(I am doing this post in English for benefit of a wider audience. Please treat the below post as indicative and as my personal take, for official coverage please contact TI2010 secretariat or INFITT’s secretariat)
Phew! (taking a deep breath). The last two weeks of working for Tamil Internet Conference 2010 (TI2010) was really tough for me. It was not at all easy, but personally, I found it to be a great learning experience for me, worth every drop of my sweat. I have a lot to say in this post and I don’t know where to begin – anyway let me make an attempt.
First some background, I am the serving Chairman of an international voluntary organization working on promoting Tamil IT activities called “INFITT” and member of the Tamil Nadu Government’s committee (LOC) for running TI 2010. INFITT was founded in 2000 and is a registered NGO in California, USA. INFITT has conducted eight Tamil Internet Conferences before TI2010. Tamil Internet Conference’s (TIC) are some of the largest of all technical conferences that happen anywhere in the world for an Indian Language & Technology combination.
Typically, every TIC has three core committees:
- LOC (Local Organizing Committee) constitutes of that year event’s local (Cohost) representatives, INFITT’s local representatives. and other local industry bodies. They are in-charge of funding, venue, logistics, travel, infrastructure (in short all the Hardware)
- CPC (Conference Program Committee) constitutes of a scholarly team of Linguistic computing researchers, Technology & Language Experts. They are tasked with forming the agenda of the event, topics, call for and selection of speakers – basically the entire content (or software) for a TIC is provided by this team
- IOC (International Organizing Committee) constitutes of INFITT’s representatives from around the world, they are in charge of facilitating/getting international delegates and other tasks
TI2010 is the latest in the series and happened last week in Kovai (Coimbatore) in conjunction with the World Classical Tamil Conference (WCTC). Speakers and observers had come from various countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Canada, the USA, Britain, South Korea and Germany besides all over India. Over 110 papers were read in four halls, over the four days.
For me this meant doing hundreds of emails with my fellow INFITTians & committee members, helping in scouting & inviting delegates, answering questions from our General Body, preparing for and attending scores of meetings, the many visits to the secretariat, swelling contact list in my mobile & the event website / social media. The most eventful for me and the other teams were the day before (22nd) and the first day (23rd) of the event where we had to handle hundreds of guests coming in, their hotel logistics, answering their queries and so on. Since WCTC was inaugurated by Hon’ble President of India, security was at unprecedented levels – so we had to be very careful on handling ID cards/invitations. Most of us (TI2010 organizers) were not from Coimbatore so getting used (in terms of travel time, hotel locations, etc.) to the city took us few days. Getting in & out of venue was not easy due to security to the venue (CODISSIA) being tightened few days in advance and thousands of people were queuing the roads to the venue to see the colourful arrangements even before the start of the event.
The last day of the event saw one of the bitter wars for last decade in Tamil IT come to an end with Tamil Nadu Government’s GO [PDF copy or link to TN.GOV.IN] on 16-Bit encoding that recognized Unicode as the Primary encoding and TACE16 as the only alternate encoding.
For this event to have gone this well, the credit goes to the teams who did a brilliant job – the dignitaries from Govt. of Tamil Nadu, ELCOT & NIC staffs, Volunteers, Local Organizing Committee, Conference Program Committee & other teams of TI2010 & WCTC (World Classical Tamil Conference). It was my privilege to have served with such qualified & diverse teams.
- View the TI2010 Conference book
- Select recordings of TI2010 talks are here and in YouTube WCTC2010 Channel – you need to look for WCTC2010 tag and search for hall names like சுஜாதா அரங்கம், உமர் தம்பி அரங்கம், சண்முகலிங்கம் அரங்கம், கோவிந்தசாமி அரங்கம், முரசொலி மாறன் அரங்கம். Sorry, we couldn’t get around to list only TI2010 talks separate from WCTC
- Transcript of my vote of thanks, speech (PDF, DOC) delivered during the Inaugural plenary session on stage with Hon’ble Union Minister for IT & Communications Thiru A Raja & Singapore’s Senior Deputy Minister Thiru S Eswaran
- Press coverage of TI2010
Apart from TI2010, there were many other activities going on in WCTC – including Scholarly talks of Tamil language, the Exhibitions (TI2010, WCTC, Bookfair) which were open to the public and visited by thousands. Only on the last day, I was able to visit the WCTC cultural Exhibition for an hour or so. I found it to be quite informative to know about Tamil Language, Culture & History – I was pleasantly surprised to see a pavilion by ISRO. Normally what would take your visits around the state (Tamil Nadu) to different museums and some archaeological libraries (not open to the public) were displayed in one place.
In the “India Post” gallery I was able to buy for Rs.10 special printed postcard bearing the logo of World Classical Tamil Conference 2010 (WCTC) and post it to my friends from there itself – a nice souvenir.
I couldn’t find time to visit the Book Fair or the inaugural day floats procession. On the day of floats it took me 4 hours to get back from the Coimbatore city hotel I was staying at the venue for some last minute arrangements, that too I started after the floats event got over – so much was the crowd.