FeTNA Annual Convention – A successful display of Tamil literary and cultural fete

By Suchitra Srinivas 

The 35th annual convention of the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) had its gala event at St. John’s University, Queens, New York during the July 4th weekend. Attended by over 1000 people from across the US and other countries, the event was a treat with literary and cultural events lined up for three days. 

Apart from the programs in the main arena with celebrities, the agenda was bundled with a lot of interesting and informative parallel sessions that kept the attendees shuttling between sessions. The events started in the morning with traditional Nadaswaram recitals. This year’s theme was Thalaimurai Thaandiyum Tamil meaning Tamil for generations. Competitions for children and adults to expose the Tamil talents kept everyone busy at the DeAngelo building. Evenings on both Saturday and Sunday were marked by music programs. Sikkil Gurucharan rendered the concert by exploring classical Carnatic music in Tamil films. The depth of the music kept the audience wide awake at midnight when the concert concluded. 

Writer & transgender drama artist A Revathy’s mono act of Vellai Mozhi, a drama based on Revathy’s own autobiography touched the hearts of all. “For the first-ever time FeTNA has staged a transgender on the stage,” said Caldwell Velnambi, President of FeTNA indicating the welcome change in recognizing skills and talents. 

A three-hour documentary on Abraham Pandithar, the great proponent of Tamil Isai directed by well-known poet and activist Kutty Revathy and produced by Kathija Rehman was also screened partly. 

Indian American mathematician Dr. Srinivasan Varadhan was conferred Tamil American Pioneer Award 2022 in the category of Academia and Research among others. Women Achievers in the Tamil community were also honored with FeTNA awards, among them being Judge Raja Rajeswari, the first South Asian and Indian American woman to become a judge in NY.

MP Thamizhachi Thangapandian and MP Su Ganesan also attended the FetNA Conference and interacted with the Tamil Diaspora through the conference. 

Dr. K Sivaraman, a proponent of the alternate system of medicine, Siddha, said that in his current trip to the US he was able to witness increased consciousness of the food and health aspects adding that even children were able to talk about these concepts and general observation was that people looked a lot more healthy. He added that there were efforts taken to include university research on Siddha medicines. 

Sunday evening was marked by the traditional Tamil Sangam parade, Sangangalin Sangamam. The march depicted the community energy that was at its high. Attendees danced to the tunes of Parai, the traditional drums from Tamil culture as they paraded in the open. The scene was extremely friendly and displayed the spirit of unity. 

The FeTNA convention was sure to have paved the way for building beyond cultural and literary exposure. The participants have built connections that are to blossom into many more initiatives to impact the small world around us soon. The diaspora is looking forward to its 36th convention slated to be held in Sacramento in July 2023.

People assembled for traditional lunch at FeTNA

Inauguration by lighting the traditional lamp by the FeTNA Board Members

Image courtesy of ( Images provided)

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