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Kashi, TN are timeless centres of culture and civilization: PM at 'Kashi Tamil Sangamam' in Varanasi

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New Delhi, Nov 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said Kashi and Tamil Nadu are timeless centres of culture and civilisation.

Addressing a gathering, the Prime Minister, who inaugurated a month-long 'Kashi Tamil Sangamam' on Saturday in Varanasi, said, "Sangam plays a very vital role in the country, from sangam of rivers, knowledge & thoughts. This Sangamam is the celebration of India's diverse cultures."

'Kashi Tamil Sangamam' is being organized in Varanasi (Kashi) from 17th November to 16th December with the objective to rediscover, reaffirm and celebrate the age-old links between Tamil Nadu and Kashi - two of the country's most important and ancient seats of learning.

PM Modi inaugurates Kashi Tamil Sangamam in Varanasi

Kashi-Tamil Sangamam: When Kanchipuram meets BanarasKashi-Tamil Sangamam: When Kanchipuram meets Banaras

The two regions are also the centres of the world's oldest languages Sanskrit and Tamil, Modi said in his inaugural speech at Kashi Tamil Sangamam here. "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)," PTI quoted him as saying at the event in his Lok Sabha constituency.

Throwing light on the connection between Kashi and Tamil Nadu, the Prime Minister said that on one hand, Kashi is the cultural capital of India whereas Tamil Nadu and Tamil culture is the centre of India's antiquity and pride.

Drawing an analogy to the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers, the Prime Minister said the Kashi-Tamil Sangam is equally holy which engulfs endless opportunities and strength in itself. The Prime Minister congratulated the Ministry of Education and the Government of Uttar Pradesh for this momentous gathering and thanked central universities like IIT, Madras and BHU for extending their support to the programme. The Prime Minister especially thanked the students and scholars of Kashi and Tamil Nadu.

The Prime Minister underlined that Kashi and Tamil Nadu are timeless centres of our culture and civilisation. He informed that both Sanskrit and Tamil are one of the most ancient languages that existed. The Prime Minister exclaimed, "In Kashi, we have Baba Vishwanath, while in Tamil Nadu we have the blessings of Lord Rameshwaram. Both Kashi and Tamil Nadu are immersed in Shiva." Be it music, literature or art, the Prime Minister remarked that Kashi and Tamil Nadu have always been a source of art.

Throwing light on the rich culture and traditions of India, the Prime Minister said that both these places are marked as the birthplace and workplace of India's finest acharyas. He underlined that one can experience similar energies in Kashi and Tamil Nadu. He said, "Even today the relevance of Kashi Yatra comes up during the traditional Tamil marriage procession." He underlined that unending love for Kashi from Tamil Nadu signifies the feeling of Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat which was the way of life of our ancestors.

The Prime Minister underlined Tamil Nadu's contribution to the development of Kashi and recalled that Tamil Nadu-born Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan was the Vice Chancellor of BHU. He also mentioned the Vedic scholar Rajeshwar Shastri who lived in Kashi even though he had his roots in Tamil Nadu. He said that the people of Kashi also miss Pattaviram Shastri who lived on Hanuman Ghat in Kashi.

The Prime Minister informed about the Kashi Kaam Koteshwar Panchayatan Mandir which is a Tamilian temple on the banks of Harishchandra Ghat, and the two-hundred-year-old Kumarswamy Matt and Markande Ashram on Kedar Ghat. He also stated that many people from Tamil Nadu have been living near the banks of Kedar Ghat and Hanuman Ghat, and have made immense contributions towards Kashi for several generations. The Prime Minister also mentioned the great poet and revolutionary, Shri Subramania Bharathi who hailed from Tamil Nadu but lived in Kashi for many years. He informed about BHU's pride and privilege in establishing the chair dedicated to Subramania Bharati.

The Prime Minister underlined that the Kashi-Tamil Sangam is taking place during the Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal. He said, "In Amrit Kaal, our resolutions will be fulfilled by the unity of the whole country." He stated that India is a nation which has lived a natural cultural unity for thousands of years.

Throwing light on the tradition of remembering 12 Jyotirlingas after waking up in the morning, the Prime Minister said that we start our day by remembering the spiritual unity of the country. Shri Modi also lamented the lack of efforts to strengthen this tradition and heritage of thousands of years. He further added that Kashi-Tamil Sangamam will become a platform for this resolution today while making us realise our duties, and being a source of energy to strengthen national unity.

The Prime Minister said that it was through this attitude of breaking language and surpassing the intellectual distance that Swami Kumargurupar came to Kashi and made it his Karmbhoomi and got Kedareshwar Mandir constructed in Kashi. Later, his disciples got Kashi Vishwanath temple constructed in Thanjavur on the banks of river Kaveri. The Prime Minister reiterated the link between Tamil scholars and Kashi by mentioning personalities like Manonmaniyam Sundaranar who wrote a Tamil State song and the connection of his guru with Kashi.

The Prime Minister also remembered the role of Ramayana and Mahabharata written by Raja ji in connecting the North and the South. "This is my experience that without understanding scholars from South India like Ramanujacharya, Shankaracharya, Raja Ji to Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, we simply can not understand Indian philosophy", Modi said.

Referring to 'Panch Pran', the Prime Minister said that a country with a rich heritage should be proud of its legacy. He said despite having one of the world's oldest living languages, i.e. Tamil, we lack in honouring it fully. "This is the responsibility of 130 crore Indians to preserve the legacy of Tamil and enrich it. If we ignore Tamil we 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", the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister said that the Sangamam is a matter of experiencing more than the words and expressed the hope that people of Kashi will leave no stone unturned in providing memorable hospitality.

The Prime Minister expressed the wish that such events are organised in Tamil Nadu and other Southern states and youngsters from other parts of the county visit and absorb the culture there. The gains of this sangamam need to be taken forward through research and this seed should become a giant tree, the Prime Minister concluded.

Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Smt Anandiben Patel, Union Ministers Dr L Murugan, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, and Member of Parliament, Shri Ilaiyaraaja were those present on the occasion among others.

There is a Dakshin Kashi in Tamil Nadu too, the prime minister noted. More than 2,500 delegates from Tamil Nadu are visiting Varanasi and will participate in seminars and interact with local people of similar trade, profession and interest.

A month-long exhibition of handlooms, handicrafts, books, documentaries, cuisine, art forms, history and tourist places of the two regions will also be organised here. The Tamil Sangamam conclave in the pilgrim city is part of the prime minister's initiative of 'Ek Bharat-Shreshtha Bharat' that portrays unity among the cultural diversity of various states and Union Territories.

'Spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’: PM Modi expresses enthusiasm for Kashi Tamil Sangam'Spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’: PM Modi expresses enthusiasm for Kashi Tamil Sangam

The programme aims to provide an opportunity for scholars, students, philosophers, traders, artisans, artists and people from other walks of life from the two regions to come together, share their knowledge, culture and best practices and learn from each others' experience.

The endeavour is in sync with NEP 2020's emphasis on integrating the wealth of Indian Knowledge Systems with modern systems of knowledge. IIT Madras and BHU are the two implementing agencies for the programme.

More than 2,500 delegates from Tamil Nadu under 12 categories such as students, teachers, literature, culture, artisans, spiritual, heritage, business, entrepreneurs, professionals etc will be visiting Varanasi on 8-day tours. They will participate in seminars, lec dems, site visits etc in special programmes curated for each of the 12 categories to interact with local people of the same trade, profession and interest. The delegates will also visit places of interest in and around Varanasi including Prayagraj and Ayodhya.

Students of BHU and other Higher Educational Institutions will be participating in the academic programmes. They will study the comparative practices pertaining to various sectors in the two regions and document the learnings. The first group of delegates consisting of 200 students started their tour from Chennai on the 17th of November, their train was flagged off by Governor of Tamil Nadu R. N Ravi from the Chennai Railway station.

Along with this, a month long exhibition of handlooms, handicrafts, ODOP products, books, documentaries, cuisine, art forms, history, tourist places etc of the two regions will be put up in Varanasi for the benefit of the local people.

During the inaugural programme, Prime Minister interacted with the delegates coming from Tamil Nadu. The inauguration ceremony witnessed various cultural performances such as vocal rendition by Ilaiyaraaja, and book releases.

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