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Thu. Dec 8th, 2022
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VARANASI: Calling upon the 130 crore people of India to break the language barriers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that it was the responsibility of all countrymen to preserve and enrich Tamil, which is the oldest language of the world.
Speaking at the inaugural function of the month-long Kashi Tamil Sangamam, the PM said that Kashi and Tamil Nadu were the two cultures closely associated with Lord Shiva and the confluence of two places was as sacred as the Sangam of Ganga and Yamuna.
“We should have preserved and strengthened our cultural heritage of thousands of years, but unfortunately there were no efforts made towards this after Independence,” the PM said.
The PM said that ‘despite having one of the world’s oldest living languages, Tamil, we haven’t honoured it fully’. “This is the responsibility of 130 crore Indians to preserve the legacy of Tamil and enrich it. If we ignore Tamil we do a great disservice to the nation and if we keep Tamil confined in restrictions we will do great harm to it. We have to remember to remove linguistic differences and establish emotional unity”, the PM, wearing the traditional vesti, said in a bid to counter the allegation of ‘Hindi chauvinism’ levelled by the southern state-based outfits against the BJP and Sangh Parivar.
Political analysts view it as part of BJP’s attempt to make a foray into Tamil Nadu, which has remained insurmountable for the party. Earlier, the PM hosted Chinese president Xi Jinping in Mamallapuram in October 2019 to showcase the historic coastal town of TN to the world. Union Home minister Amit Shah recently described the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to start medical and engineering education in Tamil as a great contribution to the language.
Throwing light on the connection between Kashi and Tamil Nadu, the PM said that while Kashi is the cultural capital of India, the Tamil culture is the centre of India’s antiquity and pride. “Kashi and Tamil Nadu…they are timeless centers of our culture and civilization,” he said. “Kashi-Tamil Sangamam is exceptional. It is a celebration of India’s diversity,” the PMO later tweeted.
“In Kashi, we have Baba Vishwanath, while in Tamil Nadu we have the blessings of Lord Rameshwaram. Both Kashi and Tamil Nadu are immersed in Shiva.” Be it music, literature or art, Kashi and Tamil Nadu have always been a source of art, he added.
Speaking on the importance of ‘sangams’ in the country, be it the confluence of rivers, ideology, science or knowledge, the PM said that every confluence of culture and traditions is celebrated and revered in India. “In reality, it is a celebration of India’s might and characteristics, thus making the Kashi-Tamil Sangam unique,” he said.
The PM said that on a mission to break language barriers and surpass the intellectual distance, Swami Kumargurupar came to Kashi and made it his ‘karmabhoomi’ and got Kedareshwar Mandir constructed in Kashi. Later, his disciples got Kashi Vishwanath temple constructed in Thanjavur on the banks of river Kaveri.
“This is my experience that without understanding scholars from South India like Ramanujacharya, Shankaracharya, Raja Ji to Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, we simply can not understand Indian philosophy,” Modi said.
Further elaborating Tamil Nadu’s contribution to the development of Kashi, the PM said that TN-born Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan was the vice-chancellor of BHU. He also mentioned that the Vedic scholar Rajeshwar Shastri who lived in Kashi had his roots in Tamil Nadu. He said that the people of Kashi also miss Pattaviram Shastri who lived on Hanuman Ghat in Kashi.
The PM also mentioned Kashi Kaam Koteshwar Panchayatan Mandir which is a Tamilian temple on the banks of Harishchandra Ghat, and the 200-year-old Kumarswamy Matt and Markande Ashram on Kedar Ghat in Varanasi.
He also stated that many people from Tamil Nadu have been living near the banks of Kedar Ghat and Hanuman Ghat, and had made immense contributions towards Kashi for several generations. The PM also mentioned the great poet and revolutionary, Subramania Bharathi who hailed from Tamil Nadu but lived in Kashi for many years. “The BHU is privileged to establish a chair dedicated to Subramania Bharati,” he added.
Underlining that the Sangamam was coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Independence, the PM said: “In Amrit Kaal, our resolutions will be fulfilled by the unity of the whole country. Kashi-Tamil Sangamam will become a platform for this resolution today while making us realise our duties, and being a source of energy to strengthen national unity.”
Expressing hope that such events should be organised in Tamil Nadu and other Southern states where youngsters from other parts of the county could visit and absorb the culture there, the PM said that the gains from this sangamam needed to be taken forward.
Earlier, UP CM Yogi Adityanath said that Indian culture had been equally preserved in Varanasi and Tamil Nadu. “Through the Sangamam, people would get to witness the centuries-old bond of knowledge and ancient civilisational between the North and the South,” he said.
Governor Anandiben Patel, Union ministers Dr L Murugan, Dharmendra Pradhan, MP Ilaiyaraaja were also present on the occasion. Ilaiyaraaja enthralled the audience through his recitals.
The objective of ‘Kashi Tamil Sangamam’ is to celebrate, reaffirm and rediscover the age-old links between Tamil Nadu and Kashi – two of the country’s most important and ancient seats of learning. More than 2500 delegates from Tamil Nadu will be visiting Kashi over a month. They will participate in seminars, site visits etc to interact with local people of similar trade, profession and interest. A month-long exhibition of handlooms, handicrafts, ODOP products, books, documentaries, cuisine, art forms, history, tourist places etc of the two regions will also be put up in Kashi.

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