New world.Tamil music, and Tamil drama could also form part of Tamil studies.Lot of interest is evinced in the area of Tamil native music and Nataka Tamil (like Silambu andother old plays and stage).”He also suggested if the Government solicits the co-operation of the Tamil diaspora therethe scheme will be more successful.“ It would be useful to take into confidence some of the fore-runners in establishingTamil sangams and Tamil Literary forums in USAin the early 1970s.. There are a fewindividuals who are really strong and can do something concrete for the development of such studies in the larger interest of Tamil and Tamil culture.”For the past ten years Dr.K.Karunagaran is doing a remarkable job there in impartingTamil education.To put it in his own words:“ As for the University of Michigan during the past 10 years I have trained atleast 300under graduate sudents and 30-35 graduate students (Ph.D. level) in Tamil and Tamilstudies.”Dr.Vasu Renganathan,who teaches Tamil at the University of Pennsylvania describes thehistory and nature of the Tamil courses there:
“History of Tamil courses at the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania has been offering Tamil language and literature atthree levels of language courses for the past two decades, besides guiding a number of Ph.D. students who conduct their research in Tamil related areas. We have had studentsboth from Tamil heritage as well as from non-natives who specialize in Tamil languageand literature research as part of their graduate program. The three levels of instructionthat we offer consistently are beginning, intermediate and advanced Tamil courses.Besides, we also offer independent study courses to cater the needs of Tamil researchers.
All the three levels of courses that we offer in our department are meant toprovide Tamil language education from learning alphabet to learn to read, write andspeak the language fluently. Our syllabi for all of these courses are designed in such away that the students acquire native like proficiency at the end of three levels of instruction. These courses are designed for two semesters each for about eight months,and five hours per week. In all of these courses students learn the grammar of bothspoken and written Tamil. Advanced level and independent study students are taughtTamil literatures from Sangam to Modern Tamil, and consequently they conduct researchin any one piece of literature of their choice. In the past, advanced level students hadchosen to study Manimekalai, Silappatikaram, Alwar’s poems and Nayanmar’s works.Topics of our Ph.D. students range from study of Sangam and religious literaturesof Tamil Nadu, Temples of Tamil Nadu, study of folk literature and so on. Students fromthe disciplines of Anthropology, Folklore, History, Religion and Political Science areinvolved in post graduate level research in Tamil.
Strength of students.(For the past 5 years)
Tamil classes in all of the three levels usually contain for about twenty to twentyfive students in total. Out of these, about fifty percent of them are heritage learners, whowant to learn the language to maintain their Tamil background at home. Others are