Article by S. Viswanathan on RMRL in Frontline, November 19, 2005 issue
"The Roja Muthiah Research Library is leading an international collaboration to catalogue Tamil language publications spanning five centuries."
Article by S. Theodore Baskaran on RMRL in Frontline, August 19, 2000 issue
"An archive for Tamil studies at the Roja Muthiah Research Library in Chennai, the private hoard of an unconventional collector of printed material of all sorts forms the nucleus of a major research facility focussing on South Indian studies, particularly the culture and social history of Tamil Nadu..."
Article on Roja Muthiah in The University of Chicago Magazine
"The U of C discovers a massive private collection of Tamil literature--and a story stranger than fiction...."
In Memorium: P. Sankaralingam, RMRL's first Director
August 20, 1946 - October 26, 1997
Mr. P. Sankaralingam, a visionary librarian and gifted teacher who was central in creation and leadership of the Roja Muthiah Research Library (RMRL) in Madras, died on October 26 after suffering a massive heart attack on October 23. He was 51.
Sankaralingam was the first Director of the Roja Muthiah Research Library in Madras, a position he held since September 1993, when the institution was founded. Prior to that appointment he was instrumental in bringing together the forces necessary in India to ensure that the collection of the late Roja Muthiah would be acquired and preserved for the use of scholars. The University of Madras generously gave Sankaralingam a leave of absence to accept the Directorship of RMRL. From 1976 he had been a faculty member in the University's Department of Library and Information Science, most recently as a Senior Lecturer. From 1968 through 1976, he was Assistant Librarian at the Tirunelveli Medical College, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. His M.Lib.Sc. degree was from the University of Mysore in 1975.
The "New Library Movement in India" is the name Sankaralingam gave to loosely confederated activities aimed at improving services and access to collections for readers. He was a central figure shaping the movement in south India. RMRL was workbench for framing and testing new approaches, approaches that already have had a dramatic impact on the visibility and organization of Tamil publications, from classical texts through less well recognized modern literature.
Productive as a scholar, Sankaralingam publishing twenty-three papers and preparing the indexes for eight books. From 1985-1991, he was joint managing editor of the land-mark Kriyavin tarkalat Tamil akarati [A Tamil - Tamil - English dictionary of contemporary Tamil] published by Cre-A: in 1992. He was also a joint editor of the 1992 publication, Cognitive paradigms in knowledge organization. His translation into Tamil of David Werner's Where there is no doctor appeared in 1984 as Taktar illata itattil and remains a best seller.
Many of Sankaralingam's thirty-one students in the Masters in Library and Information Science at the University of Madras have gone on to positions of library leadership throughout India. He was revered by his students as a gifted and demanding teacher who gave special attention to the needs of students in financial need.
Other major projects and activities in which Sankaralingam took a leading role include: a project for automation and reorganization of the library of the Department of Indology, French Institute, Pondicherry; a project to develop an information storage and retrieval system for the audio and video recordings available in the Archives of All India Radio and Doordarshan; and development of a morphological analyzer for Tamil. He was a founding trustee of MOZHI, a public Trust for Resource Development in Language and Culture, and held that position until becoming Director of RMRL.
He is survived by his wife, Sankarammal, and two sons, Ranganathan and Kartik.Return to: South Asia