Highest Civilian award by French Govt given to an Sri N S Ramanuja Tatachariar swami of Navalpakkam. NSR Swamy was awarded for his Immense Contribution to Sanskrit. NSR Swami 84, hails from Navalpakkam, a village near Vandavasi, Thiruvannamalai District, Tamil Nadu. This award is equivalent to that of Bharat Ratna in India.
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Article from The Hindu:
For Sanskrit scholar, small salary meant no distractions
A small, frail old man dressed in a Panchakacham and a blue shawl walked up to the dais and started an emotional speech in fluent Sanskrit. His voice trembled as he spoke, and yet there was no denying his command over the language as he described the various texts and commentaries he had written. He was none other than N.S. Ramanuja Tatacharya, who was awarded the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur by the French Government this year.
Mr. Tatacharya is 81 years old and was born in Navalpakkam village in the North Arcot district in Tamil Nadu to U.Ve.N.S. Krishnaswamy Tatacharya and Rajalakshmi. He has 11 publications to his name, including Sankaravijaya of Vyasaala, Purusarthasudhanidhi of Sayana Madhava and Storarnava.
His original works include Vivriti – a commentary on Jnapaka Sangraha, Balabodhini – a commentary on the Pancalaksani Gadadhari (Nyaya) and Bhagavadgurunaratnapeetika – a commentary on the Gopalasahasranama. He is presently an honorary professor in the Department of Indology at the French Institute, Puducherry and working on Sabdabodha Mimamsa.
Talking about his works and his achievements at a felicitation function at Pondicherry University, he said one of the main reasons for his working so hard was that his salary did not compare to the kinds of salaries that people were drawing today. The money would have distracted him from doing any meaningful work, he said.
He also thanked his parents and teachers for making him who he was today.