Tribute to Dr. V.C. Kulandaiswamy

by M. K Eelaventhan, January 2, 2017

Tribute to Dr. V. C. Kulandaiswamy, a many sided genius and a distinguished educationist

Dr. Kulandaisway passed away at the age of 87 on December 11th 2016 at his residence in Chennai – Tamil
Nadu after a brief illness.

“Education is a manifestation of knowledge that is already in you,” said Swami Vivekananda, the
revolutionary Saint and sage of the Indian subcontinent. In keeping with this maxim of Swami
Vivekananda, Dr. Kulandaiswamy was a seasoned and distinguished educationist. He nurtured
many students who brought name and fame to the intellectual world of India.

Though he was a leading personality with scholarly achievements, he was the embodiment of humility in keeping
with the Saint Valluvar’s thinking. His ability to win over friends and students with his
enchanting smile is always remembered by us. He was a friend of mine who came to my help as
regard admission of the Eelam Tamil students for the post graduate course at the Anna
University in Chennai. We the Eelam Tamils are eternaly grateful for the silent and meaningful
support he gave us. Gratitude is the essence of Tamilian culture and we remember him with deep
gratitude.

Dr. Kulandaiswamy was born in Vaangalaampalayam of Karur district in a humble agricultural
family. He had a rare distinction of being the Vice-Chancellor of three Universities – Madurai
Kamaraj University (1978-79); Anna University (1981-90); and the Indira Gandhi National Open
University (IGNOU), New Delhi (1990-94). His Vice-Chancellorship was the peak of his career.

He was an Indian academic and an author. He obtained his Master of Technology degree from
IIT Kharagpur and obtained a PhD in hydrology and water resources from the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (United States).

His unique contribution in the field of science was his eponymous mathematical model for the
rainfall-runoff relationship based on a general equation developed by him. Kulandaiswamy was a
member of the UNESCO planning group (1978) for the preparation of the second six-year plan
(1981-86) of the International Hydraulic Programme (IHP). He has authored more than 60 research reports and papers in the field of hydrology as well as six volumes of poems and seven
of prose essays which earned him the Thiruvalluvar Award by Tamil Nadu government in 1999.
He has also received the Padma Shri (1992) and Padma Bushan (2002), awarded by the President
of India. He was conscious for the reform of Tamil script to make learning Tamil easier. In this
context, we are conscious of the part played by Periyar.

Dr. G.U. Pope speaks of Valluvar as a “Bard of the universal man”. Dr. Kulandaiswamy was
equally attracted by Valluvar and brought out a book titled Vaazhum Valluvam which earned
him the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1988.

Dr. Kulandaiswamy speaks of Tirukkural as “the immortal kural” and deals in detail with the unique
features of the kural. His introductory note covers roughly five pages, but space does not permit
me to elaborate on it. Readers are advised to read his original work.

Dr. Kulandaiswamy was a unique personality covering science, philosophy, poetry and prose and
was excelling in all these fields. He was versatile in Tamil his mother tongue and had a super
command of the English language.

In conclusion, the writer would like to pay my tribute as to how he identified with our Eelam
struggle. His work titled “Kulothungan’s poetry” reflects his fundamental thinking of the Eelam
Tamils. He believed in the concept of futurology in political science and made it clear that the
Tamils in Eelam must have a permanent political safeguard which could be a federal state or an
Eelam state based on the Right of Self Determination as in the UN charter. The greatest tribute
that we can pay to him is to establish an independent state of Tamil Eelam or establish a confederal
structure.

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