This year marks the 20th anniversary of Tamilar Thirunal or Tamils’ Festival celebration in Ipoh. Though the festival was started in the early fifties it did not survive for long. During 1997 a group of interested people in Ipoh decided to revive the festival. The celebration in Ipoh is considered as the Mother Festival in the country because it sticks to the original concept of why it was started.
Tamilar Thirunal is celebrated in conjunction with Tamil New Year and was recently celebrated at Kinta Indian Association and some five hundred people attended the function. Though the New Year falls in mid-January, the function is celebrated at end-April to commemorate the birthday of the late K. Sarangapany, the founder of the festival.
M. Mathialagan, President, Thamilar Thirunal Committee Perak, said that the festival is celebrated to unite all Tamils regardless of their religion, caste and political background. It is to promote the Tamil language and culture. He lamented that Tamil parents are giving fanciful names to their children and their identity is being lost. The Tamils are encouraged to wear traditional dresses when attending cultural programmes. The audience consisted of Hindus, Christians, Muslims and atheists.
The event started with the traditional way of welcoming guests with nathaswaram music which is always played during auspicious functions, followed by barathanatyam, Tamil classical dance. There was a display of Tamil folk dances which are seldom performed on stage.
Four outstanding members of the community who excelled in their respective fields were honoured. Poet Mythi Sultan received Sa. Si Su. Kurinji Kumanar Award for Literature, Datuk V. Nadarajan received K. Sarangapani Award for works on Tamils’ History, K. Seven Munusamy received Tun V. T. Sambanthan Award for Social Service and Miss T. Muralitharan for sports. Except for Miss Murlitharan, the other recipients were mature citizens.
Datuk V. Nadarajan, Chairman of Bujang Valley Study Circle gave a talk on Bujang Valley in Kedah which is known as Kadaram in Tamil. He explained the role played by the Chola Kings in the development of the place.
The highlight of the function was a literary talk given by Mathalai Somu, a Tamil scholar from Australia. He spoke of the scientific facts found in the Sangam Poems which were written about two thousand years ago. The Tamils knew that the earth was spherical about two thousand years ago.
Winners of the competitions held for primary and secondary school students were awarded certificates and cash.