CHENNAI: In a hit-back, the DMK has refuted impressions that party president M. K. Stalin withdrew its statewide agitation slated for Friday against home minister Amit Shah's recent remarks on Hindi being the 'common language' of the country, under “pressure” by Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit when Stalin had met him at Raj Bhavan on Wednesday.
Seeking to put the controversy to rest, DMK's party organ 'Murasoli' in an editorial on Friday here said, the DMK suspending its proposed agitation calling upon Shah to withdraw his remarks on Hindi, was a “big victory” for the DMK and the Tamil language. “It is also a victory for all the non-Hindi speaking states,” the hard-hitting editorial said.
The DMK's organ said though the BJP was saying it was an “all-India party”, it was only keen on “appeasing” its vote bank in the Hindi-speaking states with such periodic assertions about Hindi's supremacy. Shah's latest remarks on Hindi despite the home minister having clarified them later, was of a piece for the BJP to pursue its 'Hindutva agenda' in the whole country, the editorial underscored.
Describing the sequence of events between September 14-September 18, when Shah first made the remarks, the DMK leader's first response criticising it, the party's high level policy committee adopting a resolution calling for a protest, till Shah said he had only batted for Hindi as a 'second language' as he himself came from Gujarat where Gujarati is the first language, the editorial pointed out that Stalin's response also had ripples in other non-Hindi speaking states including Kerala to start with.
Drawing comparisons between how the earlier Nehru regime at the Centre sought to cool tempers in Tamil Nadu in the 1960s at the height of the anti-Hindi agitation through interlocutors like late Chief Minister K. Kamaraj, the DMK organ said Governor Purohit inviting Stalin for a meeting was similar to that approach to “pull out the burning log”, when DMK called for a state-wide stir.
Purohit explained to Stalin what Amit Shah intended to say through his remarks. Shortly later, the home minister clarified that he did not mean to impose Hindi on any state. It was considering both these developments, Stalin had announced that the DMK's agitation was being put off for now, indicating that it was not done under any alleged pressure from the Governor.
The DMK has once again “proved” that, as in the past under the leadership of Periyar, Anna and Kaliagnar Karunanidhi, that it remains the “protector” of the Tamil language and culture, the editorial pointed out, adding, it was also a victory for Stalin's leadership.
Senior DMK leader and MP T. R. Baalu, who accompanied Stalin to meet the Governor, also separately clarified that Purohit did not “pressure us to withdraw the agitation”, indicating that it was the DMK's decision. Purohit had only explained to Stalin that Amit Shah's remarks had been “misunderstood” and that the Central government was not for “imposing” Hindi on any state.
“Perhaps the Centre does not want an agitation that could flare up in Tamil Nadu like it happened in the mid-1960s and considering that an informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to take place in Tamil Nadu next month,” Balu opined.
DMK hails State Archaeology department report on Keezhadi
Welcoming the preliminary findings of the State Archaeology department's report on excavations done in Keezhadi that speak of an ancient Tamil civilization having flourished on the banks of Vaigai river in south Tamil Nadu, the DMK president M K Stalin on Friday said the artifacts and other materials unearthed there “proclaim to the world” unique facets of Tamil culture, its antiquity and how it was in the forefront of agriculture, pottery and animal husbandry.
In a statement here, Mr. Stalin in particular appreciated the efforts of Tamil Culture minister, Ma. Foi. Pandiyarajan, the culture department secretary T Udayachandran, archaeologists and others who worked hard in the excavation project in recent years and of the Tamil writer and Madurai MP, Su Venkatesan, who created awareness nationwide about the significance of the Keezhadi findings all of which enabled to bring out this report. At least from now, nobody would doubt the classical status of Tamil language, hoped the DMK leader.
Also welcoming Mr. Udayachandran's remarks that further excavation at Keezhadi and other nearby places will continue, besides revisiting the Adichanallur site, Mr. Stalin urged the Centre to fulfill three demands in this context. The state government should also take up these demands with the Centre, he urged. The three demands included opening of a south zonal office of the Archaeology department in Madurai which would help to take forward the Keezhadi excavations and associated research, setting up of a state-of-the-art international museum at Keeladi to display the over 5,820 artifacts uncovered at the site so far and what is to come further like the museum the Centre has planned at Vaad Nagar in Gujarat and that the Centre should declare Keezhadi site as a protected monument. Mr. Stalin hoped the Centre would implement all these three demands at the earliest.