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Jul-20-2011 05:45printcomments

An appeal to all Salemites in the US

Salem's chance to build international relations, goodwill, tourism and more.

1962, when Salem, Oregon and Salem, Tamilnadu forged a sister sity bond. Photo provided by Mr. Bala Sundram
Gathering in 1962, when Salem, Oregon and Salem, Tamilnadu forged a sister city bond. Photo provided by Mr. Bala Sundram

(CHENNAI, India) - During 1959 and 1960, Mr. Hugh Morrow, a Rotarian and a city librarian in Salem, Oregon, USA, and Dr. Busnagi Rajannan, a well known Librarian of Salem, Tamilnadu, India corresponded with each and proposed the establishment of a Sister city programme between the two cities.

Dr. Rajannan visited Salem, Oregon in the US in 1962, and was received by the Rotarians, city officials, senators, and the Oregon State Governor. During his visit, Dr. Rajannan was presented with a Key to the American City-Salem.

At this meeting the two cities were formally declared as Sisters. In 1964, the Mayor of Salem Oregon, US (Mr. Willarad C. Marshall) visited our Salem in Tamilnadu with his family.

He was received by the Rotarians, the general public, and officials including the Collector, the Municipal Chairman and City Councilors.

On his return he initiated a sister cities coordination committee there. (see photo)

As a programme, the sister-city project did not continue beyond the exchange of thee visits. These details are gathered from Salem Cyclopedia edited by Dr. B. Rajannan.( page 262) So Dr. Rajannan was the pioneer of this Sister-Cities tie up between Salem India and Salem, America.

Subsequently, our Salem Rotarian Mr. J. R. Mehta of Salem Magnasites visited Salem, Oregon during his visit to the US in the 1970s. Economy drive during the Chinese invasion on India curbed the spirit of the people taking further interest in this programme.

However, as an individual I, Dharmapuri K.Balasundram am very keen to carry forward this as my mission in life to foster relationship among all Salemites in India and America all these years ever since 1963 through my writings in the local journals in both Salem cities-India and America. Thanks to the publication of my letter in the CAPITAL JOURNAL and the support and encouragement I got from its editor Mr. William L. Mainwaring, I was able to find some pen pals in Salem. Oregon. I am looking for pen pals in Salem in Kentucky also.

My sustained individual efforts enable me to earn the Distinguished Volunteer award in 2006 conferred  by the Sister Cities International, Washington, US which promotes this kind of tie up among peoples to promote friendship, cooperation and understanding. As he is a member of the Sister cities International,(, People to People International ( both organisations are International in nature, work among individuals in various countries to promote friendship and international relationship through Citizen Diplomacy.

In the course of my  efforts, I came into contact with Mr. Tim King, founder of a web site-Salem-  and a popular TV journalist in our sister city-Salem in the US. I am persuading him to make a visit to our Salem to make a documentary on our Salem to project it to Salem in Oregon and as well to other places named as Salem which exist  in 24 other states in the US. Curiously, places named Salem exist in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mass, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ontario.

It is then no wonder that places named after Salem do exist in Sweden, Germany, and South Africa also. Incidentally Salem is a Hebrew word for Peace and commonly supposed as other name for Jerusalem. Arab language people use the word salaam to express the same meaning.

Another interesting point, is that Oregon State in the US has another namesake in India -Madras (renamed Chennai).

I am very eager to form an association, in cooperation with other like minded individuals, institutions and social organisations to carry forward this friendship initiative among all Salems.

I am eliciting  support of Salemites in Orgeon, US to begin with.
Indian  popular English dailies -The Hindu carried a news item  prominently in its issue  on 21-01-2006 under AFTER SISTER CITIES SET TO REVICE FORGOTTEN RELATIONSHIP NEARLY FIVE DECADES ( and the Indian Express ( carried a news item on 30-01-2006 under MOVE TO REVIVE TIES BETWEEN SALEMS IN INDIA, US .

The STATESMAN JOURNAL, a leading journal in our sister city-Salem in the US  on 3-01-2006 under, SALEM, INDIA WOOS ITS NAME SAKE ( written by Mr. Dennis Thompson) highlighted my persistent efforts to revive this contact all these years from 1963.

We appreciate readers comment and support to me at the following address: K. Bala Sundram
Plot No.61. Door No.2-54, NGGO Colony, Dharmapuri-636705.Tamilnadu. India.
thanking you.
K.Balasundram. India.

Also by Mr. Bala Sundram: A Hand of Friendship in Salem, India - Bala Sundram for

1962, when Salem, Oregon and Salem, Tamilnadu forged a sister city bond. Photo provided by Mr. Bala Sundram

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Muthamizh July 20, 2011 7:08 am (Pacific time)

Nice to hear this....

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