Curtains came down on the second edition of Sangam 4, a meet of Tamil scholars, held at CSI Synod Centre here from January 24-February 2.
The 10-day event, organised by Naam, witnessed debates and presentations of more than 60 scholars, experts and activists on different aspects of Tamil history, language and culture.
The commemoration of the millennium of Rajendra Chola’s coronation, who succeeded his father Raja Raja Chola in 1014, was the highlight of the valedictory function on Sunday. “Rajendra Chola was the only known Indian and Tamil ruler to have conquered lands beyond the Indian subcontinent,” Fr Jegath Gasper, founder of Naam, pointed out. “He conquered as many as 52 countries, including Kadaram, Malaysia, an Singapore.”
Fr Gasper said that a sound and light show portraying the life and expeditions of the great ruler was being planned. “We will also insist that the State organise a bigger event later this year.”
Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Sudharsana Nachiappan launched a special commemorative coin to mark the organisation’s millennium commemoration of the great Tamil emperor in the presence of well-known novelist Balakumaran, whose works include Udayar, a magnum opus on the construction of the ‘Big Temple’ at Thanjavur by Raja Raja Chola, R Gandhi, senior advocate and chairman of the organising committee, and Chozha Nachiar Rajasekar, president of the Tamil Chamber of Commerce.
Recounting the military exploits of ‘Rajendra Chola - the great Tamil builder,’ C G Deivanayagam, former professor of architecture, Thanjai Tamil University, said that no other Indian king could boast of a reign as long and continuous as that of Raja Raja’s son. “Over six-foot tall, he was the only king to have crossed the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean with his navy and established his sway over 52 kingdoms including Java, Sumatra, Thailand and Kadaram.”
Listing out epigraphic evidence, he said the practice of ‘Floating Rice’ cultivation, which was known as the ‘Pride of Thailand,’ could be traced to the Tamil kingdoms.
Speaking on ‘Kandalur Salai-The story of an ancient centre of excellence in martial arts’, M Senthil Kumar, director, Ganga Foundation, recalled in detail the conspiracy hatched by Chera King Bhaskara Ravi Varman and the Pandyas at Kandalur to murder the reigning Sundara Chola’s son Aditha Karikalan after the latter beheaded defeated Pandya king Veerapandya. “Kandalur was a martial arts centre that was located near the present-day Vizhinjam in Kerala.”
While the people of Kerala believed that it was one of the four martial centres established by Sage Parasurama, Tamils claimed that it was established by one of the Kadai Ezhu Vallalagal.
“Raja Raja Chola attacked and destroyed Kandalur in revenge against the murder of his elder brother Aditha Karikalan. Till today, the event remains a bone of contention between the two states,” he said.