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Personal Introduction

From: K V N Gopal (gopal_at_aero.iisc.ernet.in)
Date: Fri Jul 31 1998 - 08:09:11 PDT

Greetings to all the members.

 I would like to first thank Mani for letting me join this group. I have been
 following the discussions on this list for the last one year, thanks to the
 excellent archive and the mails forwarded by my friend Srinivasa Raghavan. 
 I have learnt  a lot during this time from members like Sri Sadagopan,
 Vidyasankar and others. I am also impressed by the webpages put up by the
 members and the depth of information provided in them. I then felt that an
 active participation would be much more fruitful and beneficial.

 As an introduction is in order for a new member, here I go..

 I am currently doing my PhD in the Dept. of Aerospace Engineering(hope to
 complete by the end of this year). My schooling was in Hyderabad. I graduated 
 with a B.Tech from IIT Madras in 1991 and proceeded to Texas A&M University
 from where I got my MS in Aerospace Engg. After spending a few months in
 Ohio I returned home to join IISc for PhD in Dec 1994.

 Coming to personal details, I belong to the 'pudUru drAviDa' community of
 smarta brahmins. Our roots are in Tamil Nadu (going back to 7-8 centuries) and
 we speak Tamil at home but have contributed much to Telugu literature (some of
 you may have heard of Alladi Krishnaswami, Vavilla Ramaswami Sastrulu & Sons,
 Vedam Venkataraya Sastri among others who belong to our community). Our Tamil
 is ofcourse a little different from the usual Madras Tamil and our customs &
 rituals are an interesting mix of Andhra, Iyer and SriVaishnava customs.
 Recently, in my study of our community's historical roots with the help of
 family trees and other sources, I got to know that a number of families in our
 community are SriVaishnavas and evidence points to a number of other families
 also having been SriVaishnavas until a few centuries ago. Interestingly there
 are also Smarta and Vaishnava Kidambi families in Nellore/Chittoor districts.
 More on this later as I would need information from members in this regard.

 I have been exposed to Tamil from my childhood(as a listener) but it is only 
 in the last 3 years(inspite of 4 years in Madras) that my conversational 
 ability has improved and I am also working on my reading and writing skills.
 This was prompted by the desire to learn my mother-tongue and appreciate its 
 vast literature in the original rather than in translation. For the same 
 reason I am also learning Kannada and Malayalam. I am reasonably proficient
 in Sanskrit. 

 As for my interests, I would call myself a 'vidya-arthi' =) to put it in
 general terms. Currently I am studying my community's history and its
 migration from Tamilnadu to Andhra, origin and development of various
 Indian scripts and the Dravidian languages (influence from and on Sanskrit),
 History of Dharmasastra (the monumental work by Sri P V Kane). Apart from
 this, I am involved in the activities of the IISc Samskrita Sangha and
 maintain  a mirror site of the 'Sanskrit Documents' webpages to which I
 hope to add some of the stotras of yAmunAchArya, Sri rAmAnuja and Sri dEsika.

 I better stop here before the intro looks like Anjaneya's tail. 

 Hoping to enjoy and learn from the discussions here.

 gopal