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Silamboli Chellappan & Maathalai Somu at Point Cook
On 13th October, renowned Tamil Scholar Silamboli Chellappan visited Melbourne and spoke about life as shown by Thirukkural at Point Cook. The event was attended by close to 50 people. Silamboli Chellappan is one of the foremost orators in Tamil, on Tamil Literature. He has written commentaries for over 1000 books. He has received many awards including Tamil Nadu Governments Kalaimaamani Award, Paavendar Award, Raajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar Award, Kamban Kalagam’s Tamil Saandror Award. He received the moniker “Silamboli” from Sethu Pilliai in 1954 due to his immense knowledge of Silapadikaram.
Chellapanar cited many examples from Thirukkural which speak about the lives of Tamil people during those times and how they are still relevant. After the discourse, the floor was opened to questions and to say the least the Q & A session was equally entertaining. When asked about the difference between the Tamil Spoken in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, Chellapanar opined that in terms of the letters used there is no difference, however there is a significant difference in the accent and usage of some words. This is similar in nature to the difference one can note between the various regions of Tamil Nadu e.g. Kovai Tamil, Nellai Tamil, Madurai Tamil and God forbid Chennai Tamil.
Shankar asking a thought provoking question
Shankar, whose son Venkatesh goes to the Tamil Classes asked a question which struck a chord amongst everyone in the audience. Fourth generation Chinese people in Australia seem to talk to each other in Chinese and use English only when speaking to people Outsidetheir community. But second generation Tamilians are speaking all other languages other than Tamil. We are on the verge of losing our culture and language behind. How do we overcome this? Chellapanar said “it is the parents who are to blame. Where there is a will there is a way, parents should make it a point to talk to their children in Tamil atleast at home. One must respond to kids only when they talk in Tamil. Talk to them about the rich culture and unique heritage that the Tamil people possess. Once children understand that their mother tongue is Tamil and that is what is the medium instruction in house they will pick it up”.
Chellapanar also spoke about the constant use of examples from North Indian literature rather than examples from Tamil Literature. For instance Ramba and Menaka immediately come to mind when we think of a woman with beauty abound, no one talks about Kolli Paavai, described in Tamil Literature as one of the most beautiful woman on Earth.
Maathalai Somu, a poet and writer based in Sydney suggested if possible school you children in India for a year or two. He also shared his insight into the word“அம்மா”.He said the word “Amma”, is a special world in which the letter“அ”isஉயிரெழுத்து, the letter “ம்” isமெய்யெழுத்துand the letter “மா” is உயிர்மெய்யெழுத்து. He also revealed that Tamil is probably the only language where you say “அ” means “அம்மா”,as opposed to saying A for Apple in English.
Silamboli Chellappan & Maathalai Somu with Tamil School Students & Teachers
Earlier in the day Chellapanar, who had recently celebrated his 85th birthday, visited the Tamil School facilitated by Tamilar Inc conducted in Galvin Park Secondary College Werribee. Chellapanar interacted with the students and teachers and gave them valuable suggestions to make the learning fun and interactive. He also patiently observed the students recite a few poems. Chellappanar praised the teachers and the volunteers of Tamilar Inc, for the yeoman service they are rendering to the Tamil Community in Melbourne.