Does the Governor stand on Thamizhagam: revived debate in Dravidian politics? 

Expectations of undesirable events often come true. The Governor of Tamil Nadu, R.N. Ravi, opened the Legislative Assembly’s first session of the new year with an address that produced the drama that many had anticipated. 

For quite some time, Mr Ravi has expressed contentious political opinions. Tension was predicted when he arrived to address the House as a result of his recent indiscreet remarks that the State should not call itself “Tamil Nadu” and that its politics were “regressive.”

The controversy over the meaning of the name “Tamil Nadu” in Dravidian politics has been reignited by a political confrontation between Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi and the state’s MK Stalin administration.

                      (Source: Eastern Mirror)

On January 4, Governor Ravi made some controversial comments at a function in Chennai. “A distinct form of narrative has been developed in Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu would object to anything that pertains to the entire nation.

It’s been ingrained. There has been a tonne of fake and subpar theses written. Truth must win out. The word “Thamizhagam” would be more fitting “suggested Mr Ravi.

The state’s opposition BJP and its mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh are the targets of accusations from the government DMK that the governor made risky utterances solely to forward their goal (RSS). However, Mr Ravi asserts that the ruling party and its supporters stand for Tamil nationalism in politics. Mr Ravi is thought to disagree with Dravidian ideology.

Governor pushing the agenda of opposition? 

Before being sent to Tamil Nadu, Ravi, a professional police officer who spent a significant amount of time in the Intelligence Bureau, served as the governor of Nagaland and negotiated the peace agreement with the NSCN-IM. 

He should understand that the logic of Tamil Nadu’s government is based on a thriving democratic public culture with a strong feeling of identity and agency. By supporting Ravi, the BJP will be doing itself no favours.

                   (Source: NDTV) 

The governor represents the President and holds the constitutionally mandated office of governor. The governor, however, is viewed as the representative of the Centre and is always promoting its interests because political biases of the Union government are reflected in the selection of the governor. Today, Governor Ravi is associated with the BJP, and it is believed that the party is behind his acts.

Tamil Nadu or Tamizhagam

Ravi’s remarks are unsettling to the point of being outdated. Historically known as Tamizhagam, this region now includes parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh and roughly extends from the Tirupati hills to the Indian Ocean in the south.

This expression alludes to a location where old Tamil was spoken before the separation of contemporary southern languages like Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and others.

However, The linguistic sub-nationalism that formed the political imaginaries of the Dravidian Movement, which also called for an independent Dravida Nadu before Independence, gave rise to the name Tamil Nadu.

The DMK supported and carried out the political demand to rename Madras state as Tamil Nadu after taking administration in 1967. Given that states had been reorganised along linguistic lines and Madras being the name of a colonial city, it is an appropriate phrase.

The secessionist claim was long since forgotten by the Dravidian Movement and its political offshoots, who instead engaged in the concept of a federal India.

However, anytime the Center tries to push unitarian agendas on the state, whether it be through the imposition of the Hindi language or any other policy that is thought to be detrimental to the interests of Tamil Nadu’s citizens, Tamil sub-nationalism tends to come to life.

                (Source: TV9 Bharatvarsh)

Governor stand on  Tamil Nadu or Thamizhagam

Tamil Nadu’s “Nadu” might be translated as “nation.” Thus, Thamizhagam means “the homeland of the Tamil people,” but Tamil Nadu signifies “a country of Tamils.”

Thamizhagam was purportedly proposed by Governor Ravi as a “more fitting” name for Tamil Nadu. He claims that over the years, efforts have been made to spread the myth that Tamil Nadu is not truly a part of India.

According to him, the word “Nadu” might be used to signify an independent area that is a part of India given its connotation.

The DMK is in denial. “The name Tamil Nadu refers to our culture, politics, language, and way of life. This region would always be known as Tamil Nadu “DMK MP Kanimozhi remarked.

The DMK’s spokesperson “Murasoli was critical of the governor, saying that he claimed the name Tamil Nadu denoted a sovereign state. Do Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, or Turkmenistan’s names immediately come to mind when you hear Rajasthan? Given that Maharashtra means “the land of the Marathas,” isn’t it a separatist name? God’s Own Country, Kerala’s tourism motto, might represent a call for nation-state recognition. You seem to be having trouble locating a “Desam (land)” in the Telugu Desam Party.”

Periyar EV Ramasamy used the name “Thamizhagam” for the first time in 1938. However, he also supported the idea of renaming Madras Tamil Nadu.

The DMK first desired a separate country, but as the former Madras state was renamed Tamil Nadu, it dropped the proposal.

“We proclaimed our support for you and asked for increased authority after it was renamed Tamil Nadu. That’s all done now, “TKS Elangovan, a DMK spokeswoman and former lawmaker,

                   (Source: The Hindu) 

BJP: Party of Tamil Hindus? 

Recently, the BJP has embarked on a charm offensive to win over Tamils who, like its Malayalis neighbour, have mostly rejected the unitarian Hindutva idea. 

With sartorial and literary gimmicks like reciting Sangam poetry in front of the diaspora and at international forums or donning a veshti at local gatherings and rallies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tried to win over Tamils.

To project itself as a party of Tamil Hindus and avoid the notion that it is a party of north India that wants to promote Hindi and the caste system, the BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit has been diligently attempting to interact with local Hindu traditions, particularly subaltern devotional rituals.

In the wake of Governor R N Ravi’s behaviour in the Tamil Nadu legislature on Monday, it is this complex but deft political outreach that has come into the open.

In other words, his decisions as governor of TN will probably have an impact on the BJP’s future in the state. Early indications indicate that he could end up being a wrecking ball who could end up tearing down the political framework that the party has built in the state. 

In Tamil Nadu, a state where there is widespread agreement on social justice and public welfare, Ravi’s remarks and actions demonstrate discomfort with the state’s core ideals. The state BJP unit, which has so far defended him, also gives them a voice.

His remark on January 4 provides insight into his thoughts. Whereas we are compelled to inquire, “What is this “other kind of narrative”? What about it is untrue? Is the misleading story about the Dravidian model what he seems to be upset about? Why was Tamil Nadu chosen instead of Tamizhagam?

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