Tamil Nadu Foundation Celebrates Golden Jubilee

Tamil Nadu Foundation (TNF), established in 1974 in Baltimore, stands as the oldest and largest U.S.-based humanitarian organization dedicated solely to Tamil Nadu. Over the last 50 years, TNF has evolved as a social organization impacting the lives of less privileged children and families through Education, Women Empowerment, Rural Development and Health & Hygiene.

Over the past five decades, TNF Life Members, TNF Chapters, and TNF Convention donors have collectively supported over 700 projects, positively impacting more than 500,000 underprivileged individuals across Tamil Nadu. This includes providing aid to over 200,000 students in government schools through TNF’s flagship ABC education initiative, assisting over 60,000 victims of the 2015 floods, aiding more than 20,000 victims of Cyclone Gaja in 2018, and donating over 1 million USD during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic.

To commemorate TNF’s Golden Jubilee, a significant milestone, we are delighted to announce our celebratory event scheduled from May 24 to 26 in Rosemont, IL (Chicago), marking fifty years of our Foundation’s impactful journey.

TNF lifetime members and the Tamil diaspora are eager to celebrate their accomplishments, reflecting on our journey from a small group of visionaries to impacting over 250,000 children and families across 650 villages in Tamil Nadu. The event promises a rich blend of music, dance, and informative sessions, providing an opportunity to engage with our Youth Force, the future bearers of our mission, and to minimize administrative costs through event profits, ensuring that 100% of donor dollars directly benefit the beneficiaries in Tamil Nadu.

Event Highlights:

  • Grand Music Concert: Featuring the legendary “Isai Gnyani Illayaraja.”
  • Therukoothu: By Sangagiri Rajkumar with 260 participants (Attempting to make Guinness record).
  • “EGAI” Tamil Symphony: A spectacular musical event by Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran featuring over a hundred artists.
  • Fusion Dance Performance: Showcasing 150 local talents.
  • Tamil Isai – Featuring traditional Tamil musical instruments.
  • The Renowned YouTube – Village Cooking Channel Team.
  • Emerge 2024: An all-day Entrepreneurs Event sponsored by TNF and ATEA.
  • Youth Conference: Organized by young adults.
  • College Alumni Gathering: Expecting participation from over 25 colleges.
  • Districts Parade: Representing 38 districts from Tamil Nadu.
  • Other high-quality programs from TNF Chapters and local organizations.

Guests from various parts of North America and at least 50 other countries will converge to witness this mega event. Visit www.tnfusa.org for more details.

Tamil Actor Vijay Launches Political Party

With the launch of his political party Tamizhaga Vetri Kazhagam earlier this week, ‘Thalapathy’ Vijay has joined the long list of Tamil actors joining politics. In a letter, he said that the party would contest the 2026 Tamil Nadu State Assembly elections.

Vijay’s entry into active politics was announced with the clarification that his target is the 2026 state election. He said that he wouldn’t be participating in the upcoming national election in any way. Given how often his characters win on screen, it wasn’t entirely a surprise his political party will be called ‘Tamilaka Vetri Kazhagam’ (TVK), which roughly translates to Tamil Nadu Victory Association.

Fans of ‘Thalapathy (General)’, as Vijay is known to them, celebrated in the streets and on social media. The ruling DMK and the opposition BJP conveyed their best wishes to the actor on his new career path.

A bumpy road for stars

  • Tamil Nadu has a long history of cinema stars in politics. MGR, K Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa ruled state politics for about 50 years.
  • However, several stars tried their hands in recent times but not with great success.
  • Kamal Haasan started the Makkal Needhi Maiam. Rajinikanth formed the Rajini Makkal Mandram in the previous decade.
  • While Kamal Haasan is still politically active, Rajinikanth abandoned politics due to health issues.
  • Vijayakanth, who passed away in December, formed the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) in 2005, became MLA twice and served as LoP during 2011-16 but power eluded him.
  • Tamil Nadu CM Stalin’s son Udaynidhi has starred in films and is a sports minister who isn’t averse to raking up controversy. He’s also the heir apparentin the DMK.

Can Vijay be the disrupter?

  • Vijay, currently doing a film titled ‘GOAT’ and will do one more before he retiresfrom films for a full-time role in politics, enters politics when the AIADMK seems divided, the BJP is trying to make inroads and the DMK is attempting to cement its hold.
  • The question is whether he gets a starring role or will have to settle for a guest role.
  • The actor said administrative malpractices, corrupt political culture and a divisive political culture were obstacles to the state’s unity and progress.

A statement issued by the new political party stated: “You are all aware of the current political climate. Administrative malpractices and corrupt political culture on the one hand, and a divisive political culture which strives to divide our people on the lines of caste and religion on the other hand. Everyone, especially, in Tamil Nadu is yearning for a fundamental political change that can lead to a selfless, transparent, caste-free, visionary, corruption-free and efficient administration.”

Tamil Actor Vijay Launches Political Party (MInt)
Picture: Mint

Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar, known as Vijay, is an Indian actor, dancer, playback singer and philanthropist who works predominantly in Tamil cinema and also appeared in other Indian languages films. Referred to by fans and media as “Thalapathy” (commander), Vijay is the highest paid actor in Tamil cinema. He has significant fan following globally. He has won numerous awards, including eight Vijay Awards by Star India, three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards by Government of Tamil Nadu, and a SIIMA Award. He has been included several times in the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list, based on the earnings of Indian celebrities.

Vijay said, “As far as I am concerned, politics is not just another profession; it is a sacred service to the people… I wish to fully immerse myself in politics for public service after completing my commitments to another film I have already committed to, without causing any disruption to party activities. This is what I consider my gratitude and duty to the people of Tamil Nadu.”

Madras High Court Orders Signage Restricting Non-Hindus in Temples to Uphold Hindu Rights

The Madras High Court has issued a directive to the Tamil Nadu HR&CE department, instructing them to place signage in all Hindu temples, clearly stating that non-Hindus are restricted beyond the ‘Kodimaram’ area within the premises. Justice S Srimathy of the Madurai Bench emphasized the fundamental right of Hindus to practice and profess their religion. This ruling came in response to a petition from D Senthilkumar, seeking exclusive access for Hindus to the Arulmigu Palani Dhandayuthapani Swamy temple and its sub-temples, along with the installation of display boards to enforce this regulation at all entrances.

The notable Palani Murugan temple, situated in Dindigul district, was specifically mentioned in this context.

The respondents in the case included the Tamil Nadu government, represented by the Principal Secretary of the Department of Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowments, The Commissioner of the HR&CE Department, and the Executive Officer of the Palani temple. The HR&CE department oversees the administration of Hindu temples across Tamil Nadu.

In response to the petition, the court ordered the installation of boards stating “non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple after Kodimaram” at the temple entrances, near the flagpole, and at prominent locations within the shrine. The court also mandated that non-Hindus seeking access to specific deities within the temple must provide an undertaking affirming their faith in the deity and willingness to adhere to Hindu customs and practices. Entries for such visits would be maintained in a register by the temple authorities.

Furthermore, the court stressed the importance of maintaining temple premises in accordance with temple rules, customs, and practices outlined in the agamas.

Although the respondents suggested confining the order to the Palani temple alone, the court dismissed this plea, asserting that the issue raised was of broader significance. The court highlighted that these restrictions aim to promote communal harmony among different religions and maintain peace in society. Therefore, the court directed the State Government, HR&CE department, and all involved in temple administration to adhere to these directives in all Hindu temples.

The court reiterated the fundamental rights of Hindus to practice and profess their faith, emphasizing that while individuals of other religions also have these rights, they should not interfere with Hindu customs and practices. Temples are not intended as tourist or picnic spots, and must be respected accordingly.

The court referenced specific incidents of non-Hindus allegedly misusing temple premises, such as consuming non-vegetarian food within temple grounds or attempting to conduct prayers with their sacred texts near sanctums. Such incidents, the court asserted, infringe upon the fundamental rights of Hindus as guaranteed by the Constitution.

Consequently, the court held that it is the duty of the HR&CE department to safeguard temples from such unwanted occurrences and ensure the protection of Hindu fundamental rights. Failure to do so, as evidenced by past incidents, is a neglect of constitutional duty.

The Madras High Court’s ruling underscores the importance of respecting Hindu customs and practices within temple premises, ensuring the fundamental rights of Hindus are upheld, and maintaining the sanctity of these religious spaces.