Salem is known as Geologist’s paradise, in the geological view point, surrounded by hills and the landscape dotted with hillocks. It is located on the high grade Precambrian terrain of South India with a network of shear zones of Neo to Early Proteorozoic age. The Precambrian shield areain Southern India, which is governed by cratons and mobile belts include Southern Granulite Terrain (SGT) or Pandiyan Mobile Belt (PMB) in which Salem Group contains rock types older than 3000 million yearsold. The Crustal architecture of Indian shield area in this region is comparable with other shield areas of the world viz. Africa, Australia, Canada and South America.
Salem was known as Sailam as found on inscriptions referring to the country surrounded by the hills - Nagarmalai in the north, Jeragamalai in the south, Kanjamalai in the west and Godumalai in the east. The Kariyaperumal Hill is situated within the city in the southwest. The popular tourist destination Yercaud hill station is located in the Shevaroys range of hills in the Eastern Ghats at an altitude of 1515 metres above sea level. The Thirumanimuthar River flows through the city, dividing it into 2 parts.
Salem is also considered as a museum of Geology for having many varieties of rocks namely Charnockite, Pyroxene Granulite, Magnetite Quartzite, Khondalite, Calc Granulite, Granitoids or Granitic rock, Soapstone etc. and minerals like Magnesite, Dunite, Bauxite, Limestone, Magnetite, Quartz, Feldspar etc. here. There are 83 Major Mineral mines, 108 Granite quarries and 35 Roughstone quarries in Salem District. Hence the Geological Survey of India Training Institute (GSITI) had established a Field Training Centre (GSITI-FTC) at Salem in 2010, the first of its kind in the State, was inaugurated on the premises of Salem Periyar University which imparts state-of-the-art training in various disciplines of Earth Science to the Geologists across the country.Many industries like Salem Steel Plant, a unit of the Steel Authority of India, the Southern Iron and Steel Company (part of JSW Steel), Vedanta (MALCO), SAIL Refractory Company Limited (formerly Burn Standard), TANMAG, DalmiaMagnesite, TATA Refractories, Ramakrishna Magnesite TAMIN besides many granite industries are here and it may be apt to say SALEM is for S – Steel, A - Aluminium, L- Limestone, E- Electricity, M – Magnesite/ Mango.
Rocks and minerals contribute greatly to the economy of a country or region where they are found. Salem region has geologically interesting sites such as Magnesite deposits in Chalk hills, banded iron formation (BIF) in Kanjamalai, Godumalaiand Nainarmalai in Namakal District; Bauxite at Yercaud hill in Salem District and Kolli hills in Namakkal District, crystalline limestone atSankagiri in Salem District besides Molybdenum near Harur in DharmapuriDistrict and Platinum Group of Elements from Ultramafics of Sittampundi Complex in NamakkalDistrict. Salem has one of the largest Magnesite deposits in India found in Chalk hills covering an area of 17 Sq. Kms and estimated to be 44 million tonnes. India ranks 7th position in the world with an estimate of Magnesite reserves accounting for 20, 000 Mt and produce about 100 Mt of Magnesite.
Salem had produced some of the finest iron and steel in the world dated back 3 BC and India had traded it over Europe, China and the Middle East. This indicates that the production of wootz steel was almost on an industrial scale in what was still an activity predating the Industrial Revolution in Europe. The method was to heat black magnetite ore found in Salem region as Banded Iron in the presence of carbon in a sealed clay crucible inside a charcoal furnace. An alternative was to smelt the ore first to give wrought iron, then heated and hammered to be rid of slag. The carbon source was bamboo and leaves from plants such as Avarai (Sennaauriculata). The Chinese and locals in Sri Lanka adopted the production methods of creating Wootz steel from the Chera Tamils by the 5th century BC. Investigations by the researchers of IISc, Bangalore opined that the properties of the ultra-high carbon wootz steel such as superplasticity justify it being called an advanced material of the ancient world with not merely a past but also perhaps a future.
ABOUT PERIYAR UNIVERSITY
The Government of Tamil Nadu established the Periyar University at Salem on 17th September 1997 as per the provisions of the Periyar University Act, 1997. The University covers the area comprising the districts of Salem, Namakkal, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri. The University got the 12(B) and 2f status from the University Grants Commission and has been reaccredited by NAAC with ‘A’ grade in 2015. The University is named after the Great Social Reformer E.V.Ramasamy affectionally called ‘Thanthai Periyar’. The University aims at developing knowledge in various fields to realize the maxim inscribed in the logo “Arival Vilayum Ulagu” (Wisdom Maketh the World). ”Holistic development of the students” is the primary objective of the esteemed Periyar University. The University is located on the National Highway (NH7) towards Bangalore at about 8 Kms from New Bus Stand, Salem. It is well connected by frequent city bus services linking Salem and other places like, Omalur, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Mettur.
Periyar University imparts higher education at three levels, i.e., through its Departments of Study and Research, Periyar Institute of Distance Education (PRIDE) and the affiliated colleges. The University has eight clusters and twenty eight departments are there which offering Post Graduate & Research Programmes and eighty one affiliated colleges, six Constituent Colleges and one PG Extension Centres. The Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) has been introduced for the various courses offered by the University from 2008-09 onwards. Periyar University is offering four Certificate Courses from 2009-2010 onwards. The Certificate Courses are designed in order to cater to the current needs of the public. The Student Support Services of Periyar University are available through Library system, National Service Scheme, Youth Red Cross Society, Women’s Welfare Centre and avenues for Sports and Games. The University has established 6 Constituent Colleges namely Periyar University Arts and Science College (PRUCAS) at Mettur Dam, Senthamangalam Iddapati, Pennagaram, Harur and Pappiredipatty. Thanthai Periyar had been advocating throughout his life the importance of being rational and created a stir by his self respect movement. He incessantly toiled for social justice among people, fought to liberate the down trodden women and insisted on the priority of one’s mother tongue. The Periyar Chair was created in 1998 to inculcate these ideas in the minds of students.
Periyar Institute of Administrative Studies (PERIAS) started functioning from March 2009. Apart from training students for preliminary and main examinations for the Civil Services, the institute plans to conduct various coaching classes for examinations conducted by different organisations like Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) and Staff Selection Commission (SSC) in the near future. To make a significant mark during the centenary celebrations of Perarignar Anna, a chair has been established after his name as “Anna Chair” in May 2009. It crystallizes the greatest thought provoking ideas of Anna for the development of children, youth and women in the country. It proposes to focus on the social issues and upliftment of the poor. Centre for Nano Science and Technology has been established recently in the Department of Physics. The Government of Tamil Nadu has generously sanctioned One Crore rubees for the academic and research activities of the Centre. Department of Geology proposes to establish a Centre for Geoinformatics and Planetary Studies in the current academic year. Periyar Institute of Distance Education (PRIDE) is imbibing knowledge into the veins of the students who could not take up the regular academic studies due to their economic condition. PRIDE has three hundred and eighty three study centres throughout India and six abroad.
The established Departments, Centres, Institutes and Chair are contributing their best through academic, research and extension activities. The University is playing a paramount role in bringing multi-faceted development for the country. The University is consistently organising various academic activities to bring researchers, scholars, activists under one umbrella to discuss, deliberate and carve out time-demanding solutions to social problems. The University stands apart with its unique “Village Adoption” activity. The University tie-ups with various academic, research institutes and universities across the world bring laurels to the academia. The University proudly celebrates days that have International significance like National Human Rights Day, Science Day, Women’s Day, Environmental Day, World Mother Tongue Day to mention a few.
ABOUT INDIAN ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
The Indian Academy of Social Sciences (ISSA when abbreviated) is the first National Science Academy of independent Democratic Republic of India and fourth in chronicle order. The other three national science Academies―Indian National Science Academy (INSA), Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS) and National Science Academy of India (NSAI) were born in British India. ISSA was born, 42 years ago, on August 15, 1974 at University of Allahabad in an assembly of young scientists. August 15, 1974 symbolized a beginning of an altogether new science reflecting democratic needs, aspirations, creative urges / potentialities, history, culture and traditions of peoples of India. Its name was carefully chosen for reflecting the true meaning and function of science. The setting up of the Indian Academy of Social Sciences also heralded a beginning of a new movement for unity of science of Nature-Humans-Society by forging unity among all branches of science. Many described it as a barometer of science and society in India. In more than one sense ISSA is a unique body in the whole world.
Science means objective knowledge of non-living and living things / objects and knowledge means answer to questions ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’, about a thing / object. The word ‘Nature’ connotes all forms of objects / things / matter including humans and societies. Nature-Humans-Society form one single continuum. So division of science into physics, chemistry, biology, environment, ecology, agriculture, medical, social, historical etc. is artificial and all such divisions provide partial objective knowledge of Nature-Humans-Society. Unity of Science of Nature-Humans-Society, therefore, is necessary for having correct and full understanding of Nature. Science, thus viewed is unitary as well as uniting.
The Science as an objective knowledge of non-living and living objects / things / matter is produced through collective mental and physical labour of men and women. What is the result of collective labour is termed as social and what is social is public and not private. Science, therefore, is social. It springs in society comprising men and women. Because it is social it has social functions. It has the prime role in enabling men and women to enjoy higher quality of material, social and cultural life in harmony with Nature. However, all such social functions of science filter through different groups in the society because of which one doesn’t find one-to-one relationship between science and conditions of all men and women of all societies. Humans’ inability to create a science-based society is well reflected in modern societies all over the world.
The Indian Academy of Social Sciences seeks to discover, develop and disseminate science of Nature-Humans-Society in Indian conditions in particular, and world conditions in general, with a mission to build a new Democratic Republic of India where there is no hunger, no poverty, no unemployment, no illiteracy, no disease, no bigotry, no superstitions, no communalism, no casteism and no discrimination of any form and where all men, women and children enjoy equally good quality of material, social, cultural and spiritual life in harmony with Nature without any kind of fear of violence, rape and murder.
Founders of the Indian Academy of Social Sciences thought that science can benefit the peoples of a given society only when it is taught and researched in their own language. Communication of scientific research and science education in peoples own language, therefore, is key to the unfolding of creative potentialities of peoples and benefiting them. Unfortunately, even after 68 years of independence science in India is communicated through English. The end result is peoples of India who fund all scientific research are deprived of its benefits. The creativity in science is continuously declining. The Indian Academy of Social Sciences, therefore, seeks to change it by creating necessary conditions for communication of scientific research and science education in Indian languages involving publication of research journals, monographs, books etc. in Indian languages.