar heard about the work and supported the publication of the work financially.
In the preface Singaravelu Mudaliyar says
After the completion of this work, as my income as a Tamil Pandit was not sufficient to publish this elaborate work, I showed the manuscript copies of the work to many wealthy and educated gentlemen in Madras, who simply stated, without offering any help, that the publication would cost much. Then I thought of publishing it in monthly parts and to that effect published leaflets with specimen pages of my book. As very few joined as subscribers and as I feared that my attempt would be a failure, I gave up the idea.
While I was dejected and disheartened, one of my leaflets reached the hands of Sriman Pandithoraisamy Thevar, the President-Founder of Madura Tamil Sangam and Zamindar of Palavanatham, Ramnad. He came to Madras, looked into some portions of the book and kindly consented to publish this work.
I shall not expatiate on the various troubles and difficulties that I have undergone in writing and publishing this work. The merit of this work is left to the judgement of those who may consult it as a book of reference whenever difficulties present themselves to them. My thanks are due to those gentlemen who have rendered me invaluable help with informations and with books and especially to Sriman Pandithoraisamy Thevar who has rendered me timely help in undertaking to publish this elaborate work. I wish him prosperity and success.
- More Details From Agathiyar Yahoo Groups: Written by Dr.S.Jayabarathi(JayBee), Malaysia
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