தமிழ்த் தேசியம்

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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TAMIL DIGITAL RENAISSANCE

Tamil Internet 2000
Directions to the Digital World

[see also http://www.infitt.org/ti2000/tamilinaiyam/index.html ]

 tamil internet logobig.jpg (31158 bytes)
Report on Conference

Nadesan Satyendra

"...As with any journey, one has to start with the first step - usually a small step. In the Tamil diaspora's case, we have taken several long strides in the short time so far. We now have to chart the course for a long journey. However, in true Internet spirit, market forces will decide the fate of this peregrination. The Tamil community is fortunate, as it is resource rich in terms of knowledge, technology, culture and creativity which are critical success factors in the webworld. Perhaps the three elements that will shape Tamil Internet are community, content, and commerce. In a world of simultaneous aggregation and disaggregation, the Tamil community should take advantage of aggregation to leverage its not inconsiderable strength of 65 million members. Daunting as it may sound, the objective of making Tamil a mainstream language on the net is both practical and achievable.." - Mr.Arun Mahizhnan, Co-Chairman of the Singapore Tamil Internet Steering Committee

Tamil Inaiyam 2000 (Tamil Internet 2000) was held at the Suntec Convention Centre, Singapore on 22-24 July 2000. At the official opening of the Conference on 23 July 2000, a moving tribute was paid to the life and work of Naa Govindasamy by Uthuman Ghani, Barrister at Law

Tamil Internet 2000 was divided into three distinct activities - the e-business and the community hubs and the conference. These hubs were designed to reach out to the specific groups of visitors, each offering a unique value proposition. The three-day event attracted almost 35,000 attendees, far exceeding the original target of 20,000. The Singapore Sunday Times reported on 23 July 2000:

"...Although India gave birth to the Tamil Language, it was Singapore that introduced it to the World Wide Web, said Tamil Nadu's Minister for Language and Culture, Mr.Thamizh Kudimagan.... The gathering at which the move was launched here three years ago has grown into the world's largest conference and exhibition on Tamil Internet today. There are now more than 1000 Tamil websites, uniting the 73 million strong community in 39 countries, he said.

Trade and Industry Minister George Yeo, the guest of honour at the event yesterday, said Singapore was in an ideal position to be a multi lingual centre for software development, including Tamil software development. He said: 'To have a significant Tamil presence in cyberspace, we need major investment of time and resources, for which there must be an economic return. In other words we must have e-business as the life blood of Tamil Internet. This should go beyond the use of Tamil for e-mail and the construction of a few websites to adapt the latest e-business components to the different language, business and cultural environment in Tamil' "

Both the DQ week and the Brahmin owned Hindu published advertising supplements to mark Tamil Internet 2000. N.Suresh commented in the DQ Week (Madras 24-30 July 2000) in an article titled 'Tamil storms the Net':

"It is one of the oldest languages in the world. But it has not still growing. Tamil, the ever sweet language has adapted admirably to the modern times. Tamil has embraced the current rage, in a big way... Some recent studies indicate that after English, Tamil has the largest presence on the Internet. The number of Tamil related sites are growing. Two of India's leading portals now have a Tamil version. Tamil lovers have taken to the Net in a big way, not just to chat and share their moments of glory and sorrow, but also spread the language. There are now sites that offer excellent tutorials on how to learn the language.... This special issue of The DQ Week Madras, is an attempt to capture the key happenings in the IT world related to Tamil.... (and in the chronicling) the emergence of Tamil Nadu as India's IT 'Power House' since 1996..."

Mr.Arun Mahizhnan, Co-Chairman of the Singapore Tamil Internet Steering Committee in a message to the Hindu Supplement said:

Arun"...As with any journey, one has to start with the first step - usually a small step. In the Tamil diaspora's case, we have taken several long strides in the short time so far. We now have to chart the course for a long journey. However, in true Internet spirit, market forces will decide the fate of this peregrination. The Tamil community is fortunate, as it is resource rich in terms of knowledge, technology, culture and creativity which are critical success factors in the webworld. Perhaps the three elements that will shape Tamil Internet are community, content, and commerce. In a world of simultaneous aggregation and disaggregation, the Tamil community should take advantage of aggregation to leverage its not inconsiderable strength of 65 million members. Daunting as it may sound, the objective of making Tamil a mainstream language on the net is both practical and achievable.."

The Statement by Mr. Lim Swee Say, Singapore Minister of State for Trade & Industry & Information Technology at the Official Opening of the Conference Hub, on 23 July 2000, encapsulated some of the trends that will help energise the Tamil Internet community in the years to come - and nurture its growing togetherness:

"Tamil Internet 2000 is a direct response to the key trend towards the regionalisation and localisation of content and applications.

The growth of multilingual Internet, contents and applications will help speed up the reach of the Internet to the large non-English speaking population in the world. [Tamil] is one of the oldest languages in history and there are now 65 million Tamil-speaking people worldwide. This TI 2000 Conference can provide a useful platform for us to reach out to them from all over the world, and work in partnership to help overcome the language barrier to the Internet...

What started off as a conference under the name TamilNet97 three years ago has not only grown in size, but also in scope. Under the leadership of the (Singapore) Tamil Internet Steering Committee, the conference has added the business hub and the community hub elements under the TI2000.

With this expanded scope, TI2000 is no longer just a platform for the exchange of ideas. For the first time, an exhibition has been organised to showcase and sell the latest Tamil Internet products. The business hub has created new opportunities for aspiring IT professionals to meet and network with potential employers. To date, we have 250 professionals who have submitted their resumes through the Internet. The Steering Committee has also brought the event closer to the public through the community hub. Members of the public can now marvel at what Tamil Internet has to offer. In short, TI2000 offers something for everyone..."

 
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