Professor V.I. Subramoniam :
18-2-1926 – 29-6-2009
One of the pioneers in the academic study of Dravidian Languages and
cultures, Professor V.I. Subramoniam was convinced of the need to
establish a complex of institutions devoted to research into and
authoritative publications on this family of languages and the people
who spoke them. For him, to think was to act. After a brilliant academic
career in the Annamalai University and the U.S.A., he became the Head of
the Department of Tamil at the University of Kerala at an early age.
Subsequently, he founded and headed the Department of Linguistics in
this University. Supported by a set of bright young students in whom he
inspired the same passion for academic research, he founded this set of
institutions. He was the guiding spirit, and through indefatigable
effort, he built them up, over a period of 37 years. His loss is recent,
but we who are here continue to strive to fulfil his vision.
||PRESENT DIRECTOR OF ISDL
Prof. Naduvattom Gopalakrishnan is the present Director of the International School of Dravidian Linguistics. He took charge on 19th April 2018..
About one-fourth of the People of India speak one or another Dravidian
language. It is the major language family in the southern States, viz.
Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and in the Union
Territories of Pondicherry and Lakshadweep Islands. Brahui, perhaps the
oldest member of the Dravidian Family, is spoken by six lakh people in
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran; 10,000 speak Dangar in Nepal. There are old
and new migrants in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia
and Africa. In fact, about 30 million Dravidian speakers are migrants
and settled all over the world.
A "Call Notice" regarding the formation of an Association for
the study of Dravidian languages, and all aspects of Dravidian
culture and people, was issued jointly by late Prof. V.I.
Subramoniam (Kerala University), R.C. Hiremath (Karnataka
University), and Mahadeva Sastry (SV University) on 15th March
1971. A two-day Conference was held at Thiruvananthapuram,
presided over by Prof. Suniti Kumar Chatterji, the then doyen of
Indian linguistics. The DLA was born, with Prof. Chatterji as
its first President. Even before the registration of the DLA,
the learned bi-annual, International Journal of Dravidian
Linguistics (IJDL), was established with the issue of its first
number in 1972. This first issue carried articles from
scholars like Emeneau and others. Since then, without break, two issues
have appeared every year. Prof. Subramoniam was the Editor for 28 years
until 2000 when Prof. B. Gopinathan Nair took over this task. As the
membership of DLA increased, it became necessary to keep in touch with
them by the issue of a
In order to attract researchers and scholars, it was decided to transfer
these functions to a learned body. The International School of Dravidian
Linguistics (ISDL) was accordingly formed on 25th February 1977 with
Prof. R.C. Hiremath of Dharwad as the first Internal Director, and Prof.
F.C. Southworth, USA as the External Director. A Council of Direction
with Prof. George Jacob, the then Vice-Chancellor of the Kerala
University, as the President, was also constituted.
The Late Sri. C. Achutha Menon, as the then Chief Minister of Kerala,
wanted to emulate the great strides in other countries like Russia,
U.S.A., in Linguistics. He solidly supported the work of DLA and sister
institutions, especially ISDL, which had a humble beginning and
initially worked in an old house at Kunnumpuram, Vanchiyoor, in
Thiruvananthapuram City. Later, 27 acres were purchased from the
management of St. Xavier’s College and developed into its present site.
We have renamed this as V.I. Subramoniam Memorial ISDL Complex in memory
of our Founder.
Prof. V.I. Subramoniam and his associates convened the First Conference
of Dravidian Linguists as early as 1971. Since then, without break, the
Conferences have been an annual feature.
DLA celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 1996;
the IJDL, in 1997. The
ISDL Silver Jubilee was celebrated
The Proceedings of the first three Conferences were published by ISDL.
The more important learned papers presented at the subsequent
Conferences have been incorporated in the issues of IJDL.
Over the years, a series of Awards and Prizes has been installed for
recognizing merit, especially among young scholars.