Thursday, 23 January 2014

Sharing Pains of Migration in Tamil Diaspora Literature

Poet Cheran Adressing the conference
Ponnavaikko speaks on Tamil as language in computers

Due to the migration of thousands of Tamils to various countries of the world, it is true that the modern Tamil literature penned by authors living abroad reflects the pain and anxiety borne out of the isolation from their native land. In order to introduce and analyze this new form of literature in Tamil, the first day of the conference on Diaspora Literature and Education included a symposium on the title Pudhiya Sirakukal  ( New wings) in which popular Tamil poets from abroad addressed here on Tuesday.

Presiding over the symposium, popular Tamil poet and a two time winner of Sahitya Akademy award, Sirpi Balasubramaniam pointed out that Eelam Tamil poetry written by women in the island nation is unique in modern Tamil literature.

Addressing in the symposium, popular poet Cheran, who is also a professor in the University of Windsor, Canada, said:

“When I read the great Tamil epic Silapathikaram for several times, I realized the pains of migration from the two main characters Kovalan and Kannaki, who left their original land Pukar  and settled in Madurai, where Kovalan was murdered for a crime, which he did not commit”

Cheran noted that people, who migrate to foreign countries due to wars and other political turmoil, are isolated in there, experiencing the pains of nostalgia and anxiety.

However, pointing out the popular line Yadhum Oore Yaavarum Kelir  ( All countries are ours and all people are our kin) from a Sangam lyric penned by Kaniyan Poongundran, Cheran said that writers of Diaspora literature seek solace from such cosmopolitan elements found in ancient Tamil literature.

The conference also included a session on opportunities in Tamil through developing information technologies for publication of Tamil e-books in the internet and Tamil as language of internet through smart mobile phones.

Addressing the session, Ponnavaiko, Vice-chancellor, SRM University, said that internet played a very important role in communication among the immigrant Tamils spread across world countries.

“The first electronic computer was invented in the early 1940s and the user’s language of the machine was English. However, later on, many immigrant Tamil software technologists created Tamil software for communication through internet” he added.   

Muthu Nedumaran, a software technologist from Malaysia, who spoke on the title Kaipesiyil Tamil (Tamil in mobile phones), said:

“In making Tamil as the user’s language in smart phones, technology is not a barrier. However, the popularity of using Tamil in mobile communication devices depends on the number of Tamil users” added Muthu Nedumaran, who has been in the mission of creating software technologies for using Tamil in mobile phones for over two decades.    

Poet Perundevi from USA, poet Anar from Sri Lanka, Tamil software technologist, Tirumurthi Ranganathan from USA and writer and publisher Badri Seshadri spoke in the function.  

Link to my article in The New Indian Express: 


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