Author of around three-dozen books, Gnanasambandan began focusing on the study of Tamil on the advice of his father. Today, he is acknowledged as an authority on Tamil classics. He maintains that the Thirukkural was written against a static backdrop. That dispels any misguided impression that it was influenced by the Vedas (which were written in the context of a nomadic civilisation).
Gnanasambandan was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1985 for his book ‘Kamban-Pudiya Paarvai’. He is also the recipient of the state Government awards in 1957 and 1990. The Tamil Newspaper Daily Thanthi conferred the ‘Mootharingnjar’ (elderly scholar) award on him in 1998.
For this scholar, what is most worrying is the apathy towards reconstructing the history of Tamil literature. Most students, who opt for Tamil, do so out of default. If Tamil literature is to flourish as it did at the time of Thiruvalluvar, somebody ought to give Gnanasambandan a hand.