The honorable chief minister of Tamilnadu Dr. M. Karunanidhi is known for his mastery over the Tamil language and his deep knowledge of Tamil literature. In his foreward to the book “தமிழகத்தில் ஜைனம்” (Jainism in Tamilnadu) he talks about the contribution of Jainism to the Tamil language:
English Translation of the Foreward:
The Samanam religion is synonymous with love and compassion. Samanam is also known as Jainism.
Jainism an ancient religion came into existence in India hundreds of years even before the birth of Christ. It was flourishing in Tamilnadu well before Tholkappiyar’s period.
The virtuous Jains have adorned our ‘Tamil mother’ with innumerable jewels of literary works. If you remove these works of Samanars, the world of Tamil literature would wear a deserted look; such is the contribution of Jain poets to the Tamil language*. The ancient kings have also encouraged and supported these noble efforts.
A number of poets who embraced Jainism have lived in Tamilnadu. Jainism was very prevalent in Tamilnadu at some point in time in the past. A number of people voluntarily embraced the Jain religion which had the great principle that “the world was not created by anyone”.
After well researching the history of Jainism’s origin in Tamilnadu, the story of its growth and the state of its existence in the Tamil literature, Jeevabanthu T.S. Sripal has given us the book “Jainism in Tamilnadu”. His research was done in the very best way. One should not think that the author has praised Jainism because he is a Jain himself. That, Jainism is worthy of extol has been clearly communicated by a number of scholars both in India and abroad.
It is commendable that the author throughout the book quotes the views on Jainism of well-known scholars like Nobel prize winner and Indian scientist Dr. Jagadeesh Chandra Bose , German Professor Georg Bühler, Czech scholar Kamil Zvelebil , our own Tamilnadu’s Sir. R. K. Shanmugam, Tamil Thendral Thiru. V.Ka and Thiru. H.A. Krishna pillai. Yet there is one unfulfilled desire in my heart – the book is missing the great ‘Arignyar Anna’s’ favorable comments on Jainism. I hope the author Jeevabanthu Sripal will fulfill this desire in the next edition of this book.
Finally, this book “Jainism in Tamilnadu” is not only an excellent research material, but a rare book worthy of being part of the syllabi of any of Tamilnadu’s fine universities. The authors abilities are worthy of praise and applause.