The Madurai Tamil Sangam is a non-profit, educational, social, cultural and a research establishment founded by a Philanthropist-scholar Thiru.Pon.Pandithurai Thevar, a noble man of Royal Lineage. Thiru.Pon.Pandithurai Thevar, the zamindar of Paalavanatham, donated rupees one lakh to the patriot V.O.Chidambaranar, one of the great freedom-fighters from Tamilnadu. When he launched an Indian Merchantship against the British rule. This is in continuation of the philanthropic traits of the Sethupathi Dynasty. Thiru.Pon.Pandithurai Thevar was the son of Ponnusamy Thevar, the uncle of Baskara Sethupathi. Baskara Sethupathi had been the sponsor for the visit of Swami Vivekanantha to America to take part in the International Religious Conference at Chicago. He was one of the nephews of the Sethupathis of Ramnad who were the rulers of Ramanathapuram.
The Madurai Tamil Sangam found its birth on the 14th day of September in the year 1901. The objective of this institution is to impart knowledge and strive for the awakening of interest in Tamil Language and Literature and about those aspects of which have the most immediate and enduring interest for the people of Tamil Nadu.
Till the year 2001, the Sangam functioned in the buildings donated by Thiru.Pon.Pandithurai Thevar. Under the patronage of the Sethupathis, the institution has grown into a centre for Tamil studies. In the early stage of its establishment, the Sangam provided free boarding and lodging to the students of Tamil language and literature. To disseminate widely the research findings of the Tamil Scholars, a Tamil Research Monthly Journal “Senthamil” has been published ever since its inception on 7th of December 1902. The erudite scholars like U.V.Saminathaiyer, Mu. Raghava Iyengar, Ra.Ragava Iyengar - the court poet of Sethu Dynasty, Sholavandan Arasan Shanmuganar, Vai. Mu. Sadagopachariar, Pinnaththoor Narayanasamy Iyer, Vi.Ko.Suriya Narayana Shastry, Thirumayilai Shanmugam Pillai, Thiru Narayana Iyengar, etc.contributed their scholarly treatises to this journal. Lovers of Tamil Language and Culture take pride in enrolling themselves as to become the subscribers of this journal.
To inculcate the duty of loyalty to Tamil Language and Culture the young students of High schools and higher secondary schools, Tamil Sangam has been conducting special model examinations named as Tamil Sangath Thervu in Tamil, which certainly help them to do better in all public examinations. The meritorious students receive prizes and the successful ones are given certificates from Tamil Sangam.
To widen the horizon of knowledge in Tamil, the Madurai Tamil Sangam opened Senthamil College in their twin objectives of promoting education and provides relief to the poor and needy parents who cannot afford to provide higher education to their children.
The Senthamil College came into existence on 10, July 1957. A Management Committee was formed and the members devote themselves for the progress of the institution. The college is ideally situated in the heart of the city on the North West side of Goddess Meenakshi Amman Temple. The college is populated with students mostly from rural area. It is a co-educational institution and during admission, preference is given to women students so as to create awareness for education among their illiterate parents.
Till the birth of Madurai University which was formally inaugurated by the Governor of Tamil Nadu on 6th of February 1966, the college was affiliated to Madras University. Initially Pulavar course (Pandit, Vidwan) a four year degree course was offered and the course lasted up to the academic year 1975-76. Pre University course has its beginning in the academic year 1968-69. The introduction of Plus Two in high school level, the pre-university course found its closure in the academic year 1972-73.