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Tamil Day 2016 - Diamond Jubilee of the Tamil Union

This year marks the Diamond Jubilee of the Tamil Union which was inaugurated in 1956 during the tenure of J. T. Arulanantham, Late Principal of the College.

The Union, over the years, has helped young Johnians to build up their confidence and leadership qualities. The Union organizes various activities to improve and expose the talents of the children.

Tamil culture is rooted in the arts and ways of the lives of Tamils. The Tamil culture was ingeniously expressed in language, literature, music, dance, theatre, folk arts andcostumes during the Tamil Day celebrations of St. John’s College which took place on the dot at 11:30 a.m. on 23.02.2016 in the presence of the renowned poet Arumugam Sadagoban, Customs Superintendent.

The special invitees were ushered to the Peto Memorial Hall. The President garlanded the Chief Guest and the Secretary gave a bouquet to Mrs. Sadagoban.The function began with the lighting of the Traditional Oil Lamp by the Chief Guest, his wife, Principal, Vice Patron of the Tamil Union, Mr.S.Senthuran, President, Mas. A.Ravivarman and Secretary, Mas. N.Stephaan.

A song in praise of the Tamil Language (‘Vaalha Niranthiram, Vaalha Tamil Moli’) was sung by students of the Middle School. It must be mentioned at this juncture that in 2004, Tamil, a language spoken by more than 66 million people, was declared a classical language of India, because it met three criteria: its origins are ancient; it has an independent tradition; and it possesses a considerable body of ancient literature (facts were obtained from Encyclopedia Britannica).

Next was a Tamil Day song ‘Vaalha Tamil Thinam’ by the students in the Junior Secondary School. Distinct and fixed pitches and patterns using sound and silence and a variety of forms made the song pleasing to the ears.

Next, the President of the Union delivered his Welcome Speech. He welcomed everyone to the Diamond Jubilee.

Next was ‘Eyalum Isaiyum’ (Poetry and Music).
A group of students recited a poem about the significance of Tamil and about how poetry was an efficient literary tool that could effectively convey the beauty and importance of the language. Another group of students disagreed with this view. They put forward their ideas in the form of a song to the accompaniment of musical instruments – Violin, Miruthangam (a classical eastern drum), Harmonium and Flute. They were of the view that songs and music were more effectual. In the end, both groups come to a compromise. Both sides amicably agreed that none was better than the other – both were keyliterary tools of Tamil that keep the langauge alive and add lustre to it.

The Gold Medal Speech by the student who had obtained Second Place in the Tamil Day Oratory Competition followed. In his speech, he said:

  • Only change doesn’t change. A child born today, doesn’t stay that way forever - it grows, becomes old and dies.
  • All the philosophers of the world agree that no one can stop changes taking place.
  • Bharati said that there is a race called Tamil and Tamils have distinctive features that sets them apart from the rest of the world.
  • A society should stick to its traditional ways and preserve their identity.
  • The changes that we see in the Tamil society today are not favourable.
  • The Honourable President,Maithripala Sirisena that the youth of the North are in danger of becoming slaves to narcotics which could result in more damages to the Tamil Society than the war itself.
  • Traditional dresses are losing their importance. People seldom wear sari or vetti now. People are been influenced by the West – our culture is now being buried little by little.
  • Child labour, child abuse (both physical and psychological), drugs, alcoholism, cigarettes etc are on the rise.
  • There is now a lot of abuse against women. Love has turned to lust. Affairs are on the rise.
  • It is sad that Tamils themselves are the reasons why the Tamil identity is now being lost.
  • A country should have a strong manufacturing sector and be self sufficient – should have one’s own trade and commerce to safeguard one’s culture and to be independent. But, we expect the government to provide us employment and salary; we also depend heavily on relatives living abroad to send us our bread and butter. Because of this, we are losing our identity.
  • Good changes build and develop. Bad changes destroy. We should change for the better. We should change to preserve our culture.

Next was a Solo by M.Mithulan. He sang a song sung by Kavimamani Veeramani Aiyar in the Ranjani Raaga. The song was appreciated by all present.

The Vice Patron’s Speech was next. He expressed his happiness at being able to head the activities of the Tamil Union during its 60th year.

Next he introduced the Chief Guest. The Chief Guest had studied at St. John’s College from 1978 to 1988; he had been the President of the Tamil Unon in 1987. He had been living in the school hostel for six years – his love for poetry and composition began here. He has published many books to date.

He spoke about the value and significance of Tamil. He talked extensively about the reasons why Tamils were losing their identity. His speech was filled with zest. He spoke quite passionately and with a great deal of eloquence. The ovation he received spoke volumes of how moving his speech had been.

Before stepping down from the lecturn, he thanked all the teachers and committee members for all the help rendered.

Next was the Folk Dance. At the beginning was an audio recording about how Tamil was in the past. It also spoke about how Tamils were in the past. A war that broke out long ago is said to have greatly affected the Tamil culture.

After the audio recording, the students started to dance. The teacher in charge, Mr.Vakeesan too joined in. The dance depicted war. People were maimed and killed. Towards the end, an oil lamp was lowered from above signifying a new era of peace and prosperity. The light shone in darkness and dispelled everything negative.
After the Folk Dance, 437 certificates were distributed by Mrs. Sadagoban to the Prize Winners. In the days and weeks leading to the Tamil Day, the students had taken part in 18 different kinds of competitions from Tamil Verse Writing to Tamil Inter-Class Drama competitons. And now it was payoff time.
Naattaar Padal followed. The poem was sung to the accompaniment of music. Zeruba and Rishivarman sang while four students played the Miruthangam (a classical eastern drum), Flute, ‘Udukkai’ (a small eastern drum) and the Harmonium.

The Chief Guest was honoured next. After the Principal presented him with a memento and draped him in ‘Pon Adai,’ he was invited to give a speech.

The Chief Guest, in his address, said:

  • He was very happy to see that St. John’s continues to do yeoman service.
  • He was very happy to participate in the Tamil Day of St. John’s College after 29 years.
  • He was proud to be an old boy of this institution.
  • All the programmes were presented beautifully.
  • Lighting and sound effects were very good.
  • Gold medal speech was very relevant to the society today. The way the orator talked about the changes was praiseworthy.
  • In the same way the Tamils overcame the war depicted in the Folk Dance, St. John’s too has overcome many setbacks and challenges in the past. St. John’s is never impeded. It rises up again and again.
  • He didn’t know how to praise those who took part in the Folk Dance. Said he was at a loss for words.
  • Naataar Padal made him happy. Was very much impressed by how the performers made use of facial expressions to convey the theme.
  • In all, the programmes were excellent.
  • International Mother Language Day (IMLD) is a worldwide annual observance held today and yesterday. He was happy to be at St. John’s taking part in Tamil Day on this day.
  • Met his wife for the first time on the very same stage he was standing on when she came with her Debate team.
  • Talked about the identity of Tamils and the significance of Tamil.
  • Spoke a few words about SP Jeevanantham. He had said that if a student comes to school and goes the same way, he had not learnt anything. Such a child would have been better off if he had stayed at home.

The Vote of Thanks by the Secretary brought the function to an end.



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