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Saurashtra-Tamil Sangam

Published: 30th Mar, 2023

Context

Overwhelmed by the ‘success’ of the Kashi-Tamil Sangamam, the Union government is set to hold the Saurashtra-Tamil Sangam in Gujarat which will be followed by the Kedarnath-Tamil Sangamam.

About Saurashtra-Tamil Sangam (STS):

  • The Saurashtra Tamil Sangam aims to rediscover, reaffirm and celebrate the over 1,000-year-old emigration and contribution of Saurashtrian Tamils.
  • It is a program that highlights the oneness of India's culture by narrating untold histories of how a community emigrated to Tamil Nadu and their contributions to the country.
  • The Saurashtra Tamil Sangam will be held at Somnath, Dwarka and other places in Gujarat to connect Tamil Nadu and Saurashtra.
  • It will celebrate the civilisational links between people from the southern part of the country and the People from the Saurastra and Kedarnath in the north.
  • It is a unique attempt where States shared their culture, civilisation and heritage with each other, and the country united in soft power.
  • The STS is the second such programme under the ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ initiative.
    • The firstone was the ‘Kashi Tamil Sangamam’, a month-long event held last year to “rediscover” links between Varanasi and Tamil Nadu. 

Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat 

  • The initiative ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ was announced in 2015.
  • The program aims to actively enhance interaction between people of diverse cultures living in different States and UTs in India, with the objective of promoting greater mutual understanding among them. 
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Education

Background

  • Originally from the Gujarat region, the Saurashtrian community now mostly resides in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.
  • Their migration to the southern parts of the country is believed to be primarily a result of the desecration of the Somnath Temple, their religious centre, by Mahmud Ghazni in 1024.
  • Many Saurashtrians also came to Tamil Nadu in the 17th century as royal silk weaversto the Nayak kings.
  • According to reports, there are about 25 lakh people of Gujarati origin living in Tamil Nadu and over 12 lakhSaurashtrians in the state with a majority of them settled in Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem.

Kedarnath-Tamil Sangamam

  • Kedarnath is one of the four sacred shrines of Shiva among the Char Dham (four shrines).
    • The Char Dham also comprises Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri temples.
  • It is situated on the banks of Mandakini, 3,583 metres above sea level.
  • It is the eleventh out of 12 jyotirlingas (shrines dedicated to Shiva) of India.
  • Tamilians were ardent Shiva worshippers, and every year thousands of people from TN and other southern States, including Karnataka and Kerala visited Kedarnath during the yatra.
  • People from the south also visited the Badrinath shrine in large numbers, to perform Pind Daan and Tarpan (part of the last rites in Hinduism), at the Brahm Kapal temple situated in Badrinath.

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