Tamil Federation pledges to promote language and heritage

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Two-day conference in Wellington sets new benchmark for unity and action

ANTS leaders Srinivasan, Vai, Raveen and Rajesh at the meeting on January 7, 2022

Venkat Raman
Auckland, January 16, 2022

Promotion of the Tamil language and culture, a better understanding of Teo Maori to foster a closer relationship with the Maori people, a one-day seminar with Maori in their environment in Rotorua later in the year and the unification of Tamil-speaking people in the country is among the priorities of the Aotearoa New Zealand Federation of Tamil Sangams (ANTS).

Citing the above during a two-day meeting of Federation leaders at the Brentwood Hotel in Wellington on January 7-8, 2022, President Raveen Annamalai said that the unification of Tamil-speaking people and the realization of Meaningful integration with Maori was now becoming a possibility with the creation of ANTS.

President and members of the executive committee of ANTS with patron and adviser in Wellington on January 7, 2022

Projects and Membership

“We are a growing community committed to the development and implementation of our projects which are central to the well-being of our community. These projects will serve as a testament to New Zealand’s heritage as a culturally pluralistic and socially cohesive society. Long-serving and assimilated members of the Tamil community, working with migrants and newcomers of Tamil ethnicity, will testify to our mission and vision, he said.

According to him, ANTS will play an influential role as an important stakeholder in participating, contributing and monitoring issues related to legislation and other measures.

“These will include regulations affecting the interests of ethnic communities,” he said.

Peniel Prabhakaran-Elliot from Rotorua, an emerging scholar in Tamil and Maori, spoke at length about the centuries-old relationship between the two languages.

ANTS as a meaningful bridge

“ANTS has the opportunity to be a bridge between indigenous (Maori) and Tamil cultures. We also have the opportunity to understand the Treaty of Waitangi, its importance and relevance to New Zealand’s political, economic and social landscape,” she said.

Peniel said that just as many members of the Tamil diaspora have fought for their rights in various countries, Maori insist that their rights be heard and recognized.

“Everyone should visit a Marae at least once and appreciate the rich Maori culture and people’s passion for preserving their language,” she said.

A separate story about him appears in this section.

Indian High Commissioner Muktesh Pardeshi with Mrs Rakhi Pardeshi and guests of leaders of the Aotearoa New Zealand Federation of Tamil Sangams (ANTS) during dinner in Wellington on January 7, 2022.

About ANTS

ANTS is a national organization with seven full members, including Wellington Mutamizh Sangam, Auckland Tamil Association, Canterbury Indian Tamil Association, Tamil Sangam Waikato, Dunedin Tamil Society, Tamil Association of New Zealand and Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam Wellington. It has four associate members, which are Tamil Tauranga Association, Tamil Blenheim Association, Tamil Taranaki Association, Tamil Rotorua Association.

“Our vision is to encourage member organizations and other like-minded entities to work together on key projects, share experiences and other valuable information with other communities, and become global citizens” , Mr. Annamalai said.

The ANTS Executive Committee includes Raveen Annamalai from Wellington (Chair), Vai Ravindran from Auckland (Vice-Chair), Dr. Rajesh Katare from Dunedin (Secretary) and Srinivasan Jaganathan from Hamilton (Treasurer). The executive committee includes Dr Damo Dharan from Wellington, Vel Murugan from Auckland and Vijay Nainamalai from Christchurch.

Indian High Commissioner Muktesh Pardeshi with (L to R) Rakhi Pardeshi, Deepa Dass, Vanisa Dhiru, Rakhi Pardeshi, Venkat Raman, Rakesh Naidoo and Durga Dass during dinner in Wellington on January 7, 2022

Ray Annamalai, former president of Muthtamil Sangam of Auckland is an adviser, while this journalist is the boss.

The opening day heard expertise from popular legal and financial expert Karuna Muthu, suggestions from councilor Ravin Annamalai, boss Venkat Raman and members of the executive committee.

Speakers at the meeting held the following day (January 8, 2022) included Raveen Annamalai, Vel Murugan (on privacy and data security), Gopi Dinakaran and Dr. Rabindranath.

Later that evening on January 7, 2022, Indian High Commissioner Muktesh Pardeshi and his wife Rakesh Pardeshi congratulated Venkat Raman on his appointment as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth II in its New Year Honors List. The event was attended by Second Secretary (Press, Information and Culture) Durga Dass and his wife Deepa.

ANTS Vice President Vai Ravindran with Prabha Ravi at the dinner reception on January 7, 2022

About the Tamil people

The Tamil people are a Dravidian ethnolinguistic group whose origins can be traced primarily to the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the Union Territory (known as Pondicherry) and Sri Lanka.

Tamils ​​constitute 5.9% of the population in India, 15% in Sri Lanka, 10% in Mauritius, 7% in Malaysia and 5% in Singapore.

From the fourth century BC, urbanization and commercial activity along the western and eastern coasts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala led to the development of four major Tamil empires, the Cheras, Cholas, Pandyas and Pallavas and several smaller States, all in conflict.

The Jaffna Kingdom, inhabited by Sri Lankan Tamils, was once one of the most powerful kingdoms in Sri Lanka and controlled much of the north of the island.

International Relations and Trade

The Tamils ​​were known for their influence on regional trade throughout the Indian Ocean. Artifacts marking the presence of Roman traders show that direct trade was active between Rome and southern India and the Pandyas have been recorded as having sent at least two embassies directly to Emperor Augustus in Rome. The Pandyas and Cholas were historically active in Sri Lanka.

The Chola dynasty successfully invaded several regions of Southeast Asia, including the mighty Srivijaya and the Malay city-state of Kedah.

Medieval Tamil guilds and trade organizations like Ayyavole and Manigramam played an important role in Southeast Asian trade networks. Pallava traders and religious leaders traveled to Southeast Asia and played an important role in the cultural Indianization of the region. Scripts brought by Tamil traders to Southeast Asia, such as Grantha and Pallava scripts, spurred the development of many Southeast Asian scripts such as Khmer, Javanese Kawi script, Baybayin and Thai .

Migration of Tamils

Significant Tamil emigration began in the 18th century, when the British colonial government sent many middle-class and poor Tamils ​​as indentured laborers to remote areas of the Empire, particularly Malaya, Burma, Africa South, Fiji, Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Martinique.

Around the same time, many Tamil businessmen migrated to other parts of the British Empire, especially to Burma and East Africa. Many Tamils ​​still live in these countries, and Tamil communities in Singapore, Reunion, Malaysia, Myanmar and South Africa have retained their original culture, tradition and language.

Many Malaysian children attend Tamil schools and a significant portion of Tamil children are brought up with Tamil as their first language. In Singapore, Mauritius and Reunion, Tamil students learn Tamil as a second language in school. In Singapore, the government made Tamil an official language and introduced compulsory language education for Tamils. Other Tamil communities, such as those in South Africa, Fiji, Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, Gyana, Suriname, Jamaica, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Pakistan, from Martinique and the Caribbean no longer speak Tamil as their first language, but still retain a strong Tamil identity. There is a very small Tamil community in Pakistan, settled since the 1947 partition.

Significant emigration also began in the 1980s as Sri Lankan Tamils ​​sought to escape ethnic conflict. They moved to Australia, New Zealand, Europe, North America and Southeast Asia. Today, the largest concentration of Sri Lankan Tamils ​​outside of Sri Lanka is in Toronto.

Multi-religious dimension

Although Hindus constitute the majority of the population, Tamils ​​believe in religious tolerance and co-existence, and as such forge unity not only at religious and social events of various groups, but also gather observances “non-religious” such as Pongal and Tamil New Year’s Day.

Sashi Harsha Photography Pictures

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