Tamil poem balloon project launched

A scheme to build a new hot air balloon that features all 1,330 couplets of the Thirukkural in Tamil and English was started earlier this month.

The idea behind the poetic project is to spread awareness of the Tamil language across the globe, with the unusual scheme to be crowdfunded. It is hoped that 1,330 people, one for each couplet, will provide the funds to create the balloon.

Each person that contributes to the project will have his or her photo included along the base of the balloon. Above that will be the couplets written in both Tamil and English. When completed, the balloon’s envelope will have a volume of 133,000 cubic feet and be 100 feet high.

Benedict Savio, who organised the first Tamil Nadu International Balloon Festival (TNIBF) in 2015, launched the project as part of this year’s Puthandu celebrations, which is the Tamil New Year. The plan is to get the new balloon ready for use at the next TNIBF in 2016. Its planned unveiling will be on January 16th, or Thiruvalluvar Day, in Pollachi within the Tamil Nadu state. This day honours the Tamil philosopher Thiruvalluvar, who is believed to have come up with the classic poem.

Mr Savio explained the timescales to the press in more detail, stating:

“We have already started spreading the word across. The deadline for the contribution is August and the balloon manufacturing is expected to be wrapped up by November this year.”

After the balloon has been featured at the TNIBF, it will visit countries with significant Tamil populations. Already on the itinerary are Malaysia, the US, Australia and Canada.

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