Sep 11 () : The Tamil Sangam of Greater Washington and the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America collaborated to conduct the first International Conference on Purananuru.
More than 300 people from several states of the United States participated in the Conference. The Conference was a collage of programs where children and adults participated with a lot of enthusiasm. When young children recited several poems from Purananuru with perfect articulation and flawless delivery the audience gave them a standing ovation.
Dr. P. Marudanayagam, a well-known Tamil and English scholar delivered the Keynote address in which he mentioned that Purananuru was the inspiration and source for several later day poetry in Tamil as well as in Sanskrit. He mentioned that Purananuru documents the life style of the Tamils of the Sangam period.
Judging from Purananuru, he observed that the Tamil society though not absolutely egalitarian in nature, it was a close approximation to an ideal society. The poet Mr. Arivumathi, Prof. Arivunambi and Prof. Murugarathanam were the other invited speakers at the conference.
Dr. Sornam Sankar presented a summary of Dr. S. Palaniappan’s research paper which rectified the archaic misinterpretation of certain caste references in the Purananuru in the light of Jainism. Dr. Raj Mutharasan presented a research paper based on epigraphical evidences regarding the time period in which Adhiyamaan Nedumaan Anji lived.
Dr. R. Prabhakaran, the Coordinator of the Conference, mentioned in his speech the positive as well as the negative aspects of the Tamil society of the Sangam period and pointed out that the lack of unity among the Tamils of the Sangam period led to the successful invasion of Tamil Nadu by Kalapirars in 3rd century A.D. He mentioned that the Tamil people should learn their lesson from the history and be united under the banner of their language and race.
Honorable Martin O’Malley, the Governor of Maryland proclaimed the week of Sept 1, 2013 as the week of Purananuru in Maryland.
The two volumes of Dr. Prabhakaran’s commentaries on Purananuru were released at the Conference. Also, the English translation of Purananuru by Mrs. Vaiderhi Herbert and the CD by Miss. Bharathi Selvan containing an excellent musical rendition of selected poems from Purananuru were released. In addition, the conference souvenir which included the research articles as well as the three award-winning articles on Purananuru were also released.
Children and adults entertained the audience by singing Purananuru poems. More than 40 people participated in a novel multimedia quiz program developed by Mr. Nanjil Peter and Mr. Kolandavel Ramasamy on Purananuru. The depth of knowledge and the enthusiasm of the men and women in the quiz program were truly amazing.
The cultural program “Muthamizh Muzhakkam” was a collection of Bharatha Natyam dances depicting the glory of Tamil choreographed by Kalaimaamani Krishnakumari Narendran. This program received thunderous applause and standing ovation from the audience. The climax of the Conference was the dance-drama “Sivagaamiyin Sabhadam” choreographed and directed by the famous artist Kalaimaamani Madurai Muralidaran from Tamil Nadu.
The Conference was completely focused on Purananuru and it was a grand success. It was more like a combination of a gala festival and a research oriented seminar on Purananuru. This is yet another milestone in the history of Tamil Sangam of Greater Washington which conducted the first international conference on Thirukkural in 2005 when Dr.Prabakaran was the President. The current President John Benedict and the executive board deserve an appreciation for the success of the Purananuru conference.