Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president K Annamalai slammed the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) regarding its opposition to Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi’s remarks saying that it would be better to call the state as ‘Tamizhagam’ (also written as Tamilakam).
According to political observers, Ravi might have said so because he felt that ‘Tamil Nadu’ has separatist connotations as ‘Nadu’ has often been taken to mean ‘a nation or country.’ His remarks too dwelt on how the nature of politics in the state (which he called ‘regressive’) had led to the feeling of 'Tamils are different.’
However, some say that there is no need to think that the name ‘Tamil Nadu’ has any separatist connotations because the name has been incorporated into the constitution and is as harmless as the phrase ‘Telugu Desam’ which nobody usually eyes with suspicion of separatism.
Also, they say that 'Tamil Nadu' cannot exactly mean a country or nation as there are many Nadus within Tamil Nadu itself like Kongu Nadu, Pandya Nadu and Chola Nadu.
‘Tamilakam’ is usually used to mean ‘the Tamil land’, which while not having a separatist connotation, would however refer to areas belonging to neighbouring states and parts of Sri Lanka as well.
Annamalai said that it was a ploy of the DMK to hide its secessionist past and drive attention away from its poor governance. He added that today, while the DMK itself may not be officially propagating separatism, other outfits nurtured by it are doing so.
The DMK was formed by leaders like CN Annadurai who left the Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) due to differences with its leader EV Ramasamy (popularly known as ‘Periyar’). CN Annadurai was the first chief minister of Tamil Nadu from the DMK.
The DK had wanted a separate Dravida Nadu and Periyar had even met Mohammad Ali Jinnah in 1940 to solicit his support for the same. According to an article in The Hindu, Annadurai too wanted Dravida Nadu and dropped the demand only in 1963, due to the 16th amendment which was passed to preserve the nation’s sovereignty and integrity.
Regarding the historicity of the two names, Annamalai said that references to both names can be found in ancient texts. Further, he added that it was hypocritical of the DMK to oppose ‘Tamilakam’ as it also uses this name quite often.
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