Controversy Erupts Over Thiruvalluvar Day Date Change in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu's ruling DMK criticized Governor R N Ravi for celebrating Thiruvalluvar Day on 'Vaikasi Anusham' instead of the officially recognized date. The DMK accused the governor of attempting to associate the poet-saint Thiruvalluvar with divisive saffron symbolism, questioning his understanding of Tamil culture and traditions.

PTI | Chennai | Updated: 27-05-2024 15:55 IST | Created: 27-05-2024 15:55 IST
Controversy Erupts Over Thiruvalluvar Day Date Change in Tamil Nadu
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Tamil Nadu's ruling DMK on Monday lashed out at Governor R N Ravi over Raj Bhavan days ago holding ''Vaikasi Anusham Valluvar Thirunaal,'' the Thiruvalluvar Day festival and alleged he was trying to change the official date of celebration to honour the great Tamil poet.

Hitting out at Ravi, the DMK's Tamil mouthpiece 'Murasoli' said the Governor showered flowers on a portrait of Thiruvalluvar that was 'stained' by saffron, a reference to the depiction of the saint in saffron clothes in a painting at the Raj Bhavan in connection with the Thiruvalluvar Day festival. Ravi attempting to associate the saint with Saffron showed that he did not even read a single line from the great Tamil work, Murasoli said. ''Today, what does Safron symbolise? it represents divisiveness! Is it not an insult to Thiruvalluvar, who stood for equality, to portray him in saffron clothes? the editorial in DMK's official organ on May 27 asked. ''Thiruvalluvar Day is being celebrated alongside Pongal festival (in January) and it is as per Government Orders and Governor is attempting to change that itself. He does not have the heart to use the legal term of Tamil Nadu for the state and how will he wholeheartedly praise Tiruvalluvar? The Governor had said on May 24 (Vaikasi Anusham) that according to ''thousand years old tradition, the auspicious Vaikasi Anusham is the Thiruvalluvar Day.'' Vaikasi is one of the months in Tamil calendar that falls between May and June and Anusham is a star believed to be associated with the saint poet. Thirunaal is a special day and Vizha denotes festival, and hence the Raj Bhavan christened the event as ''Vaikasi Anusham Valluvar Thirunaal.'' While Thiruvalluvar Day, for over 50 years is officially celebrated in the state in January, the Raj Bhavan held an event to honour the saint poet on 'Vaikasi Anusham,' in May and this was first such function to be held at the official residence of the Governor. Furthermore, the DMK newspaper said that though Thirukkural has facets of theology, it is not 'divisive like what the BJP preaches' and Thiruvalluvar teaches 'Dharma' which has no links whatsoever to Manusmrithi.

The DMK daily quoted rationalist leader and social reformer E V Ramasamy 'Periyar,' as saying that Thirukkural reflected the world of difference between the culture and ethos of Tamils and 'Aryans,' and that the classic work was authored to show that difference. ''Periyar said our religion is Thirukkural religion, is Ravi aware of this? the Dravidian newspaper asked. On the background to 'Vaikasi Anusham,' S Ramachandran, archaeologist and historian said that in 1966 the then Congress government issued a Government Order, ''which declared the day (Vaikasi Anusham) on which saint Thiruvalluvar attained 'Mukthi' as Thiruvalluvar Day.'' A holiday was announced.

''That day falls in the Tamil month of Vaikasi and the related star was Anusham and that explains Vaikasi Anusham,'' he said.

On June 2, 1966, Vaikasi Anusham was observed as Thiruvalluvar Day and to mark the occasion, a statue of Thiruvalluvar was unveiled by then President S Radhakrishnan in the presence of then Chief Minister M Bhakthavatsalam and Chennai Mayor M Minor Moses, who belonged to the DMK.

''For a long time, Thiruvalluvar has been honoured on Vaikasi Anusham in the Mylapore temple.'' Later, the DMK regime in 1971 designated the second day of Tamil month Thai (in January) as Thiruvalluvar Day. The Thiruvalluvar temple at Mylapore in Chennai in which Governor Ravi offered prayers on May 24 belongs to 14th century CE (Common Era), he said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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