Labour MP Vanushi Walters being accorded traditional welcome by Muthtamil Sangam President Sadasivam Kutty and Committee Member Sheba Soundararajan
The fact that there is ample talent among the members of the community and that such talent will shine if properly honed and encouraged was once again proved at an event last weekend.
More than 25 children, young men and women joined their older counterparts to present a series of cultural and literary items, making the ‘Kodai Vizha’ (Summer Festival) of Muthtamil Sangam of Auckland a resplendent affair.
It was a fitting tribute to the Sangam which is set to commemorate its 20th Anniversary on April 17, 2021. ‘Kodai Vizha’ was in fact the first of its type for the Association after the Covid-19 lockdown levels imposed by the authorities from time to time since March this year.
More than 400 men, women and children were present at the four plus hours event at which Vanushi Sitanjali Walters, elected from Upper Harbour in Auckland at the general election held on October 17, 2020. She was accompanied by her mother Prithiva Rajanayagam.
Ambika Krishnamoorthy presented ‘Kumara Kauthuvam,’ extolling Lord Murugan, ‘The Tamil God.’
Covid-19 free 20 environment
Earlier, Ms Walters was accorded a traditional welcome with garland and Arathi by Muthtamil Sangam Committee Member Sheba Soundararajan and welcomed by President Sadasivam Kutty and his wife Kumudam.
Ms Walters said that she was delighted to participate at the ‘Kodai Vizha’ of Muthtamil Sangam, her first public engagement in Auckland as a Member of Parliament.
“Occasions such as the ‘Kodai Vizha’ make us proud as a multicultural nation, encouraging and protecting our unique cultures and traditions. While Covid-19 has had its adverse impact on most countries of the world, we are fortunate to have had the able government of Jacinda Ardern. Much of Europe is going into further, extended lockdown, whereas we are able to celebrate Diwali and other festivals. I am eagerly looking forward to serving our people and our communities as a Member of Parliament,” she said.
‘Soppanasundari,’ a vivacious dance number by Usha Raman, Sunder Raman, Ganesh Vasudevan and Albert Reuben
About Vanushi Sitanjali Walters
Born in Sri Lanka, Vanushi Sitanjali Walters (nee Rajanayagam) is the great granddaughter of Ratnasothy Saravanamuttu, a Member of the State Council of Ceylon and the first native Mayor of Colombo and Naysum Saravanamuttu, Ceylon’s second female MP. She migrated to New Zealand with her parents Jana and Prithiva Rajanayagam when she was only five years old.
Ms Walters holds a bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Auckland and a master’s in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford. She has worked as a Human Rights Lawyer in private practice, public sector and not-for-profit organisations and was a Member on the International Board of Amnesty International.
Three generations of her family have lived in West Auckland, while her husband Rhys Walters, also a lawyer, was born and raised in North Shore. They live in Titirangi, West Auckland with their three sons.
Joshita Subramani on the Violin
Music, dance, drama and comedy were among the features of the variety entertainment programme that marked the highlights of the ‘Kodai Vizha.’
The entertainment programme began with a performance by Ambika Krishnamoorthy, a disciple of Renuka Ketheesan, Director and Principal of Sai Natyakala Dance Academy. Ambika presented
‘Kauthuvam’ forms an integral part of Bharata Natyam Arangetrams in recent years, performed earlier within the hallowed precincts of temples.
In praise of Lord Vishnu- Bharata Natyam performance by the students of Anuradha School of Indian Dances, Anjali Biju, Nikhila Sethu, Hiral Pusarla, Salomia Joby, Pooja Jinu and Bharathi Manikandan
Rithicka, aged three, presented Tamil rhymes, followed by the rendition of ‘Soppanasundari,’ a vivacious dance number from Tamil film, ‘Veera Shivaji,’ picturised on Vikram Prabhu and Kaavya Shah and tuned by D Imman.
Another highlight of the evening was a Bharata Natyam performance by the students of Anuradha School of Indian Dances. Anjali Biju, Nikhila Sethu, Hiral Pusarla, Salomia Joby, Pooja Jinu and Bharathi Manikandan presented the dance item, an Annamacharya Kirtanam in praise of Lord Vishnu, Protector of the Universe.
There were silent prayers for the recovery of ten-year old Nidhi Varma as she danced with four other dancers in a number that incorporated the Punjabi Bhangra and Hip-Hop styles. Choreographed and performed by ‘Kiwi Narthakis,’ the dancers included Anjali Biju and Nikhila Sethu, Advika Tipparaju, Gauri Rajesh, Akshaya Kiran and Aishwarya Siju.
Bhangra and Hip-Hop by ‘Kiwi Narthakis,’ Anjali Biju, Nikhila Sethu, Advika Tipparaju, Gauri Rajesh, Akshaya Kiran and Aishwarya Siju and Nidhi Varma
An IT professional with a postgraduate (Masters) degree in Engineering from the AUT University in Auckland, Raisa conducts regular classes in modern forms of dances.
Ravi Muthumanickam and Yugendran Vasudevan presented popular songs from Tamil films rendered by the recently deceased S P Balasubrahmanyam, affectionately known as SPB.
Ravi Muthumanickam rendered popular SPB songs
About Muthtamil Sangam
Auckland’s Muthtamil Sangam office-bearers and members continued to be active on the social platform and exchange a number of educative and entertainment information during the Covid-19 lockdown levels. Proud of their heritage and language, they have fostered a new sense and spirit of unity during the difficult period.
The Sangam was formed at a time when the Tamil population was on the threshold of demographic change, with a larger number of people of Tamil Nadu origin originating from their home state and other parts of the world, Tamilians from South East Asia, Indian ocean States and others. Their lack of interest in any kind of politics then, allowed the Sangam to grow and as the only organisation representing Tamils (other than those from Sri Lanka, for whom there is another, older Association exists in the City), Muthtamil Sangam enjoyed exclusive membership until about five years ago.
The Sangam has had the benefit of the leadership of a cross-section of the community, who have served – and continue to serve- in various offices.
President Sadasivam Kutty said that since its inception, Muthtamil Sangam has been striving to preserve, protect and promote Tamil language, culture and people, with ‘Being happy together’ as the motto.
“These include Pongal Vizha, Kodai Vizha, Chithirai Vizha, other festivals, picnics, competitions, and participation in the programmes organised by others. As a socially responsible organisation, the Sangam conducts blood donation camps every year, and participates in Environmental cleaning activities organised by the Auckland Regional Parks and Reserves,” he said.
Weekly Tamil classes
General Secretary Kathiravan Sam said that the Association considers it a ‘sacred duty’ to carry the language to the next generation.
“As a part of our efforts in this connection, we conduct weekly Tamil classes for children. We are grateful to our senior member Senthil Nathan for conducting these classes with the help and support of teachers who teach the language on a voluntary, community service basis,” he said.
Mr Sam said that classes are held on Saturdays from 230 pm and 330 pm at Ranfurly Road, Epsom, Auckland (not during the Covid-19 lockdown period) and that Mr Nathan has established the ‘Padi Murai Tamil,’ or step-by-step learning method.
The Sangam launched its radio service (soon after its establishment) broadcasting on Planet FM 104.6 on Saturdays from 750 am to 825 am.
Called, ‘Sangam,’ the Programme is being managed by Maninilavan Arivukkarasu (who has held various positions in the Association including that of President) and presented by Raja Mani.
“Our Radio programme is presented by volunteers. This is a weekly occasion to listen to ‘Thirukkural,’ the most extensive and most widely translated couplets. Written by Thiruvalluvar more than 1700 years ago, the 1330 couplets cover every aspect of every living being, nature, and the ways and means of maintaining a healthy environment. The Radio Programme is also used to carry announcements, forthcoming events of Muthtamil Sangam,” he said.
People anywhere in the world can listen to the programme online current programme and up to three earlier broadcasts.
Please visit www.planetaudio.org.nz/muthtamilsangam.
Planet FM MobileApp can also be downloaded on to mobile and other devices. It is free.
Pictures supplied by Muthtamil Sangam
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