Chennai

Pongal festivities begin at VIT

Yogacharya S. Nilamegame, Reunion Island at the Pongal festival celebrations in VIT, Vellore on January 8.

Yogacharya S. Nilamegame, Reunion Island at the Pongal festival celebrations in VIT, Vellore on January 8.   | Photo Credit: C. VENKATACHALAPATHY

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V-C inaugurates event with symbolic preparation of pongal

Pongal festivities began at the Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore with founder and chancellor G. Viswanathan inaugurating the celebrations in a traditional manner.

He mixed rice, jaggery, pulses, cardamom and cashew nuts in a traditional clay pot, in symbolic preparation of the dish, pongal.

The festival is celebrated every year at VIT with the participation of students, faculty and management and non-teaching staff. It is organised each year by Paavendhar Bharathidasan Tamil Literary Association and VIT School of Agricultural Innovations and Advanced Learning.

Students from different countries took part in the celebrations, wearing traditional clothes — saree and dhoti — of Tamil Nadu.

Traditional artforms of Karagattam, Oyilattam and Puli Vesham, performed by troupes brought in from Thanjavur and Tiruvannamalai, stole the hearts of participating students and guests present on the occasion.

Chief Guest of the function Yogacharya S. Nilamegame from Reunion Island said that there were about three lakh Tamils, following Tamil culture and celebrating festivals like Pongal and Deepavali, in Reunion Island.

“We have people from various countries like China, Africa and France living together with Tamils in Reunion Island,” he added. He invited people from India to visit Reunion Island, an island nation that lies between Madagascar and Mauritius.

Mr. Viswanathan said that Tamil is spoken in about 150 countries in the world, including Reunion Island. In 30 nations, it is spoken in large numbers, he added.

There are about 7,000 languages spoken in the world and of them, seven — Latin, Greek, Persian, Hebrew, Tamil, Sanskrit and Chinese — are the oldest, having existed for over 2,000 years. “Of these seven languages, some have become outdated and few have transformed. But not Tamil and Chinese. Chinese is about 1,000 years younger than Tamil,” he said.

“India is the only country in world which has so many languages. As per the 2011 Census, we have 121 major spoken languages and 19,500 dialects. But we have recognised only 22 languages,” he said.

Pointing out that he was instrumental in starting Tamiliyakam in October 2018 with an objective to develop Tamil and create awareness about the language among people in various countries, he said that VIT and Tamiliyakam will take necessary steps to develop and preserve Tamil in various countries, including Reunion Island.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 3:31:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/pongal-festivities-begin-at-vellore-institute-of-technology/article30518188.ece

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