COIMBATORE: The first World Classical Tamil Conference got off to a rousing start here on Wednesday with host of leaders led by the President, Ms Praibha Patil hailing the glory of the language, but the meet costing Rs 380 crore has its own share of political bickering.
Opposition AIADMK and MDMK have boycotted the conference on the plea that the DMK government, which has organised the event, had not done anything to mitigate the sufferings of Sri Lankan Tamils and failed to take any step for making Tamil as the functional language of the Madras High Court.
Though the government had extended invitations to all political leaders in the state, the AIADMK chief, Ms Jayalalithaa refused to attend on the plea that International Association of Tamil Research, the only organisation authorised to conduct the conference, was not involved in organising the meet.
However, PMK, the estranged ally of the DMK, had welcomed the conference and its founder, Mr S Ramadoss was expected to share a platform with the Chief Minister, Mr M Karunanidhi on Saturday for the first time after both the parties had snapped the ties.
The platform was not only to cement relations between these parties but to strengthen ties with the Congress as the TNCC president, Mr K V Thangkabalu is scheduled to attend the session on that day.
Tamil is one of the first languages in the world to have a literature on grammar, written by Tolkoppiyar, centuries back and a glorious past of having literary associations (Sangams) where scholars sat together to have discussions on the language.
Inaugurating the biggest ever conference of Tamil diaspora, the President said history of the Tamils was the nation’s pride. Many concepts intrinsic to India’s society and basic to its polity were found in Tamil discourse over the millennia.
She said Tamil people have greatly enriched the composite heritage of India and enhanced cultural richness of the world.
Tamil ethos based on pluralism, tolerance and a humanistic approach has contributed from early times to this day, in a variety of ways to the progress of the country and in shaping India’s identity as a nation that was rich in art and music, architecture and literature.
Tamil language, with its vibrancy and richness, has made India a proud multilingual society, she said.
She presented the Kalaignar Karunanidhi classical award to renowned Indologist, Mr Asko Parpola, who in his acceptance speech said the research had found the now defunct original Dravidian language was very close to old Tamil.
Presiding over the function, the Chief Minister, Mr M Karunanidhi said Tamil possess all the qualities for declaring the language as classical.