Tracing their roots from Reunion Island

A French Reunion island team interacting with students at Cauvery College of Engineering and Technology at Perur near Tiruchi on Sunday....

A French Reunion island team interacting with students at Cauvery College of Engineering and Technology at Perur near Tiruchi on Sunday....   | Photo Credit: HANDOUT

Out of the 8.5 lakh population in the island, 3 lakh people are Tamils

It was a trip Bernard Goulamoussen (50), a French citizen of Tamil origin settled in Reunion Island, had been longing for since his childhood.

Eagerness writ large on his face, Goulamoussen tells how he was able to see traces of his roots wherever he went during his current trip in Tamil Nadu.

For, he had no idea to which part his ancestors who had migrated more than 200 years ago belonged.

Goulamoussen was among a group of 10 such visitors to Tamil Nadu from Reunion Island, a French overseas territory in the Indian Ocean, who have come to the State to understand their forefathers’ culture, tradition, civilisation, ancient history, educational system, rituals and practices.

After visiting several parts of the State including Chennai, Madurai, Dindigul and Thanjavur, they landed in Tiruchi on Sunday to explore its cultural heritage.

Led by Yogacharya Nilamegame, a native of Puducherry who had settled in Reunion Island about 30 years ago, they visited Cauvery College of Engineering and Technology at Perur near here and interacted with the students to understand the Indian educational system.

Like Goulamoussen, most of the group members also have no knowledge of their mother tongue Tamil.

But, they still practice Tamil culture reflecting in the way they dress and religious practices.

“We do not know where our forefathers lived in Tamil Nadu. We feel ecstatic to be in the land of our origin. We may have forgotten Tamil. But we have not given up our tradition yet,” says Goulamoussen, a temple priest, in French.

Out of 8.5 lakh population of Reunion Island, 3 lakh people were Tamils. Except one-third among them, the rest had poor knowledge about their roots in Tamil Nadu.

“But then, it is because of our deep understanding of festivals of Tamils and religious practices that we regularly recite Devaram and Thiruvasagam in temples,” said Nilamegame, who has penned a book on rituals of Tamils in Tamil and French.

After the interaction, N. Nallusamy, former Minister and Chairman of Cauvery College of Engineering and Technology felt that the State government should set up an exclusive Department to teach Tamil language to the diaspora, particularly in Reunion Island, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

A letter from the Editor

Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 7:34:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/tracing-their-roots-from-reunion-island/article22399082.ece

Next Story