Tilling the political Tamil land with water from Kashi’s Ganga

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressed all the right buttons in Varanasi on Saturday by extolling Tamil as the oldest language in the world along with Sanskrit in his address at the inaugural event.

Published: 21st November 2022 12:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st November 2022 12:52 AM   |  A+A-

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In this representational image, Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during a public meeting ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections, at Dhoraji in Rajkot district. (Photo | PTI)

The month-long Kashi-Tamil Sangamam conceived by the Modi government celebrates the spiritual and civilisational ties of the twin centres of learning for aeons. A Kashi yatra at least once in a lifetime is an aspiration for spiritual emancipation for people in the South. Likewise, a visit to Rameswaram is on the must-do list for those in the North. Such centuries-old linkages created by our ancestors have withstood the test of time. If Varanasi and Tamil Nadu were traditional seats of learning, Kashi and Kanchi were also once known for their scholars in astronomy. That the government saw the need to remind the nation of such deep bonds is an acknowledgement that those memories weren’t adequately being transferred and ingrained in Gen Z these days through the traditional family system.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressed all the right buttons in Varanasi on Saturday by extolling Tamil as the oldest language in the world along with Sanskrit in his address at the inaugural event. He regretted that Tamil had not been accorded the honour it deserves, which ought to resonate with lovers of the language and those whose politics revolves around it. Modi was careful to avoid the Hindi landmine, as controversies over its alleged imposition erupt as frequently in Tamil Nadu as night follows day.

The Kashi-Tamil Sangamam takes four train loads of youth from various parts of Tamil Nadu to Kashi for an immersive experience in mutual synergy. It mirrors a decades-old Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad scheme called the Student Experience in Inter-state Living, under which small batches of first-generation students from the then-restive Northeast were taken around the country each year on a study tour to foster national unity. By and by, quite a few of those students went on to become leaders in their own spheres of activity. By partially replicating the scheme, the Modi government possibly hopes the participants of the Sangamam from Tamil Nadu would carry the message of national unity and integrity back to their peer groups and perhaps build a counter-narrative against Tamil exclusivity propagated by some elements in the state. If that happens, it will amount to spade work for the BJP’s lotus to bloom in the largely barren land for the party so far. In other words, tilling the political Tamil land with water from Kashi’s Ganga. A long shot but no harm in trying.



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