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Indian priest awarded for promoting Tamil language, literature

The southern Tamil Nadu government bestowed the George Uglow Pope (G.U. Pope) Award on Father Amudhan of Tanjore Diocese
A screenshot of Father D. Amudhan of Tanjore Diocese in India from a Youtube interview.

A screenshot of Father D. Amudhan of Tanjore Diocese in India from a Youtube interview. (Youtube)

Published: February 25, 2024 04:02 AM GMT
Updated: February 27, 2024 04:41 AM GMT

A Catholic priest in southern Tamil Nadu state has won a literature award named after an Anglican missionary and a Tamil scholar for the first time this year.

The state Department of Tamil Development bestowed the George Uglow Pope (G.U. Pope) Award on Father D. Amudhan of Tanjore diocese on Feb. 22.

The award recognizes his outstanding contributions to Tamil literature and language.

The award is named after Pope (1820–1908), a British Protestant missionary, who spent 40 years in Tamil Nadu and translated many Tamil classical works like Tirukkural into English.

Recognizing Pope's contribution to the Tamil language, the state government has installed his statue on the popular Chennai beach in the capital of the state.

Pope opened several schools and taught Latin, English, Hebrew, mathematics, and philosophy.

Pope was born on April 24, 1820, on Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia. His family migrated to England when he was an infant.

Tamil, spoken by 66 million people, is considered a classical language by the federal government in 2004.

Besides Tamil Nadu, Tamil is one of the official languages of Sri Lanka and Singapore. It is also spoken in several other nations.

Father Amudhan has published 17 research articles on the Tamil language. His focus is centered around contributions made by Christianity to the Tamil language. The priest has authored nine books.

“Father Amudhan helped me proofread the translation of the Bible in Tamil in 1986. He translated the Book of Esther from Greek to Tamil,” said Bishop Emeritus Soosai Manikam of Sivagangai in Tamil Nadu.

The 80-year-old Amudhan was born on April 18, 1943, in Punnaikayal in the coastal Tuticorin diocese in Tamil Nadu. He renamed himself Amudhan (Elixir) for his love of the Tamil language.

The priest also edited several Tamil publications and was president of the Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA) from 1998 to 2001.

Amudhan has received several other awards and recognitions for his contribution to the Tamil language.

Amuthath Tamil, a book that speaks of his life and works, was published on his 75th birthday in 2017, authored by another Tamil scholar M. Alphonse.

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Scripta Manent. Hearty congratulations to the Reverend D. Amudhan.
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