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Scholars defend decision on Tamil New Year’s Day

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TRADITIONAL START: S. Agathiyalingam, former Vice-Chancellor of Tamil University, Thanjavur, lighting the traditional lamp at the Thiruvalluvar Day and Pongal celebrations at Thiruvalluvar University in Vellore on Thursday. L. Kannan, Vice-Chancellor of Thiruvalluvar University (centre) and A. Sivaperuman, Reader in Tamil, Annamalai University, are in the picture.
TRADITIONAL START: S. Agathiyalingam, former Vice-Chancellor of Tamil University, Thanjavur, lighting the traditional lamp at the Thiruvalluvar Day and Pongal celebrations at Thiruvalluvar University in Vellore on Thursday. L. Kannan, Vice-Chancellor of Thiruvalluvar University (centre) and A. Sivaperuman, Reader in Tamil, Annamalai University, are in the picture.

Special Correspondent

Thiruvalluvar Day celebrations organised by university

VELLORE: “There are several reasons behind the decision of the Tamil Nadu government to announce the first day of the Tamil month of ‘Thai’ as Tamil New Year’s Day,” according to A. Sivaperuman, Reader in Tamil, Annamalai University.

He was speaking on the topic, ‘Thai Thingal,’ at the Thiruvalluvar Day and Pongal celebrations organised by Thiruvalluvar University here on Thursday.

Dr. Sivaperuman said that the month was marked by activities aimed at cleanliness such as whitewashing houses, continuous festivals, commencement of the journey of the sun from the south to the north (Utharayana Punyakalam) - an occasion which is considered auspicious for all good events - and the fact that Makara Sankaranthi was celebrated on this day in north India to mark the movement of the sun from the Dhanusu (Sagittarius) ‘raasi’ to the Makara (Capricorn) ‘raasi.’ Even way back in 1921, a special meeting presided over by seven Tamil experts at Pachayappa’s College, Chennai, adopted a resolution that the first day of ‘Thai’ should be announced as the Tamil New Year’s Day. The experts included Maraimalai Adigalar and Somasundara Bharathi, he said.

S. Agathiyalingam, former Vice-Chancellor of Tamil University, Thanjavur, who spoke on ‘Thirukkural, a classical literature,’ said that though Thirukkural was in Tamil, Thiruvalluvar had written it for the benefit of entire humanity.

This had been proved by the commentaries written by foreigners. Even when ‘Tholkappiyam’ was written, Tamil had attained the status of classical language. What was obtained in 2004 was only the official recognition of Tamil as a classical language, he said.

A piece of literature which was written more than 2,000 years ago and one which attracts the attention of the people of the entire world alone can be called classical literature, according to philosopher Aristotle.

While the English language dated back to seventh century A.D., French to the 10th century A.D., German to 11th century A.D. and Russian to 18th century A.D., Tamil originated more than 2,000 years ago, Dr. Agathiyalingam said.

L. Kannan, Vice-Chancellor of Thiruvalluvar University, who presided, said that Thirukkural was known as ‘ulaga podhu marai’ as the message contained in it was universally applicable to people of all countries.

Thiruvalluvar University Syndicate members D. Gajapathi and A. Karunanandan spoke.

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