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PM Modi lauds Tamil language and culture in faraway Papua New Guinea

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the launch of translation of the Tamil classic 'Thirukkural' to local Tok Pisin language in Port Moresby on Monday (Image courtesy: PIB)

Expressing his affection for the Tamil language once again – this time in the faraway Pacific island country of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a translation of the Tamil classic ‘Thirukkural’ to local Tok Pisin language in Port Moresby on Monday.

Co-authored by linguist Subha Sasindran and Governor Sasindran Muthuvel of West New Britain Province of PNG, the book brings Indian thought and culture closer to the people of Papua New Guinea.

The book has a foreword by PNG Prime Minister James Marape.

PM Modi congratulated the authors and complimented them on their contribution towards preserving the tenets of Indian thought and culture in Papua New Guinea.

“Seeing PM Narendra Modi ji release ‘The Thirukkural’ in Tok Pisin language during his historic visit to Papua New Guinea made my day! Time and again he has displayed his deep bond and appreciation for the Tamil culture,” tweeted Loganathan Murugan, Union Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

The minister stated that the PM has made concerted efforts to not only to connect with the people of Tamil Nadu but also recognise the rich heritage and significant contributions of the Tamil community.

Last November, while inaugurating the ‘Kashi Tamil Sangamam’ – a month-long programme organised in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi to reaffirm and rediscover the age-old links between the country’s most important and ancient seats of learning – PM Modi released ‘Thirukkural’ along with its translation into 13 languages.

“In Kashi, we have Baba Vishwanath, while in Tamil Nadu we have the blessings of Lord Rameshwaram. Both Kashi and Tamil Nadu are immersed in Shiva. Be it music, literature or art, Kashi and Tamil Nadu have always been a source of art,” he said.

In 2015, Prime Minister released a Gujarati translation of ‘Thirukkural’ which holds a prime place among the classical literary works of Tamil.

In April 2021, while on his way to a rally in Kanyakumari, PM Modi tweeted a video of the majestic Vivekananda Rock Memorial and the grand Thiruvalluvar Statue.

Murugan spotlighted that the establishment of the Subramania Bharathi Chair at the BHU is a testament to PM Modi’s recognition of the immense contributions made by the renowned Tamil poet and reflects his commitment to honouring regional luminaries and fostering cultural exchange.

“PM often quotes Thirukkural to emphasise the principles of good governance, social harmony and inclusive development. I also remember the PM quoting the great poet Kaniyan Pungundranaar in his speech at the UNGA in 2019,” said the minister.

Last month, while addressing the closing ceremony of Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam, PM Modi said that the Amrit Kaal of India’s Independence is bearing witness to important cultural events.

Quoting great Tamil poet and philosopher Thiruvallavar, he mentioned that happiness, prosperity and fortune come to those who happily welcome others into their homes and emphasized the need for harmony and shunning cultural clashes.

“We don’t have to take forward the struggles, we have to take forward the Sangams and Samagams. We don’t want to find differences, we want to make emotional connections,” said PM Modi referring to the people of Tamil Nadu who welcomed the people of Saurashtra origin to settle in Tamil Nadu.

The promotion of the idea of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ through initiatives which bring out and help rediscover the age-old links between people in different parts of the country has been one of the major focus areas of the Modi government.

The endeavour is also in sync with National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 which lays emphasis on integrating the wealth of Indian Knowledge Systems with modern systems of knowledge. IIT Madras and Banaras Hindu University (BHU) are the two implementing agencies for the programme.