Workers from north get a `sweet' experience

TASTE OF TRADITION: Samudaya Pongal festival under way at Kagithapuram in Karur district.

TASTE OF TRADITION: Samudaya Pongal festival under way at Kagithapuram in Karur district.  

Staff Reporter

`Samudaya Pongal' celebrated in Kagithapuram Around 1,500 join the festivities near Pugalur railway station

KARUR: It turned out to be an enthralling experience for the hundreds of casual labourers hailing from northern states and working at the expansion project of the Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Limited (TNPL), Kagithapuram near Karur, when they enthusiastically participated at the "Samudaya Pongal" got up especially for them recently.

In a bid to go beyond the mere implementation of the order on public institutions celebrating Pongal, the TNPL Managing Director, V. Murthy, hit upon the idea to provide the workers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal a glimpse into Tamil culture and ethos, best reflected in the celebration of Pongal.

Styled "Samudaya Pongal", seeking to encompass all social stratifications and transcending State boundaries and cultures, the endeavour helped the Tamil workers showcase their culture in celebrating Pongal in the traditional form while it helped the labourers from the North participate in the festivities, something new to them.

"These festivities on the one hand help Tamil workers to celebrate Pongal, giving them a feeling of being at home, while on the other hand it helps workers from the North forget the temporary separation from their near and dear ones even as it forges a special bond between the workers," says Mr. Murthy.

Around 1,500 workers and others participated in the festivities got up on a sprawling area adjacent to their temporary shelters near the Pugalur railway station. Commodities essential for cooking pongal such as rice, dhal, jaggery as also earthen pots plates, stainless steel buckets, sugar cane pods, turmeric plants were given away to 100 families to celebrate pongal in the square in the traditional manner.

Women cooked sweet pongal and offered that to Sun god. While the labourers from the North were savouring the delicious pongal and the vibrant Tamil culture, another delicacy "ven pongal" was distributed to them along with banana and sweet.

As a Pongal gift, the TNPL dedicated a toilet and bathroom building, with 24-running water facility, for the benefit of the casual labourers employed in the expansion project.

The Director of SCOPE, a voluntary organization, M. Subburaman, dedicated the facility to the workers on the occasion. Senior TNPL officials participated in the function.

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