In her reply to the no-confidence motion brought by the opposition, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke about issues brought up by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozhi such as the Sengol installed in the new Parliament building and imposition of Hindi.
Speaking on the Sengol, Kanimozhi had said, "You brought the Sengol to the new Parliament with big pomp and show. You said it is Chola tradition. You don't know Tamil Nadu history properly. Have you heard about the Pandyan Sengol? The Pandyan Sengol which burned, shattered when the King failed the common people? Do you know the story of Kannagi? Please stop imposing Hindi on us and go read the Silappadikaram. It has a lot of lessons to teach you all."
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra had also spoken about the Sengol in their speeches.
In her reply, Sitharaman said that she would like to point out that the Sengol given to the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was also given by the Adheenams who are a unique institution for Tamil Nadu.
Attacking the Congress over the issue, she said the party had no objection when the Sengol was labelled as a walking stick and kept in a museum but had problems with it being given its rightful place by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
She asked whether the Sengol being forgotten and kept in a museum did not hurt the Tamil pride. 'Is that not an insult to the Tamils?', she added.
Speaking about the initiatives taken by PM Modi to promote Tamil culture, she said that the Kashi Tamil Sangamam had shown the deep bond between Tamil Nadu and Kashi and that he had attended the Tamil New Year celebrations at the residence of Minister L Murugan.
Further, she said it was under the Modi government that Tamil was heard for the first time in the United Nations.
She said that Jallikattu, a sport reflective of Tamil culture was played again only after PM Modi came to power and permitted the sport in 2016 as the Congress government, of which the DMK was a part had banned it and termed it a 'barbaric sport.'
Speaking in Tamil, Sitharaman said that in the name of standing up to Hindi imposition, restrictions were being imposed on learning Hindi and Sanskrit over the last few decades.
Stating that she was speaking from lived experience, she said, "You have the right to promote Tamil but no right to prevent people from learning Hindi and Sanskrit."
Responding to Kanimozhi who had asked the BJP MPs to read the Silappadikaram to learn a lot of lessons, she quoted Ma Po Si (Mylai Ponnusami Sivagnanam).
She said that Sivagnanam, who is considered to be an authority on the Silappadikarama had written in 1951, “We are not Dravidians, we are Tamilians. Our motherland is not Dravidam but Tamizhagam. Our northern border is Vengadam, not Vindhyas, and beyond Vengadam if people’s culture, habits, practices and daily life are in one form, they may be slightly different but they are not very opposite to us. So he talks about country's oneness, India's oneness.”
Further, she said that the language of separatists had influenced the language in which Kanimozhi had asked the PM to read Silappadikaram.
S Rajesh is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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