Sangamam' is a festival that celebrates India's unity in diversity and such events are aimed at boosting the existing cultural ties between different parts of the country under the Centre's 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' initiative.
He was speaking after attending the sangamam (confluence) that seeks to reconnect Tamil- speaking migrants from Saurashtra with their roots and foster participation in cultural exchange between the region in Gujarat and the southern state. The two-week long event was inaugurated on Monday at Somnath in Gujarat's Somnath district.
On the second day of the programme, Puri along with Gujarat Health Minister Rushikesh Patel, Forest Minister Mulubhai Bera and Finance Minister Kanubhai Desai interacted with guests from Tamil Nadu who trace their roots to the Saurashtra region of the western state.
Addressing members of the Saurashtra Tamil community, Puri said such events where people from different regions come together and exchange their thoughts, literature, culture and cuisine are important to strengthen "national unity".
"Such events will help us in realising the dream of 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' (One India, great India). Prime Minister Narendra Modi is strengthening national unity as well as relationship between different states by organising events like Kashi Tamil Sangamam and Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam," said the Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs.
Giving his own example, Puri said though he is a Sikh, his wife is a Maharashtrian while their daughter has been married in a Tamil family.
During his interaction, the former diplomat remembered the contribution of different Tamil personalities and said roots of democracy and local governance can be found in the culture of the southern state.
On the occasion, state minister Rushikesh Patel said despite having different languages and geographical distance between states, "our devotion towards Gods and Sanatan culture is one and same".
To strengthen this sense of unity and to give a message that entire India is one, Rushikesh Patel urged the Tamil community to take Gujarat's water and clay to their state and send the same to the western state.
He hinted at expanding the scope of such programmes in the future.
During the interaction, invited guests from Tamil Nadu talked about different subjects, ranging from cultural similarities between Saurashtra and Tamil Nadu to learning each other's languages.
Following attacks by invaders on the Somnath Temple in Gujarat, many natives of the Saurashtra region left their homes nearly a thousand years back and settled in Tamil Nadu.
The sangamam, being held from April 17 to 30, is an attempt to highlight old ties and cultural links between Gujarat and Tamil Nadu due to the presence of a large Saurashtra Tamil community in the southern state, said a government release.
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