Staff Reporter

PUDUCHERRY: Speakers at the national seminar on “Concept of human rights as depicted in Sangam Literature” stressed the need to project the concept of human rights, which has usually been “western-oriented,” in the light of eastern cultures and societies.

The three-day seminar organised by the Department of Politics and International Studies of the Pondicherry University was inaugurated on Monday. Addressing the gathering, Director of Culture and Cultural Relations of the university A. Balasubramanian said Sangam Literature was a historical source of information for researchers and analytical work.

“Sangam Literature was primarily secular and written by both men and women. It has strong cultural foundations and human rights. Rights, liberty, democracy, women and children rights were discussed by various poets in Sangam Literature,” he observed.

He questioned whether the aspects taught by Sangam Literature were put into practice in the present day society.

Fellow of Central Institute of Classical Tamil P. Marudhanayagam said Tamil was unique in various aspects among classical languages. “Tamil has managed to survive for more than 25 centuries. It has withstood the onslaught of foreign linguistics and cultures,” he observed.

Head, Department of Politics and International Studies Mohanan B. Pillai said, “It is our duty to promote the concept of human rights available in the eastern society. Human rights are more individual-oriented in the western society, while it is community-oriented in the eastern society.

S. Sambandhan, Dean, School of Social Sciences and International Studies felt that Tamil was unfortunately not made into a practical and utility-oriented language. Reader and Seminar co-ordinator B. Krishnamurthy spoke on the scope of the seminar.