Promoting the spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat‘, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kashi Tamil Sangamam 2023 in Varanasi on 17 December.
Prime Minister Modi also flagged off the Kanyakumari-Varanasi Tamil Sangamam train and launched multi-language and braille translations of Thirukkural, Manimekalai and other classic Tamil literature on the occasion.
He also took a walkthrough of the exhibition and witnessed a cultural program. Kashi Tamil Sangamam aims 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.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister welcomed everyone not as guests but as his family members. He underlined that arriving in Kashi from Tamil Nadu simply means traveling from one abode of Lord Mahadev to the other, namely Madurai Meenakshi to Kashi Vishalakshi.
Highlighting the unique love and connection between the people of Tamil Nadu and Kashi, the Prime Minister expressed confidence in the hospitality of the citizens of Kashi.
Along with the blessings of Lord Mahadev, the Prime Minister emphasised that the participants will return to Tamil Nadu with Kashi’s culture, delicacies and memories.
Prime Minister Modi also highlighted the use of artificial intelligence in real-time translation of his speech in Tamil for the first time and reiterated its usage in future events.
Quoting Subramania Bharathi, the Prime Minister said that vibrations of Kashi-Tamil Sangamam are spreading throughout the country and the world.
Prime Minister Modi noted that lakhs of people including heads of mutts, students, artists, authors, craftsmen and professionals have become part of Kashi Tamil Sangamam since its inception last year and it has become an effective platform for dialogue and exchange of ideas.
He expressed satisfaction on the joint initiative by Banaras Hindu University and IIT, Chennai where IIT, Chennai is providing online support to thousands of students from Varanasi in Science and Mathematics under the Vidya Shakti Initiative.
These recent developments, the Prime Minister said, are proof of the emotional and creative bond between the people of Kashi and Tamil Nadu.
The Prime Minister highlighted, “Kashi Tamil Sangamam furthers the spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat‘." "This spirit was behind the organisation of Kashi Telugu Sangamam and Saurashtra Kashi Sangamam," he added.
The spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’ got further strength from the new tradition of celebration of other statehood days in all the Raj Bhavans of the country.
Prime Minister Modi also recalled the establishment of the sacred Sengol in the new Parliament under the supervision of the Aadinam saints. “This flow of spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’ is infusing the soul of our nation today,” he said.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that India’s diversity has been moulded in the spiritual consciousness as signified by the great Pandian King Parakram Pandian — who had said that every water in India is Gangajal, and every geographical location of the country is Kashi.
Reflecting on the time when the centres of faith in Northern India were constantly under attack by foreign powers, the Prime Minister highlighted King Parakram Pandian’s efforts to keep the heritage of Kashi alive with the construction of Tenkasi and Sivakasi temples.
Prime Minister Modi also recalled the fascination of the dignitaries taking part in the G20 Summit towards India’s diversity.
The Prime Minister said that in other countries, nation has been defined in political terms whereas India, as a nation, is constructed out of spiritual beliefs. India, the Prime Minister added, has been unified by saints like Adi Shankaracharya and Ramanjuam.
The Prime Minister also recalled the role of yatras of Aadina saints to Shiv Sthans. “Due to these yatras, India has remained eternal and unwavering as a nation,” he added.
Prime Minister Modi expressed satisfaction with the peaking interests of the country’s youth towards ancient traditions, as he observed that a large number of people, students and youth from Tamil Nadu are traveling to Kashi, Prayag, Ayodhya and other pilgrimage sites.
”Darshan of Lord Ram in Ayodhya, who established Rameshwaram along with Lord Mahadev, is divine,” the Prime Minister said, noting that special arrangements are also being made for Ayodhya visit of those attending the Kashi Tamil Sangamam.
The Prime Minister emphasised the need for knowing each other’s culture as this increases trust and develops rapport. Giving an example of the two great temple cities, Kashi and Madurai, Prime Minister Modi said that Tamil literature talks about both Vagai and Gangai (Ganga). “When we come to know of this heritage, we feel the depth of our relations,” he said.
Prime Minister Modi expressed confidence that the confluence of Kashi-Tamil Sangamam will continue empowering India’s heritage. Concluding the address, the Prime Minister hoped for a pleasant stay for those visiting Kashi and also thanked renowned singer Shriram for captivating the entire audience with his performance.
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister for Education, Dharmendra Pradhan, and Union Minister of State, Dr L Murugan among others, were present on the occasion.
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