FIRST world Classical Tamil Conference held in Coimbatore from June 23 to 27, 2010 in a grand manner. 3000 delegates from 50 countries presented their research papers about the uniqueness and antiquity of the Tamil language, culture, art and society. More than 2.4 lakhs people visited the venue on the concluding day. Exhibition hall, Tamil Internet IT Hall, Conference main pandal and food courts remained jam-packed.
There was a grand pageantry at World Tamil Meet. An eight-kilometer stretch of the pageant was titled as “Iniyavai Naarpathu” or “Sweet Forty”. The three-hour procession of tableaux was part of the inauguration of the conference. The floats provided vivid images of the achievements of the Tamil people, right from literary excellence, to economic strength, love, friendship, devotion, valour, love for nature, unity, architecture, pioneering in the shipping trade, the bravery of the women, the sacrifice of revolutionary warriors, the contribution of farmers and an emphasis on environment protection were among the 40 themes presented by the floats. The aim is to highlight the greatness and special features of Tamil Language. In terms of sheer numbers of participants and papers, this meet exceeded the eight world Tamil conferences held between 1966 to 1995.
The World Classicism in literature refers to those elements of universality, harmony, art of antiquity, style or content such as reason, clarity, order, restrain, humanitarian outlook. The language Tamil has high antiquity of about 3000 years for its literature. Second, it has a body of ancient literature meeting the core attributes of classicism and is held as a valuable heritage bequeathed to humanity. Third, the literary tradition is original and not borrowed from another speech community. Forth, the classical language and literature being distinct and modern and it has its own glammer values. So there was a world wide consensus that Tamil possessed greater merits for declaring a language classical.
President, Pratibha Devi Singh Patil hailed Tamil which has the oldest literature among the living languages of the world. She said Tirukkural written by “Thiruvalluvar was a remarkable treatise on ethics. Silapathikaram and Manimekalai were works of excellence as were the epics of Kamba Ramayanam and Jeevaka Chintamani. The soul – stirring hymns of Nayanmars and Alvars.
The poems and songs of Subramanya Bharati evoked in the minds of the people “Deep feelings of patriotism during our freedom struggle”. She emphasized a point that the history of the Tamils is our nation’s pride. Tamils have contributed in a big way to India’s progress and in shaping its identity as a nation that is rich in art, music, architecture and literature. The next generation of Tamils must anchor as well as ‘equip themselves with knowledge of Tamil culture, literature and values.
Iravatham Mahadevan, an IAS Officer (Retd), an Epigraphist, Tamil scholar says that “The legend that Sanskrit and Tamil emerged from the two sides of the damaru (drum) of Shiva says it all – the immemorial antiquity and the equal divine status accord in our tradition to the two languages recognised as classical.
M. Karunanidhi delivered the valedictory address of the five day conference. He said Rs. 100 crore fund would be established for Tamil Development. The CM said efforts would be taken for translating wellknown Tamil works into other languages. Significant works of other languages would also be translated into Tamil. Pranab Mukherjee who presided over the valedictory function expressed the hope that the conference would inspire many more accomplishments in future.
Fortunately DMK and its leaders have kept their atheism and anti-god feelings away from the conference hall. Real Tamil language is full of patriotism, national, culture and spiritual feelings.
(The writer can be contacted through email id: [email protected])