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|July 6, 2000
The grand Tamil reunion
Nitish S Rele in Tampa
More than 1,000 people attended the ninth annual Tamil convention in Tampa, Florida, from July 1-3. The event was organised jointly by the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America and the Tamil Nadu Foundation.
Convention attendees came from all over the United States, Canada, England and India.
"I was told that it was one of the best conventions," said its Tampa-based Convention Executive Committee President G Rajasekaran.
"Everyone said the arrangements were superb and they all had a great time for three days."
Among the highlights was a Continuing Medical Education programme held at the Hyatt Regency Westshore in Tampa. Speakers came from England and John Hopkins University. A big attraction was novelist D Jayakanthan, a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award.
Born in Tamil Nadu in 1934, his formal education ended in fifth grade, but he continued with self-education. He has produced 200 short stories, 35 novellas, 15 novels and 550 essays in Tamil within half-a-century. Some of his works have been translated into English, Ukrainian, Hindu, Telugu and other languages.
In his speech, Jayakanthan urged people to always keep their dreams alive because "dreams come true".
"Jayakanthan looks at the world from a different angle," said Rajasekaran. "All his stories are not what you expect... He writes the language of the common man. He is down-to-earth and brings real people and their lives alive on paper."
The Lifetime Achievement Award was earned by actress Padmini, who is known all over the world for not only acting in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi films, but also for her dancing. Padmini, who now lives in New York, thanked everyone for the honour bestowed upon her.
Also giving speeches were the famous Tamil poet Abdul Rehman and orator Suki Sivam, who dwelt on spiritualism in a talk.
Dalit party Puthiya Tamizhagam president Dr S Krishnaswamy, MLA, put the spotlight on the struggle of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. He pleaded with the Indian government to help the Tamils in that country.
Former Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President Kumarinandan, a literary scholar, spoke on the same lines.
Film actor Damu performed a mimicry act, including the different sounds heard during the Kargil War.
Child prodigy Aathirai began her show by welcoming all the guests from the US by reciting the names of all the 50 states in alphabetical order. Her father Kannappan accompanied the 14-year-old, who has been a lecturer in Tamil Nadu.
Musician Harini, a Tamil Nadu Best Singer Award winner, provided the entertainment. Some folk dances from that state were also presented.
Booths offering Tamil paraphernalia such as CD-ROMs, videotapes, audiotapes, religious idols, etc were everywhere and Revathi Iyer of Pennsylvania prepared the traditional food.
There were also classes held on 'Internet for Housewives' and 'Internet Investment'.
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