Hindu Civilization is more than a religion, it is a culture, a way of life, and a code of behavior. This is reflected in a term Hindus used to describe the Hindu religion: Sanatana Dharma, which means eternal faith, or the eternal way things are (truth). It has exerted a profound influence over a large part of Asia and worldwide at present context. Many great and ancient civilizations in the continental and insular parts of South East Asia were inspired by its traditions especially in the fields of political institutions, religious beliefs, literature, art, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, and constructional activities.

Hindu Civilization in Sri Lanka:

In Sri Lanka, there are four major religious traditions of which Hindu Civilization is the most ancient one. Hinduism has a continuous history on the island from Protohistoric times. Another consideration about Hindu Civilization on the island is its close interaction with Buddhism. The Kings of Sri Lanka patronized and supported Hinduism and its Traditions. It was because of this historical experience that the Buddha Sasana Commission, in its report submitted to the government in 1956, had recommended that Hinduism also should be supported by the state.

The spirit of the recommendation implies that the state in Sri Lanka should undertake responsibility for promoting and fostering programmes of activities related to Studies and Researches pertaining to Hinduism and Hindu Civilization.

Hindu Civilization as an academic discipline

Hindu Civilization was introduced as a subject of study in the University system of Sri Lanka in 1970 at the University of Colombo. Subsequently, when the Jaffna campus was inaugurated in 1974, the Department of Hindu Civilization as one of the Department at the Jaffna Campus of the University of Jaffna was established on the instruction of the Prime Minister, Hon.Srimavo Bandaranayaka. Since its inception, the Department of Hindu Civilization has been conducting the General and Special Degree Programmes.

Sri Lankans take pride that the discipline of Hindu Civilization is taught only in Sri Lanka and the University of Jaffna is the pioneer in offering this discipline. The Jaffna Campus was established in 1974 with Faculties of Humanities and Science. Then the Faculty of Humanities consisting of four departments; Hindu Civilization was one of them.

Prof.K.Kailasanathakurukal was appointed as the founder Professor and Head of the Department in 1975. During his tenure of office, the General and Special Degree courses in Hindu Civilization were introduced.

During his period of service Prof.K.Kailasanathakurukal was appointed as Co-Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and also served as an acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts. As an academic, Priest, and Philosopher, Prof.K.Kailasanathakurukal was one of the most recognized and eminent scholars in the Sri Lankan Tamil academic circles in the mid and later parts of the nineties.

Prof.K.Kailasanathakurukal retired in 1986 and he was succeeded by Prof.P.Gopalakrishna Iyar as Head of the Department.He was the first Ph.D Degree holder of the University of Jaffna and the Department of Hindu Civilization.He undertook his research in Siva Iconography in Saivagamas and Silpa Texts under the supervision of Prof.K.Kailasanathakurukal in 1982. He adequately qualified himself to be the worthy successor of his Guru Prof.K.Kailasanathakurukal in many aspects. He succeeded as Professor of Hindu Civilization on 01/01/ 1995.

From 1983 till 2001, he served as the Head of the department of Hindu Civilization except lapses for a short period due to his Overseas Leave. He has taken the worthy initiative to establish the new discipline -Hindu Philosophy (Saiva Siddhanta) in the Department of Hindu Civilization. He was elected unanimously to the position of Dean /Arts in November: 2001. Till 2004 he utilized this position and contributed immensely to the development of the Faculty of Arts.

Mrs.Nachiyar Selvanayagam served as the Head of the Department during the 1991 -1992 period. She completed her Master’s Degree in Agamic Rituals based on Kumaratantra. She is highly respected by the Jaffna community for her spiritual discourses.

Prof. Kalaivany Ramanathan was celebrated as the first lady Professor of the Faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna. She assumed headship from 2002 to 2005. After the completion of three years, she voluntarily handed over the headship. Prof. Kalaivany Ramanathan, known for her extensive writings on Saiva Siddhanta Philosophy, has offered thought-provoking interpretations to the salient features of Saiva Siddhanta.

Prof.M.Vethanathan was served as the Head of the Department from 2006 to 2017. Prof.M.Vethanathan has profound knowledge of Hindu Cults, especially on Shakta and Kaumara sects. He is also renowned for his notable contributions in the field of Saiva Siddhanta Philosophy. During his tenure Department of Hindu Civilization organized and celebrated the first and Second International Saiva Conferences at a grand level (2016, 2017). These conferences were arranged in such a way as to expound the glory of Saivism in Sri Lanka which is considered to be an exalted land of Siva known as ‘Siva Bhoomi’.

Since 2018, Dr.Suganthini Srimuraleetaran has been appointed as the Head of the Department. She is extremely dedicated and enduring in her duties. The Faculty of Hindu Studies has been established during her tenure of office (06/06/2019) and also, she bears to be the proud founder Dean of the Faculty of Hindu Studies. At this juncture Dr.S.Muhunthan took charge of the Department of Hindu Civilization. He is the Head of the Department since 2020.

The Department commenced a Master’s degree programme in Saiva Siddhanta (SLQF Level 9) in collaboration with the Faculty of Graduate Studies University of Jaffna, in addition to regular M.Phil and PhD Programmes. In fostering and promoting research and dissemination of knowledge, the Department of Hindu Civilization has been committed to organizing International Research Conferences. Thus, the Department of Hindu Civilization has a longstanding academic experience, especially in the dissemination of knowledge and conducting research, which contributed immensely to envisage a new Faculty with the name Faculty of Hindu Studies at the University of Jaffna.

Sir Pon Ramanathan the founder of Paramesvara College which was the nucleus of Jaffna Campus in 1974 valued University education more as an instrument of moral and spiritual rejuvenation than as equipment of worldly end. He pleaded that religion and morality be restored to their rightful place as the basis of University education. Thus, the Department of Hindu Civilization has been striving to fulfil the lofty aspiration of Sir Pon Ramanathan.

The Lecturers attached to this Department are
• Dr. Mrs. Suganthini Srimuralitharan: (Senior Lecturer Gr. I)
• Prof. Mrs.Vigneswary Pavaneshan(Senior Lecturer Gr. I)
• Prof.S.Muhunthan (Senior Lecturer Gr. I):
• Mr.S.Ramanaraja: (Senior Lecturer Gr. II):
• Ms Thukaya Peranantham (Lecturer (Probationary)):