Syed Muthahar Saqaf
It was very regular in holding the weekly meetings every Saturday
TIRUCHI: Floating an association or a forum is not a difficult job. But keeping it active, that too for years together, needs high degree of dedication and commitment on the part of the promoters.
The Srirangam based Shenbaga Tamil Arangu has created a record of sorts by holding its 900th regular meeting on last Friday, much to the joy of the Tiruchiites in general and the lovers of Tamil in particular.
Noted writer and literary critic, Prema Nandakumar was the chief guest at the meeting and delivered a special address on ‘Arangathil Arangetrangal’ (arangetrams that took place in Srirangam).
Dr. Prema Nandakumar recalled that the Srirangam Temple was a seat to a host of historically significant ‘arangetrams.’ The ‘arangetram’ of epic Kamba Ramayanam was held in front of the Thayar Sannidhi where the Kamban Mandapam is situated. The verses composed by Tiruppanazhvar in praise of Lord Ranganatha were released in the Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple.
Dr. Prema Nandakumar commended the activities of the Arangu in imbibing Tamil culture among the common man. She released a special booklet, tracing the history of the Arangu and its activities.
The Arangu was floated by a lawyer turned Tamil activist K. Rajavelu Shenbagavalli on January 18, 1992 to perpetuate the memory of his wife Shenbagavalli. The forum was launched with the objective of undertaking activities for promoting Tamil language and literature.
The Arangu was very regular in holding the weekly meetings every Saturday by inviting Tamil scholars and authors, who addressed on various topics including Saiva Sidhantham; Periya Puranam; Nalayira Divya Prabandham; Silappadikaram, Seevaka Sinthamani; Kambaramayanam; Bible; Quran and Manimekalai. It has been a forum for conducting debate and discussions in contemporary literature and comparative literature in other languages including English.
The Arangu made it an annual feature to honour top scholars with the title ‘Tamil Mamani’ during its anniversary. Besides organising special functions to celebrate the centenary of scholars, it helped authors to release their books. The founder, Mr. Rajavelu himself had released 14 books, all compilation of poems, in memory of his wife.
The Arangu, which is running a library, conducted its 500th meeting as ‘Tamil festival’ for three days in 2001. The lectures delivered in all its meetings have been brought as audio tapes and later into CDs.