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Post Hindi row, PM reaches out to South, says Tamil now echoes in US 

Chennai, September 30

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said Tamil is now echoing across America as he extolled its rich antiquity at the convocation ceremony of IIT Madras here, days after praising it as the most ancient language of the world in the United Nations.

The Prime Minister’s praise for Tamil is seen as an attempt to reach out to the people of Tamil Nadu after a row broke out with Home Minister Amit Shah’s pitching for Hindi as a common language, which was condemned as “Hindi imposition,” by parties in the State.

Modi was on his first visit to Tamil Nadu after his address to the UN General Assembly and his party’s big win in the Lok Sabha elections months ago. Addressing a reception here hosted by the BJP, Modi referred to his usage of an ancient Tamil saying in the world forum and he then went on to mention its positive implication in the US.

“…so even today Tamil is echoing in the whole of US,” he said to rounds of applause from BJP supporters. He said it was always a delight for him to be back in the state capital of Tamil Nadu.

“Chennai makkalai santhithil magilchi,” he said in Tamil, which meant “happy to meet the people of Chennai.” Later, addressing the 56th convocation of the IIT Madras, Modi said “We are in the state of Tamil Nadu, which has a special distinction. It is home to the oldest language in the world, Tamil.” Asked about Prime Minister Modi’s back to back praise for Tamil within days, political commentator Sumanth C Raman said: “The PM might be trying to reach out to the people of Tamil Nadu in the wake of the controversy that surrounded the draft New Education Policy.” 

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