This Article is From Jan 10, 2023

Tamil Nadu Governor's Pongal Invite New Flashpoint With Stalin Government

The Governor, in the middle of a standoff with the DMK government over the name of the southern state, has used Tamizhagam in invites for Pongal


In the Tamil Nadu versus Thamizhagam controversy fuelled by Governor RN Ravi's recent remarks about "a more appropriate name" for the southern state, an invite from the Governor's House, which uses "Thamizhagam" has incensed Tamil Nadu MLAs.

The invite for Pongal festival at the Governor's House Raj Bhavan, which is in Tamil, also misses the state government's emblem and features only the emblem of the government of India.

But the English version of the invite says "Tamil Nadu" Governor.

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

Tamil Nadu means "the nation of Tamils" while Thamizhagam means the "abode of the Tamil people" and is the ancient name for the region.

The ruling DMK and its allies accuse the Governor of pushing the agenda of the opposition BJP and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) by pitching the name "Thamizhagam".

"He makes statements that are factually incorrect and potentially dangerous," said DMK leader TR Baalu.

CPI(M) MP Su Venkatesan shared screenshots on Twitter comparing two invites from the Governor's house. He said the invitation for Pongal referred to him as "Thamizhaga Aazhunar" while an earlier invite had said: "Tamil Nadu Governor".

"The invitation from the Governor's House to the Pongal ceremony last year said Governor of Tamil Nadu. Now the invitation for the Pongal festival says, Thamizhaga Governor. He should leave the state at the same speed as he left the House yesterday. He should be expelled," the Left leader wrote.

Mr Ravi's invite, though a few days old, surfaced on social media today as fresh provocation a day after he walked out of the Tamil Nadu assembly in a row over his speech.

Mr Ravi's walkout marked a dramatic escalation of his standoff with the Stalin government. It was a show of protest after the Chief Minister urged the Speaker to take on record only the printed speech prepared by the Tamil Nadu government. Earlier, the Governor had edited bits of his speech, skipping references to secularism, social justice and women empowerment, besides names of leaders like Periyar and BR Ambedkar.

In their protests in the assembly, DMK allies shouted "Tamil Nadu" repeatedly and demanded Mr Ravi's recall. The hashtag #GetOutRavi also trended on Twitter briefly.

At a meeting today, Mr Stalin, the DMK chief, requested his party MLAs not to make any "distasteful comments" on the Governor or put up any posters against him, sources said.

The Governor added to the name row with his remarks at an event this morning.

Criticising the ruling DMK for addressing the central government as "Ondriya Arasu" in Tamil, Mr Ravi said, "It belittles the union government, as in Tamil, Ondriyam also refers to a block or a small place. This issue is only in Tamil Nadu." (Ondriyam in Tamil means union and blocks. Ondriya Arasu clearly refers to the union government).