Kashi Tamil Sangamam—bridging north-south political divide through cultural bridge, messaging : The Tribune India

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Kashi Tamil Sangamam—bridging north-south political divide through cultural bridge, messaging

Such events are also a reminder of the importance and influence of Sanatan Dharma in southern states, especially Tamil Nadu, observers say

Kashi Tamil Sangamam—bridging north-south political divide through cultural bridge, messaging

PM Narendra Modi during the inauguration of the Kashi Tamil Sangamam, PTI



Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh, December 18

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the second edition of Kashi Tamil Sangamam—an “initiative of the central government as a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to uphold the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat”—in Varanasi where he also flagged off the Kanyakumari–Varanasi Tamil Sangamam train besides launching multi-language and Braille translations of ‘Thirukkural’, ‘Manimekalai’ and other classic Tamil literature.

Rameshwaram and Varanasi are among the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus and the objective of the programme is to “revive the vibrant relations between the two ancient centres of education and culture”. The Banaras Hindu University and IIT Madras are also involved in the event. In fact, IIT Madras has also started Vidyashakti initiative to provide online support in science and mathematics to students of Banaras, PM Modi said at the event.

“Several initiatives taken within a year are proof that the relations between Kashi and Tamil Nadu are both emotional and creative,” he added.

Building on spiritual/religious bond 

The ‘Sangamam’ aims to “celebrate, reaffirm and rediscover age-old links between Tamil Nadu and Varanasi/Kashi” counted among India’s most important and ancient seats of learning.

The event last year evoked much interest given the ruling BJP’s focus on five southern states—Tamil Nadu. Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala.   

The second edition comes on the eve of the general election next year.

While in north India, especially the Hindi heartland states, the ruling BJP happens to be in a comfortable position, the same cannot be said about states in the south, a situation that may have prompted BJP strategists to prepare region-specific plans and strategies. Meanwhile, the contrasting results from Hindi heartland states (Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh) and Telangana and Karnataka this year further underlined the “political differences between north and south”. 

The gathering last year lasted for a month and, according to political analysts, it proved to be an “important symbolic step” to underline the religious/Sanatan Dharma connection between the two regions separated by hundreds of kilometres.  

The Ganga-Pushkaralu Utsav—Kashi-Telugu Sangamam—was also organised in Kashi some time back.

Highlighting the religious linkages, PM Modi said, “Coming to Kashi from Tamil Nadu was like coming from one house of Mahadev to his other house.

“Coming to Kashi from Tamil Nadu means coming from Madurai Meenakshi to Kashi Vishalakshi. That is why the love and bond that exists between the people of Tamil Nadu and the people of Kashi in their hearts is different and unique.

“It is important to learn about each other, about each other's traditions, and our common heritage. We have the example of Kashi and Madurai in the north and south. Both are great temple cities. Both are great pilgrimage sites. Madurai is situated on the banks of the Vaigai and Kashi on the Ganga. Tamil literature talks about both the Vaigai and Ganga. When we learn about this heritage, we also realise the depth of our relationships,” he said.

A message to critics of ‘Sanatan Dharma’

Through the ‘Sangamam’, religious leaders of various mutts, students, artists, litterateurs, craftsmen, professionals, people from many fields have got an effective platform for mutual interaction and communication.

“A large number of people and youngsters from Tamil Nadu are coming to Kashi. From here, we are also going to Prayag, Ayodhya and other pilgrimages. I have been told that special arrangements have also been made for Ayodhya darshan for the people coming to Kashi-Tamil Sangamam. It’s great luck to get the darshan of both Mahadev as well as Lord Rama who had laid the foundation of Rameshwaram,” PM Modi said.

Modi will install the Ram idol in the Ayodhya temple in January, marking a major event in the political history of the BJP.

Meanwhile, those associated with Sanatan Dharma believe the spiritual event built on a common religious ground will also be a message to the leaders of political parties (read DMK) who often make controversial statements regarding their faith. “Through such events the saffron party also wants to give the message to its opponents in the south. Such events are also a reminder of the importance and influence of Sanatan Dharma in southern states, especially Tamil Nadu,” observers say. 

 

About The Author

The Tribune Web Desk brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune Wed Desk for not just breaking news stories but wide-ranging coverage of events.

#Bharat #Narendra Modi #Sanatan Dharma #Tamil Nadu


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