This Article is From Jan 18, 2023

A New Name For Tamil Nadu? Not Me, Says Governor

"Without understanding the basis of my speech, arguments that the Governor is against the word Tamil Nadu have become a topic of discussion," said RN Ravi.

Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi had used the word "Tamizhagam" for the state. (File)


Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi today said it was "erroneous and far-fetched" to infer that he had suggested changing the name of the state with his recent comments on "Tamizhagam".

Clarifying on the controversial comment that led to a fiery "Tamil Nadu versus Tamizhagam" debate, Mr Ravi said those who made the inference did so "without understanding" the basis of his speech.

"An interpretation or inference that it was a suggestion to change the name of Tamil Nadu is erroneous and far-fetched," said the Governor in a statement.

He said he referred to the word "Tamizhagam" while speaking on the "historical cultural connect between the Tamil people and Kashi". In those days, there was no Tamil Nadu, he said. "Hence, in the historical cultural context, I referred to the word Tamizhagam as a more appropriate expression," said Mr Ravi.

"Without understanding the basis of my speech, arguments that the Governor is against the word Tamil Nadu have become a topic of discussion. Hence, I am giving this clarification to put an end to it," Mr Ravi said.

Tamil Nadu means "the nation of Tamils" while Tamizhagam means the "home of the Tamil people". The word "Nadu" means "land" in Tamil and so, could be seen by many to depict an autonomous region in India. Critics believe it aligns with those who push the narrative that Tamil Nadu is not an integral part of India.

At an event on January 4, Governor Ravi had said: "Whatever applies to the entire country, Tamil Nadu says no. It has become a habit. Truth must prevail. Tamizhagam is a more appropriate word. The rest of the country suffered a lot of devastation at the hands of foreigners for a long time."

The comments sparked a huge row, with the state's ruling DMK accusing Mr Ravi of pushing the BJP-RSS agenda. In the state assembly, ruling MLAs shouted "Quit Tamil Nadu" slogans in the assembly against Mr Ravi and hashtag #GetOutRavi has trended on Twitter.

What remains unaddressed is why the Tamil version of the Governor's house Raj Bhavan's invite for Pongal celebrations referred to him as "Thamizhaga aazhunar" or "Governor of Tamizhagam".

The Governor's statement comes after Chief Minister MK Stalin urged President Draupadi Murmu to intervene and ensure Mr Ravi abides by the Constitution.

Mr Stalin and his party DMK have clashed with the Governor repeatedly. The hostility soared when Mr Ravi went off-script while reading out an official speech approved by the government in the assembly. DMK allies like the Congress have also demanded the Governor's recall.