George L. Hart

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For other people named George Hart, see George Hart (disambiguation).

George L. Hart (born c. 1945) is a professor of Tamil language at the University of California, Berkeley.

Hart received his Ph.D. in Sanskrit from Harvard University and taught Sanskrit at the University of Wisconsin–Madison before joining the faculty at Berkeley.[1] Professor Hart was responsible for inaugurating the Tamil department at Berkeley. He has studied Latin and Greek as well as several modern European and Indian languages.

Hart is best known for his translations of several Tamil epics into English and for asserting that Tamil should be classified as a classical language, which is stated clearly in a letter addressed to Professor Maraimalai on April 11, 2000.[1] On September 18, 2004 the Indian Union Cabinet recognized Tamil as a classical language. For The Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom (1999) Hart, along with co-author Hank Heifetz, was the recipient of the AAS South Asia Council (SAC) Ramanujan Book Prize in 2002. The book is a translation of Purananuru. His book The Poems of The Tamil Anthologies (1979) was nominated for The American Book Award.

Hart is also the author of several Tamil and Sanskrit textbooks. He is married to Kausalya Hart, herself a professor and Tamil textbook author.

In 2015 he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India for his contributions to the study and translation of Indian literature, particularly the Sangam literature of ancient Tamil.[2]


  • The Poems of Ancient Tamil, Their Milieu and Their Sanskrit Counterparts[3]
  • A Rapid Sanskrit Method [4]
  • The Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom: An Anthology of Poems from Classical Tamil, the Purananuru[5]
  • Poets of the Tamil Anthologies: Ancient Poems of Love and War [6]
  • The Forest Book of the Ramayana of Kampan[7]


  1. ^ a b "Tamil is a Classical Language". 
  2. ^ "Padma Awards 2015". Press Information Bureau. Archived from the original on 26 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Hart, George W. (1975). The poems of ancient Tamil, their milieu and their Sanskrit counterparts. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-02672-1. 
  4. ^ Hart, George W. (1984). A rapid Sanskrit method. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-0199-7. 
  5. ^ Heifetz, Hank; Hart, George W. (1999). The four hundred songs of war and wisdom: an anthology of poems from classical Tamil: the purananuru. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-11563-6. 
  6. ^ Hart, George W. (1979). Poets of the Tamil anthologies: ancient poems of love and war. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-06406-7. 
  7. ^ Heifetz, Hank; Hart, George W. (1989). The forest book of the Rāmāyaṇa of Kampan̲. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06088-1. 

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