President Pratibha Patil presents the 'Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi Classical Tamil Award' to Asko Parpola at the World Classical Tamil Conference in Coimbatore on Wednesday. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi is also seen.
The first World Classical Tamil Conference got off to a rousing start here on Wednesday in the presence of a massive gathering. Distinguished speakers, led by President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, hailed Tamil, which has the oldest literature among the living languages of the world.
Inaugurating the five-day event, the President said that many concepts intrinsic to India's society and critical to its polity were found in Tamil discourse over the millennia. The message of peace, universality and the spirit of equality was propounded in a Sangam poem more than 2000 years ago, she said, referring to a poem in Purananooru.