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Tamil Diaspora, Nurture Literature


Tamil 2Coimbatore, Jan 23 – Due to the migration of thousands of Tamils to various countries, modern Tamil works penned by authors living abroad reflects the pain and anxiety borne out of the isolation from their homeland.

To introduce and analyse this new form of literature in Tamil, the first day of the conference on Diaspora Literature and Education included a symposium, Pudhiya Sirakugal (New Wings), in which popular Tamil poets from abroad spoke on Tuesday.

Presiding over the symposium, popular Tamil poet and two-time Sahitya Akademy award winner Sirpi Balasubramaniam pointed out that Eelam Tamil poetry was unique in modern Tamil literature.


In his address, popular poet Cheran, who is also a professor in the University of Windersor, Canada, said: “After I read the great Tamil epic ‘Silapathikaram’ several times, I realized the pains of migration from the two main characters, Kovalan and Kannaki, who left their homeland Pukar and settled in Madurai, where Kovalan was murdered for a ‘crime’ which he did not commit”.

Cheran noted that people who migrate to foreign countries due to wars and political turmoil live isolated lives, experiencing the pains of nostalgia and anxiety.

However, pointing out the popular line “Yadhum Oore Yaavarum Kelir”  (All countries are ours and people are our kin) from a Sangam lyric penned by Kaniyan Poongundran, Cheran said writers of diaspora literature seek solace from such cosmopolitan elements found in ancient Tamil literature.

The conference also included a session on opportunities in Tamil through developing information technologies for publication of Tamil e-books through the internet and Tamil as a language of internet through smart phones.

Ponnavaiko, Vice Chancellor, SRM University, said the internet played a very important role in communication among the Tamils spread across the world.

“The first electronic computer was invented in the early 1940s and the user’s language of the machine was English. However, later on many emigrant Tamil software technologist created Tamil software for communication through the internet” he added.

Muthu Nedumaran, a software techonologist from Malaysia, who spoke on “Kaipesiyil Tamil” (Tamil in mobile phones), said : “In making Tamil the user’s language in smart phones, technology is not a barrier. However , the popularity of Tamil in mobile communication devices depends on the number of Tamil users”.

Muthu Nedumaran has been on a mission of creating software technologies for using Tamil in mobile phones for over two decades.

Poet Perundevi from USA, poet Anar from Sri Lanka, Tamil software technologist Tirumurthi Ranganathan from USA and writer and publisher Badri Seshadri also spoke at the event.

-Indian Express