Hindustan Times (Bathinda)

Modi: Kashi and Tamil Nadu are timeless cultural centres

- Oliver Fredrick letters@hindustant­imes.com

P One (Kashi) has Sanskrit and Tamil Nadu is gifted with Tamil, the country’s oldest spoken language NARENDRA MODI, Prime Minister

VARANASI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday hailed Varanasi, his parliament­ary constituen­cy, and Tamil Nadu as timeless centres of culture and civilisati­on and said people should strive to remove linguistic difference­s and foster emotional unity in the country.

Modi was delivering the inaugural speech at Kashi-tamil Sangamam when he highlighte­d that the two regions are the centres of the world’s oldest languages – Sanskrit and Tamil.

“Both Kashi and Tamil Nadu are timeless centres for culture and civilisati­on. One (Kashi) has Sanskrit and Tamil Nadu is gifted with Tamil, the country’s oldest spoken language. If in Kashi there is Baba Vishwanath, then in Tamil Nadu there is the blessing of Lord Rameshwara­m. Both Kashi and Tamil Nadu are ‘Shivmay’ (drenched in the devotion of Lord Shiv) and ‘Shaktimay’ (drenched in the devotion of Goddess Shakti). Both the places have their own importance,” he said.

The Prime Minister also began his address with chants of Har Har Mahadev and ‘Vanakkam’ (welcome in Tamil) Kashi and ‘Vanakkam’ Tamil Nadu.

Stressing on “removing linguistic difference­s and establishi­ng emotional unity”, Modi said: “It’s the responsibi­lity of all 130 crore Indians to preserve the language (Tamil) and our country’s legacy.” ‘’If we ignore Tamil, we will do a great disservice to the nation and if we keep Tamil confined in restrictio­ns, we will do great harm to it. We have to remember to remove linguistic difference­s and establish emotional unity,” he added.

The Prime Minister’s remarks on Tamil language comes against the backdrop of a raging row over the Centre’s purported attempts to impose Hindi in non-hindi speaking states.

Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin has written to the Prime Minister in the past, against “continuous efforts to promote Hindi in the name of one nation” and also reminded the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government of “anti-hindi agitations in the past”.

Modi also termed Kashi and Tamil Nadu two “amazing sources of music, literature and art”.

“There is the tabla of Kashi, and ‘thanimai’ of Tamil Nadu. If one finds Banarasi saree in Varanasi, then the Kanjivaram silk of Tamil Nadu is world famous,” he said. “Both have been the birthplace and workplace of the greatest ‘acharyas’ of India’s spirituali­ty. Kashi was the land of devotees of Tulsi, while Tamil Nadu was the land of saint Thiruvallu­var. In every dimension of life, you will find similar energy in different colours of Kashi and Tamil Nadu,” he said. The Tamil Sangamam conclave is being organised by the Union education ministry in collaborat­ion with Banaras Hindu University and IIT Madras.

 ?? ?? Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi

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