The TN Government is conducting a five day conference in Coimbatore on the occasion of Tamizh being conferred the "classical" (chemmozhi) status by the Central Government. Tamizh, no doubt, is a great language and as a Tamizhan I can't stress it more. I am no Tamizh Scholar but I can read, write and speak Tamizh, which itself is considered a significant achievement these days!! If you can read and write your mother tongue, it is a great thing!!!
But the saddest thing which has befallen on the language is the fact that a good portion of the current young generation hasn't learnt the language over the last 20 years or so. Particularly in the urban areas, many have switched to Hindi/Sanskrit/French as their second language instead of Tamizh. I would be the happiest person if this conference can awaken the spirits of my fellow Tamilians to learn this language and the Government takes some effort in promoting Tamizh as a medium of education. It is a long way to go to achieve that since most of the recent developments in all the fields like medicine, engineering, business or commerce has not been made available in Tamizh. Conscious and concerted efforts needs to be made to bring these developments into Tamizh to enable the language to survive in the years ahead.
Even for youngsters who have opted for other languages in School, parents should make it a point to teach them to read and write Tamizh. They should be encouraged to read Tamizh magazines and story books to improve their reading ability. I think the complete discontinuance of the habit of writing letters is one of the main reasons for me not writing in Tamizh. With the internet taking over communication and Tamizh being largely absent in the initial days, I have completely stopped writing in Tamizh. But I still think in Tamizh.. that can't be changed. But not sure in which language my son would think as he is among the one who has opted for Hindi!!
One of the suggestions made by Suba.Veerapandian, while speaking at the Tamizh Chemmozhi Conference was that Tamilians should sign in their mother tongue. I found it interesting to do it and willing to change my signature to Tamizh. But it would help in developing the language, I guess not. It is more of a symbolic gesture rather than anything else.
The CM is expected to make grand announcements at the conference on Sunday and lets see how it is going to help Tamizh grow and prosper. From my part, I have decided to do the following to keep myself close with Tamizh:
1. Read important works in Tamizh like Thirukurral and understand the meaning
2. Once in a while write a post in Tamizh on my blog
3. Make sure that my son learns to read and write Tamizh
4. Speak in Tamizh with fellow Tamzhilans (which is the most difficult part, I guess!!)