Tamils from all over the U.S. and Canada as well as from abroad, including France, Norway and Sri Lanka, gathered in strength in Chicago July 3 to 7 for what was touted by organizers as “a historic three-in one celebration.”
The Schaumburg Convention Center was abuzz with activities of 6,000-plus Tamils as it witnessed the 10th World Tamil Research Conference, the 32nd anniversary of the North America Tamil Sangam and the golden jubilee of the Chicago Tamil Sangam.To mark the three-in- one celebration, three ceremonial lamps were lit.
At the inauguration of the mega event, youngsters performed dances to the songs of poet Subramania Bharathi and Bharathidasan. Auspicious music was played through the traditional Tamil instrument Nadaswaram to the accompaniment of Tavil. President of the North American Tamil Sangam Sundar Kuppuswamy welcomed the gathering.
Members from the Tamil Sangams of Chicago, Iowa, Central Illinois, New York and Toronto presented dance recitals of various folk dance forms of Tamil Nadu.Minnesota Tamil Sangam staged a play ‘Voice of The voiceless,’ based on the oppression against the peasants and the Keez Venmani massacre, an incident in Kizhavenmani village in Tamil Nadu in December 1968in which about 44 striking Dalit village laborerswere murdered allegedly by a gang of upper caste men.
The New York Tamil Sangam members presented a play ‘Tamil and Us’ in which they enacted how the Tamil literature developed from the Sangam era to this day. There was a Poets’ Meet titled ‘Keezadi – the lap of my mother in which American Tamil poets participated. The meet was presided over by celebrated poet Rajathi Salma.
Students of the Tamil schools of Chicago presented a sequence of skits depicting the glorious traits of the Tamil civilization.
As the final show of the celebration of Chicago Tamil Sangam’s golden jubilee, 50 artists belonging to ‘Pon Parai’ of Chicago presented a program with thetraditional Tamil percussion instrument, Parai.
A total of 116 singers participated in ‘Murasu’, a grand symphony musical conducted by Kannikeswaran, in which the singers sang from Sangam literature, Tholkappiyam, Silappathikaram, Kalingathu Parani, Thevaram and also Andal’s hymns.
Among the guests of honorwas Immanuel Arnold, a Sri Lankan Tamil who is currently the Mayor of Jaffna.
The second day’s proceedings began with Tamil Thaai Vaazthu, the State song of Tamil Nadu, by James Vasanthan and his group. Scriptural Thirukkural, a classic Tamil text, was chanted. The Rocks school students presented the glory of the Tamil language through their Veena recital.The NewJersey Tamil Sangam members staged a play highlighting the importance of water and the water crisis facing people in the state and elsewhere in India.
On July 6 and 7, the World Tamil Research Conference and the World Tamil Entrepreneurs Conference were conducted alongside each other. The focus of the research Conference was on the “New Historicist, Scientific and Comparative Study of the Antiquity of the Tamils, Tamil Language, Literature, Culture and Civilization.”
The July 3 to 7celebrations of all the three events saw the participation of morethan 120 Tamil scholars, celebrities and government officials, political leaders as well as Tamil enthusiasts.