Tamil Nadu and Tamilagam: State Gov Walks Out 

The opening session of 2023’s first session of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly on January 9 witnessed tumultuous scenes soon after Governor R N Ravi started addressing the House.  The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam led government and Ravi have been at loggerheads over several issues, especially the Governor’s suggestion off changing the name of the state to Tamilagam.

He had also allegedly termed Dravidian politics as ‘regressive politics’

WHAT HAPPENED IN ASSEMBLY

Soon after the Governor started his customary address, legislators of the Congress and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), both allies of the ruling DMK, shouted slogans ‘Long Live Tamil Nadu’ and ‘Aaalunare Veliyeru’ (Walkout, Governor). Governor Ravi walked out of the House as Chief Minister M K Stalin moved a resolution urging Speaker M Appavu to relax Rule 17 and retain the speech prepared by the state government as part of the governor’s customary address. Even before Stalin concluded his remarks, the governor walked out of the House before the national anthem was played to signify the conclusion of the day’s proceedings.

WHAT IS SAID TO BE OMITTED

The governor omitted names of Dravidian stalwarts including the late EV Ramasamy ‘Periyar’ and CN Annadurai. He also the 65th point of the speech which says the government is founded on the ideals of social justice, self-respect, inclusive growth, equality, women empowerment, secularism and compassion towards all. ‘Dravidian model’ were among the words skipped by the Governor and he also spoke on his own on certain aspects. ”Following the principles and ideals of stalwarts like Thanthai Periyar (EV Ramasamy), Annal Ambedkar, Perunthalaivar Kamarajar (K Kamaraj), Perarignar Anna (CN Annadurai) and Muthamizh Arignar Kalaignar (M Karunanidhi), the government has been delivering the much-acclaimed Dravidian model of governance to its people,” the text containing 67 points in all, had read.

He also omitted portions of the 12th point that talked about the State taking all necessary measures to ensure that it continues to be a haven of peace and tranquillity, free from any form of violence.

REACTIONS

Expressing regret that the Governor had skipped the names of iconic leaders, Speaker Appavu said that the Governor did not ”even utter” the name of BR Ambedkar, who framed the Constitution.

Industries Minister Thangam Thenarasu said the Governor had deviated from the customary tradition of the House. ”His speech was prepared by the government and sent to him for approval. We consider it as an insult to the national anthem as he walked out even before it was played,” he alleged.

Meanwhile, leader of the Opposition AIADMK K Palaniswami claimed the Chief Minister piloting a resolution against the Governor went against tradition. BJP state president K Annamalai charged that DMK and its alliance partners acted like ”fringe elements”.  He alleged that the Government brought shame to the house for petty political gains by disrupting the speech of the Governor,  The speaker did not maintain neutrality, he alleged.

WHAT RAVI SAID ABOUT THE STATE NAME

While addressing a program felicitating organisers and volunteers of the Kashi Tamil Sangamam, held at the Raj Bhavan in Chennai on January 4, Ravi allegedly remarked that the word ‘Tamilagam’ was a more appropriate term for Tamil Nadu.

The word ‘Nadu’ in Tamil means ‘land’. However, this word has been interpreted as ‘country’ at times. The governor seems to have suggested the word ‘Thamizhagam’ or ‘Tamilagam’ instead to distance from the interpretation of the term ‘Tamil Nadu’ as more of an autonomous region, than one that is part of India.

Adding to this, a  release from Raj Bhavan said that there have been regressive politics with the wrong habit of refusing everything that benefits all sections of people including academicians blindly for their own interests, claiming that the state is not integrally part of India.

DMK ON THE WORD

Soon after the Governor’s statement, members and supporters of Dravidian parties came out against this. Senior DMK and party treasurer T R Baalu in a statement said that the Governor makes statements that are factually incorrect and potentially dangerous about Sanatana Dharma, Aryanism, Dravidianism, Thirukkural and colonialism, regardless of the occasion. Additionally, he makes derogatory statements about Dalits and even B R Ambedkar. However, it’s not difficult to understand his real motive, Baalu said.

The leader also said that the Governor was speaking as a politician. He alleged that a speech that ought to have been delivered at the BJP headquarters is being delivered from the Raj Bhawan.   

DMK MP Kanimozhi coming out against the Governor said “Tamil Nadu indicates language, tradition, politics and life itself. It was CN Annadurai who made that name official in the state Assembly. This land will remain Tamil Nadu forever.”

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