In the Tamil Nadu versus Tamizhagam controversy fuelled by Governor RN Ravi’s recent remarks about “a more appropriate name” for the state, an invite from the Governor’s House, which uses “Thamizhaga Aazhunar” instead of Tamil Nadu government, 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.
The English version of the invite uses the name Tamil Nadu Governor.
At an event last week, Governor Ravi had said: “Everything applicable for 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. This must be broken. Truth must prevail. Tamizhagam is a more appropriate word to call it. 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.
Mr Ravi’s invite, though a few days old, has delivered more provocation after he walked out of the Tamil Nadu assembly yesterday in a row with the state government over his speech.
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 walkout in the assembly marked a dramatic escalation of his standoff with the state government. It was his show of protest after Chief Minister Stalin urged the Speaker to record only the printed speech prepared by the Tamil Nadu government and approved by the Governor.
The Governor, while reading out the speech, edited bits, skipping references to secularism, social justice and women empowerment, besides names of leaders like Periyar and BR Ambedkar.
In their protests, DMK allies shouted “Tamil Nadu” repeatedly in the assembly. The hashtag #GetOutRavi also trended on Twitter briefly.
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, the Governor 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).