Chennai Sangam strives to protect & spread Tamil language

Chennai: ‘Mella Thamizh ini saagum (Tamil will die slowly),’ said Bharathi in his famous poem 150 years back. Though the first line of this poem has been immortalised, not many people know what follows. The revolutionary poet adds that the Tamil language will become eternal if we bring the wealth of knowledge from around the world and infuse it with Tamil.

In Anna Nagar, a group of people, under the banner of Anna Nagar Tamil Sangam have been at this mammoth task for almost 35 years. On the eve of Tamil New Year, News Today approached the current secretary of the Sangam, Sundararajalu to know more about the Sangam’s history and the work they do now.

He said, “In 1984, a group of Tamil scholar’s led by Atchi Mozhi Kavalar K Ramalinganar got together and formed the Anna Nagar Tamil Sangam with the aim to preserve Tamil language and pass it on to the next generation. We have been conducting monthly literary programmes without gap for more than three decades. In this day and age, the Tamil Sangam is one of the few good forums where one gets to hear speeches in pure Tamil without the influence of other languages.”

“Various Tamil scholars, doctors, engineers, judges, IAS officiers and ministers have spoken in our forum over the years. A year back, IAS officer, S K Dogra who hails from North India delivered an interesting speech about his tryst with Tamil and Tamilnadu under the topic Naanum, Thamizhum, Thamizh Nadum,” he added.

Talking about other activities of the Sangam, he said, “It is our aim to help Tamil grow even more. So if someone with a different mother tongue approaches us, we help them learn Tamil. We also honour Tamil scholars and various people who have worked for the betterment of Tamil language and people. We give cash price to students who have secured top marks in Tamil at classes 10 and 12.”

This year, the Sangam has started a Kattida Kuzhu under T K Divakaran in order to find ways to get a separate and own place for conducting Tamil Sangam activities. They have approached the government and are eagerly awaiting a positive reply.

Today the Sangam has grown to have around 400 active members, most of them with Tamilnadu. But Sundararajalu has a small regret. Out of the 400 active members only five per cent are youngsters, he says. “You don’t find many youngsters in any Tamil group these days. Almost everyone will be more than 50 years old. The youngsters do not have the patience to sit and hear the beautiful flow of Tamil words.”

To bring in more youngsters, the Tamil Sangam wants to conduct more youth inclusive programmes in colleges.He said, “We want to increase the frequency of our meetings and conduct events like kavi arangam and pattimandram. But we lack the funds to conduct such big programmes. At present, our meeting happen in Kandaswamy Naidu college. It would also help if we had our own premises to conduct these programmes. We have approached the State Government for this.”

Talking about the requirements to join ANTS, he said, “Any person without the restriction of caste, creed or race can join our sangam. The only requirement is that they must be passionate about Tamil. An important point to note is that all our meetings are apolitical.”

For joining the Anna Nagar Tamil Sangam, you can contact Secretary Sundararajulu: 044 26633333.

A Harsha Vardhan