Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 17 said in Varanasi that Kashi and Tamil Nadu share an emotional and creative bond since time immemorial, adding that through the Kashi Tamil Sangamam the idea of ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ is getting strengthened.
“Reaching Kashi from Tamil Nadu means coming from Madurai Meenakshi to Kashi Visalakshi. The emotional bond shared by the people of Kashi and Tamil Nadu is unique in many ways,” said Mr. Modi, addressing the inaugural ceremony of the second edition of Kashi Tamil Sangamam at Namo Ghat. The Prime Minister started his speech by greeting the guests from Tamil Nadu with ‘Vanakkam Kashi, Vanakkam Tamil Nadu’, and added that reaching Kashi from Tamil Nadu meant coming from one house of Mahadev to the other.
Mr. Modi said the Kashi Tamil Sangamam was unique in many ways and this confluence signified India’s cultural foundation. During Mr. Modi’s speech, simultaneous Artificial Intelligence-based Tamil translation of his speech was done through Bhashini, an AI-based language platform for those in the audience who understood Tamil. The Government of India launched Bhashini in 2022, aimed at providing easy access to the Internet and digital services in Indian languages, including voice-based access.
Visit of saints
Highlighting how saints from southern India visited Kashi since centuries in a bid to awaken the consciousness of the masses, the Prime Minister added, “Our country is united by saints such as Adi Shankaracharya and Ramanujacharya, who awakened the national consciousness among people through their journeys. They also visited Kashi. India remained immortal as a nation for thousands of years due to this. In the same way, today Kashi Tamil Sangamam is strengthening the spirit of Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat”.
The Prime Minister hailed the Sangamam for establishing itself as an effective platform for mutual dialogue between people of north and south. “Banaras Hindu University [BHU] and the Indian Institute of Technology [IIT] Madras joined hands for the success of the Sangamam. The Vidhya Shakti project of IIT Madras, aimed at providing online support in mathematics to Varanasi students, and other initiatives taken within a year signify the emotional and constructive ties between Tamil Nadu and Kashi,” said Mr. Modi.
He also released books on ancient Tamil texts translated into Braille. Pointing towards the installation of sengol in the new Parliament building, Mr. Modi said, “feeling of Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat was visible when we entered the new building of Parliament where the holy sengol has been installed. Diversity is rooted in our consciousness, despite that Indians are one”.
The Prime Minister said that through the Sangamam, enthusiasm for their ancient traditions had increased among the youth of the country. “A sizeable number of youths from Tamil Nadu are coming to Kashi. The Uttar Pradesh government is also making arrangements for the people coming to the Sangamam for their darshan to Ayodhya. Such initiative will lead to growth of consciousness about ancient Indian traditions,” said Mr. Modi.
The Prime Minister also witnessed cultural events, including the performance by Tamil singer and composer Sid Sriram. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, along with other dignitaries were present at the event. Roughly 1,400 participants from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry attended the inauguration of Sangamam.