Battling Covid-19 at a government hospital in Chennai for several days, veteran Tamil publisher Crea Ramakrishnan was probably haunted by just one concern – the release of the third edition of Cre-A’s contemporary Tamil-Tamil-English dictionary. Ramakrishnan worked hard from his hospital bed to meet the deadline he had set: November 13.

“The work was already done, but Ramakrishnan was keen to get it released as scheduled on November 13,” said a close associate of the publisher’s. “He had announced pre-book plans.” The revised edition of the Cre-A contemporary Tamil dictionary – the only one of its kind – was released as scheduled on November 13. On November 17, Crea Ramakrishnan died, at the age of 75.

“This is probably the first time the dictionary for a contemporary version had been revised in any South Asian language,” the associate said. “Ramakrishnan adhered strictly to the guidelines of lexicography during the process.”

Fostering writers

The contemporary Tamil dictionary is just one of Ramakrishnan’s many contribution to Tamil publishing. Cre-A, started 47 years ago, was among the very few publishing houses in Tamil to introduce the idea of editing early on. Authors who have worked with Ramakrishnan say that he was constantly pushing the boundaries – “gently encouraging them...

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