Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The world classical tamil conference 2010

The first world classical tamil conference got off to a rousing start here on Wednesday with a host of speakers, led by President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, hailing the glory of Tamil, which has the oldest literature among the living languages of the world.

Inaugurating the five-day world classical tamil conference, the President said many concepts intrinsic to India’s society and critical to its polity were found in Tamil discourse over the millennia. The message of peace, universality and the spirit of equality were propounded in a Sangam poem more than 2000 years ago.

She presented the ‘Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi Classical Tamil Award’ to Asko Parpola, a renowned Indologist, for his work on the Dravidian hypothesis in the interpretation of the Indus script. According to the Indologist, the Dravidian language was very close to Old Tamil.

Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, who handed over the first copy of the world classical tamil conference souvenir to Ms. Patil, referred to the influence of the Tamil language in several important language families of the world and said it had been ever growing.

Presiding over the inauguration of the world classical tamil conference, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said there was a consensus all over the world that Tamil possessed greater merits than 11 parameters laid down for declaring a language classical. It was after the declaration of Tamil as a classical language [in October 2004] that such a meet was being organised for the first time.

PTI adds on world classical tamil conference:

Inaugurating the world classical tamil conference, President Pratibha Patil praised Tamil language and said it reflected the heritage of the country, which was now following an inclusive growth paradigm to benefit all, particularly those in rural areas.

“As our nation progresses economically, we have sought to follow an inclusive growth paradigm so that growth brings benefits to all sections of society,” she said.

With special focus on rural areas, our developmental efforts are becoming increasingly participatory with more powers devolving on Panchayati Raj institutions,” Ms. Patil said.

This model of rural development can bring progress and prosperity in Indian villages, she added.

world classical tamil conference - Nation’s pride

The President said, “The history of Tamils is our nation’s pride. Many concepts intrinsic to India’s society and basic to its polity are found in Tamil discourse over the millennium.

For example, respect for each other’s religion has long been part of Tamil cultural tradition.” Reciting a Tamil saying ‘Thiraikadal odiyum thraviyam thedu’ (earn wealth even if one has to go abroad), she said their hard work was depicted in the saying even during the Sanga period.

The state had been a source of both Shaivite and Vaishnavite philosophies while a ‘substantial body’ of work exists on Jain and Buddhist beliefs, as well as on Islam and Christianity, she said.

“A principal tenet of the Constitution of our country is to secure social, economic and political voice to every adult citizen of the country. Universal Adult Franchise and our democratic framework have given a political voice to every adult citizen of the country,” she said, pointing out that adult franchise was in practice even during Chola dynasty rule in the state.

She also praised Tamil Nadu for leading in social reform, fighting social biases and working to achieve a society where all would be treated with equality.

world classical tamil conference - Special place for TN

Ms. Patil said she has a special place for Tamil Nadu and recalled that it was in Chennai that she began her campaign for the Presidential elections. She also said that her first tour out of Delhi (as President) was to the state to address youth at Rajiv Gandhi National Institute if Youth Development.

““Hence, I believe my presence at this conference is a part of my continuing association with the state,” Ms. Patil said.

Praising the Tamil ethos, the President said that they were based on pluralism, tolerance and huministic approach and contributed towards the country from the early days to the present day.

“Tamil language, with its vibrancy and richness, has made India a proud multilingual society,” she said, adding Tamils such as poet Subramanya Bharathy had contributed to the freedom movement. She said Mahatma Gandhi had wanted to learn Tamil, especially to study the Tamil treatise Tirukkural.

world classical tamil conference - Award

Earlier, she gave away the first Kalaignar Karunanidhi Classical Tamil Award to Finnish scholar Asko Parpola.

The award contains a citation, a cheque for Rs 10 lakh and a statuette of saint Tamil poet, Tiruvalluvar.

Accepting the award, Parpola said the Government of India had rightly announced Tamil as a classical language due to its antiquity. Many critical scholars had agreed that even Rig Veda had spoken about half a dozen Dravidian languages, he said.

Mr. Karunanidhi in his address in world classical tamil conference said Tamils should take note of the future growth of the language and plan its development in different spheres of human endeavour like literature, comparative studies, language studies, translation, history, philosophy, humanities and folklore.

“We have to plan and enthuse further meaningful research on these areas and encourage intense research on archaeological findings from the Indus valley through Adichnalur and Kumarikkandam, that was swallowed by the sea,” he said.

He said this world classical tamil conference was the first after Tamil got the classical language status and was different from the previous eight World Tamil Conferences.

Tamil was not only an international language, but like a mother for all world languages, he said.

Karunanidhi said he had always served the cause of the language, irrespective of whether he was in power or not.

T Sivathambi, Tamil scholar from Sri Lanka, said Tamil was the oldest Dravidian language of India. “It is an official language in six or seven countries and rightly deserves to be a classical language.”

world classical tamil conference - Tamil origination

Mr. Karunanidhi said that almost all world languages have some words originating from Tamil. “Hence Tamil has the status of the first mother tongue in the world,” Karunanidhi claimed.

Quoting from Sangha period and the Mahabharatha, he said there were 11 well-defined yardsticks for a language to be termed classical -- antiquity, individuality,common character, neutrality, parental kinship, linguistic principles, literary prowess, noble ideas and ideals, culture, art and wisdom born of experiences.

“That Tamil possesses all these merits has been accepted unanimously not only by scholars in Tamil Nadu and other Tamil scholars in the rest of India, but by foreigners who learnt the language and attained enviable proficiency in Tamil,” he said.

world classical tamil conference - Tamil's richness

In his address, Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala said the richness of Tamil and its growth was that as a hoary language, it has its deep roots in almost all important languages families of the world.

“Development of a language depends on its reach, richness and growth, without losing its purity of standard and pristine form,” Mr. Barnala said.

He said the conference would work on modalities for further promotion of Tamil studies and Tamil research at global level.

While Thirukkural was the ‘crown’ of Tamil language and Sangam literature, Kamba Ramayanam and Silapathikarm were the jewels of Tamil language, Barnala said, adding that they bore testimony that Tamil language has a special claim for being a classical language.

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