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‘Tamil language is eternal, Tamil culture is global’ – Modi speaks in Chennai

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Tamil culture and language in a speech delivered in Chennai today, as he also spoke on how his government was assisting Sri Lanka.

"It is always special to come to the state of Tamil Nadu,” he began his address at the Nehru stadium in Chennai. “The land is a special one. The people, culture, language are all so good."

“Tamil language is eternal, Tamil culture is global,” Modi added. “From Chennai to Canada, from Madurai to Malaysia, from Namakkal to New York & from Salem to South Africa, the occasions of Pongal and Puthandu are marked with great fervour… We have gathered here to celebrate yet another glorious sector of Tamil Nadu's development journey.”

"The government is committed to popularising the Tamil language and culture,” he continued. “The Tamil studies department at Banaras Hindu University, in my constituency, is more special to me. NEP gives special importance to promoting Indian languages."

His remarks came as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin praised what he termed the “Dravidian model” shortly before Modi spoke.

“Honourable PM, Tamil Nadu is a leading state in terms of economic growth, rural health facilities and educational institutions,” said Stalin. “Our state is a pioneer not only in economic and other related factors, but also in social justice, equality and women's employment.”

“Tamil Nadu is a state for inclusive growth. This is what we call the Dravidian model. In this Dravidian model of governance, while taking various welfare and developmental measures, I wish to inform you that we have corrected fiscal imbalance and restructured finances of the state.”

The chief minister also called for the Tamil language to be the official language in High Court and Union Government offices, as well as exemption from NEET, the release of pending GST dues and the retrieval of Katchatheevu from Sri Lanka.

"I would request you to allot more funds and projects to our state Tamil Nadu, in the true spirit of co-operative federalism," Stalin added.

Speaking after Stalin, Modi also touched on the situation in Sri Lanka, stating that there were “difficult times” on the island.

“I am sure you are all concerned about it,” he added. “As a close friend and neighbour of Sri Lanka, India is providing financial support, food, medicines and other essential items to the country.”

This was the prime minister’s first visit to Chennai since Stalin’s DMK party came to power. His visit was accompanied by the hashtag #GoBackModi trending on social media.

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