MLAs belonging to the allies of the ruling government raise slogans against Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi
Tamil Nadu or Thamizhagam? A political clash between Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi and the MK Stalin government in the state has revived a debate over the name "Tamil Nadu" and its significance in Dravidian politics.
Governor Ravi stirred the debate with his remarks on January 4 during an event in Chennai. "Here in Tamil Nadu, a different kind of narrative has been created. Everything that applies to the whole of the country, Tamil Nadu will say no. It has become a habit. So many theses have been written - all false and poor fiction. Truth must prevail. Thamizhagam would be a more appropriate word to call it," Mr Ravi said.
The ruling DMK accuses the Governor of making dangerous statements only to push the agenda of the state's opposition BJP and its mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). On the other hand, Mr Ravi claims the ruling party and its allies symbolise Tamil chauvinism in politics. Mr Ravi is seen to be at odds with Dravidian ideology.
- The word "Nadu" in Tamil Nadu could mean "nation". So, Tamil Nadu means "a nation of Tamils" while Thamizhagam means the "home of the Tamil people".
- Governor Ravi reportedly suggested Thamizhagam as a "more appropriate" name for Tamil Nadu. According to him, efforts were made over the years to push the narrative that Tamil Nadu is not an integral part of India.
- His argument is that because of the meaning of "Nadu", the word could be seen to depict an autonomous region that is part of India.
- The DMK disagrees. "The name Tamil Nadu indicates our language, tradition, politics and life itself. This land will remain Tamil Nadu forever," said DMK MP Kanimozhi.
- The DMK's mouthpiece "Murasoli" was scathing on the Governor - "He says the name Tamil Nadu indicates a sovereign nation. Does the name Rajasthan sound like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, or Turkmenistan to you? Isn't Maharashtra a secessionist name for its name indicates the land of Marathas? Kerala's tourism slogan, 'God's own country', may also be a demand for a nation-state status. Isn't it problematic for you to find a 'Desam (land)' in Telugu Desam Party?"
- The name "Thamizhagam" was first used by Periyar EV Ramasamy in 1938. But he also favoured Tamil Nadu as an option for renaming Madras.
- Though initially, the DMK had demanded a separate nation, it gave up the demand after the then Madras state was renamed Tamil Nadu.
- "After it was renamed Tamil Nadu, we said we are with you and wanted more powers. Now that's closed," said DMK spokesperson and former MP TKS Elangovan