Saturday, 25 January 2014

First Tamil Printed Book.

                    When I was searching for information on Religious conversions in India, I stepped into some interesting information, one among them was, that the printing in First non European language was Tamil. Here is a brief account of the same:

                     தமிழின் முதல் அச்சு புத்தகம்
"ஆகாசமும் பூமியும் படச்சவன் சர்வமும் ஆனவனே, பிதாவே தம்பிரானே விசுவாசம். அவ்வண்ணம் என்னடே கர்த்தாவே யேசு கிறிஸ்து அவ்வனடே புத்ரனே ஒருவனே. சுத்தமான சித்தத்தினொடெய கருணே கொண்டு கெற்பம் ஆயி: கன்னியாஸ்திரி மரியத்தில் பெறந்தவன்: போஞ்சியு பிலாத்து விதித்த விதிகொண்டு வெசனப்பட்டு: குருசினில் தூக்கிச் செத்தான்: குழில் வைத்து.."

Above is a passage is from the first Tamil Printed book " Thambiran Vanakkam" (தம்பிரான் வணக்கம்) printed in India in 1578. It is a matter of record Tamil was the first non-European Language to be printed in movable type. The credit should go to the untiring efforts of a Portuguese Jesuit Priest Fr.Anrique Anriquez (1520–1600) better known as Fr.Henrique Henriques, who spent most of his life in missionary activities among Paravars in South India. He strongly believed that books of religious doctrines should be in local languages and to this end he wrote books in Tamil. The first such book printed in Tamil Script was Thambiran Vanakkam (தம்பிரான் வணக்கம்) (1578), a 16-page translation of the Portuguese “Doctrina Christam”. It was followed byKirisithiyaani Vanakkam (கிரிசித்தியானி வணக்கம்)(1579). These were works of catechism, containing the basic prayers of Catholicism. Before this ‘Cartilha’, a Tamil prayer book printed using Latin script, was printed in Lisbon by command of the King of Portugal and financed by the Paravar Christians community of Tuticorin, who also helped with scholarly assistance. The first known Tamil typeset for printing was cast in 1577 at Goa by a Spanish Jesuit Fr Juan Gonsalvez "who succeeded in makingMalauar (Tamil) printing press". The first Tamil Book "Tambiranvanakkam" was printed in this Printing Press at Kollam, Malabar.
Fr Henrique Henriques is sometimes called The Father of the Tamil Press. After his death his mortal remains were buried in Our Lady of Snows Basilica in Tuticorin, India.

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