PM Modi's Tamil New Year Eve Speech - A Charm Offensive Aimed At Tamil Nadu
Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended Tamil New Year celebrations at Minister of State L Murugan's residence in New Delhi on Thursday. (13 April).
Speaking at the event, the Prime Minister launched a charm offensive at the state of Tamil Nadu and the Tamil populace.
The Prime Minister's speech was notable for mentioning multiple historical records and recent events that put together sought to highlight Tamil Nadu's contribution to the national mainstream.
The Prime Minister first spoke about the Uthiramerur inscription. The said inscription is notable for detailing how leaders for local government bodies were chosen in 7-9th century CE. The inscription details several measures, including disqualification of candidates.
This inscription has widely been acknowledged as an indicator of Tamil regions inculcating democracy at the grass root levels since early medieval ages.
The PM also spoke about another inscription from near Kanchipuram that speaks of a medical facility from Chola ages. He termed it a 'big virasat' (heritage) of India.
He also mentioned how he highlighted the Chaturanga Vallabhanathar temple during the recent Chess Olympiad held at Chennai.
He said that there was plenty of evidence to show ancient Tamil lands' trade links with other countries.
These facts and historical events were our responsibility to place these in front of the world, he said.
Nevertheless, he alluded to say that such highlighting of ancient Tamil culture wasn't being properly done before and the fortune of bearing this responsibility was now his.
The PM also spoke about his trip to Jaffna where he participated in Grahapravesham ceremonies of Sri Lankan Tamils. He also mentioned the recently conducted Kashi-Tamil Sangamam event.
Continuing on his charm offensive, he said how given the deep links between Tamils and Kashi, the lives of Kashi residents would remain incomplete without Tamil links that permeate the ancient city. "And without Kashi, the lives of Tamils also becomes incomplete", he said.
"As the MP of Kashi, this deep interconnectedness is a matter of pride for me", he said.
He mentioned that the well known Tamil poet Subramania Bharati was once a brief resident of Kashi and that the Banaras Hindu University has a chair instituted in his name.
He also spoke about ancient Tamil literature - in particular about Sangam literature. From Sangam literature we learn about ancient millets and how Aganaanooru mentions farming millets, he mentioned. "Thenum, thinaimavum" (honey and foxtail millet flour), he said in response to a self posted rhetorical question about the deity Murugan's favourite prasad.
The Prime Minister concluded his nearly 18 minute speech with a call to take forward the historic legacy of Tamil language and culture, and with his greetings for Tamil New Year being marked tomorrow. (14 April, Friday)
The Prime Minister's participation in a Tamil New Year function is particularly interesting given the ruling party of Tamil Nadu's objection to celebrating the Tamil New Year according to the traditional calendar.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's (DMK) former leader late M Karunanidhi changed the Tamil calendar and moved the new year to the Tamil month of Thai. When Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi's main political opponent, came to power following the latter's defeat, this change of calendar was undone.
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