Dickoya: Invoking his famous `chai pe charcha` concept, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday sought to establish an instant rapport with the Indian-origin Tamils of Sri Lanka, who dominate the plantation areas that produce the world famous Ceylon tea.
Not just that, he also spoke a couple of sentences in Tamil saying how delighted he was to meet them and how he considered it a big honour to get an opportunity to talk to them.
"I have a special association with tea," he said as he began addressing the Indian origin Tamils, whose ancestors settled in this part of Sri Lanka about 200 years ago.
"Discussion over tea", which he had introduced during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, "was not just a slogan but a mark of deep respect for dignity and integrity of honest labour", the Prime Minister said.
This assertion was received with thunderous clapping from the audience which also lapped up his quotes from Tamil saint Thiruvalluvar`s Thirukkural and scholar Kaniyan Poonkundranar to recall how ancient was the Tamil race and their message for the world.
He also said that the plantation area had given birth to the iconic MGR and famous cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan, which again was received with a round of applause.
Modi, on a two-day visit to Sri Lanka primarily to attend the International Vesak Day celebrations, inaugurated a Rs 150 crore super-speciality hospital built with Indian assistance in Dickoya, home to a large Tamil community who are of Indian-origin.