SPEECH BY MS JAYANTHI SANKAR, AUTHOR, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE TAMIL DIGITAL HERITAGE PROJECT, ON SATURDAY, 12 OCTOBER 2013, 1030HRS AT THE ASIAN CIVILISATIONS MUSEUM
I am going to share the beliefs I derived from my own experiences. We all know that gadgets like ‘kindle’, used to read e-books, are becoming more popular these days. I feel that the future generations, irrespective of the language are going to prefer reading e-books only. Therefore, this project will be a pioneer in helping Tamil e-books gain popularity. The best part of this project is that there are no selection procedures. Everyone is welcome to contribute and this will help in the individual’s level too.
It is natural that there are hesitations in accepting something totally new. However, the fruits of it would be reaped only after some time. Then it will become natural.
When we embrace the technological changes, not only we but our language will benefit. I have been getting many readers from all around the world since I first started writing in the web media around 2002. I continue to get friends in those readers, co-writers, writer-readers, reader-writers. Back then, I could not comprehend the expected wide usage of the web media like many others could. But, I accepted it without any inhibitions.
Writing comes under art. And art cannot be valued monetarily. That is why, I feel writing is totally different from marketing the writing. Many a times, we fail to understand this and confuse ourselves mixing them both. Not only in Singapore, in Tamil Literary world as a whole, only a small percentage of writers have earned through their writings. Therefore, notions that because of digital version the printed books might not sell, monetary benefits might be reduced are baseless. I say this from my own experience because people like me who do not know how to market their books will naturally have hesitations. However, projects like this are not going worsen the existing situation. This comes from a person who has authored 24 books so far. When my writing reaches many readers, I feel the very purpose of my writing has been achieved.
If one can manage to get the library book order, he or she is fortunate. I haven’t had that fortune for most of my books. And yet, I continue to write because I derive immense self satisfaction. Many might argue saying – it is impossible to continue writing just for self satisfaction or can we buy a loaf of bread with self satisfaction etc but those are meaningless and endless. If my writings can reach a wider readership through such projects, I will be very happy because only through a wider readership my writings and views will reach further with due recognition. And through our creative writings, we can keep the language alive and flourishing to be passed on to generations to come. This digitization project is certainly going to help us in achieving that.
And I think as a gift to our Nation, this project might open many interesting doors. Most importantly, our writings will get a permanence which the print book sometimes fails to. Thank you very much for the opportunity.