Chennai, Mar 19 (PTI) Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Sunday appealed to the people of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat to give a new dimension to the concept of 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' and said that the forthcoming Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam would be the very first 'largest and holistic reunion' of the two States after several centuries.
The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Chemicals and Fertilisers said the 10-day Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam scheduled to commence from April 17 would be an important milestone in the history of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
The Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam will be held in multiple locations in Gujarat.
Beginning his speech in Tamil, Mandaviya said the bond between Tamil Nadu and Gujarat was 'centuries old' and that there was a 'special connection' lies between the two States. "Friends, Tamil Nadu is the same land which gave shelter to our ancestors centuries ago. This land gave the very opportunity to move forward. They (ancestors) earned a name in the field of art, education, literature, culture," he said after inaugurating the curtain raiser of the Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam conference here.
Tamil Nadu has made an 'unprecedented' contribution to the lives of Saurashtrians, he said.
"You (Saurashtrians living in Tamil Nadu) have not been forgotten there in Saurashtra (Gujarat), and the soil and water in Saurashtra, which you left centuries ago, are calling to you ... Let's give a new dimension to our tradition of Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat which our forefathers lived by," he said, speaking about the devotion people feel towards Rameshwaram and Somnath temples. Maintaining that the event itself was an opportunity to carry forward the glory of Gujaratis and Tamils, he said, "With the support of brothers and sisters in Tamil Nadu, the Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam will become a platform to enrich our heritage and emotional unity." "It will be the very first largest and holistic reunion after a gap of several centuries and will also make an important milestone in the history of the two States." "People of Gujarat will leave no stone unturned in their hospitality. This is the sangamam of art, culture, tradition, language..." the Minister said.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur who was present on the occasion said, "Let's take the connection between the two States to the next level under the theme 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat'." "I have not seen anyone doing this kind of event (Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam) in the last 75 years, the way Prime Minister Narendra Modi is doing it..." the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Youth Affairs and Sports said.
The conference would rediscover and celebrate the over 1,000 year old emigration and contribution of Saurashtrian Tamils.
A logo, theme song and a registration portal for the participants was unveiled by the Union Ministers on the occasion.
The event would highlight the oneness of India's culture by narrating untold histories of how a community emigrated to Tamil Nadu and made their contributions to the country.
"This is an excellent initiative by the Modi government that enables a once-in-a-lifetime reunion. This programme will offer students and academicians (a chance) to learn the history of Saurashtrians," Mandaviya said.
Gujarat Minister of State for Cooperation and Micro and Medium Industries Jagdish Vishwakarma said, "The Saurashtra community in Tamil Nadu has a rich history and culture unique to the region," adding, "This programme honours the contributions and preserves the rich heritage of Saurashtrians who share so much in common with both Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
After today's roadshow in Chennai, similar events will be held in Madurai, Dindigul, Paramakudi, Salem and Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. PTI VIJ KH