TAMIL NADU IN PARLIAMENT

ARINGNAR ANNA ON TAMIL NADU

[Dravida Pervai happily reproduces the debate that took place in Rajya Sabha in May 1963. DMK Founder Aringnar Anna ultimately changed the name of Madras State as Tamil Nadu and fulfilled the centuries old desire of the Tamil Nation on his becoming the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in 1967. In 1963 he spoke in Parliament on the question of renaming Tamil Nadu. You can find out the arguments advanced for and against and also note who opposed the renaming in order to understand the forces that played for and against Tamil nationalism]

 ANNA SPEAKS : 

Mr. Vice Chairman, I am rarely in full agreement with my friend Mr.Bhupesh Gupta, but today I rise to support him whole-heartedly, fully and sincerely. The only weakness of the Bill is that it is a non-official one. I would have liked an official Bill to be brought forward for this very necessary and very simple thing that would have satisfied millions of Tamilians in Tamil Nadu. Many arguments that were advanced against the Bill brought forward are perhaps more due to the colour of the mover rather than the arguments advanced for its support. One Honorable Member was saying that he was not moving a Bill, which the Madras State has asked him to move. I regret very much that sometimes it becomes necessary to explain some rudimentary principles. The Madras Government will never ask a non-official Bill to be brought forward on its behalf. If the state government wants the Bill to be brought forward, there are the state representatives in this Assembly and they would have brought it forward, and therefore, to say that the Bill cannot be supported just because the Madras Government has not asked Mr.Gupta to bring the Bill shows that their only argument to fight against the Bill is that their party or their State Government has not instructed them to act in this way. I can well understand the political tremor in their hearts, but that is no argument against this Bill. The arguments advanced by the sponsors of the Bill for renaming Madras as Tamil Nadu have not been answered by any one of the speakers who spoke about it.

Sheel Badra Yajee: I have answered it.

 Anna: I cannot understand- I very rarely understand- your language and, therefore, I do not know whether there is logic or not but I would say that some of the arguments advanced were not proper. One Honorable Member was saying that there are Telugu knowing people in Tamil Nadu, Malayalam and Kanarese speaking people and, therefore, to name Madras as Tamil Nadu will create a sort of tremor in their hearts. May I inform this House, through you, Sir, that all these arguments were advanced and shattered in my part of the country. All these arguments did not stand the onslaught of reason and logic. For the sake of informing this House I may inform you Sir, that on 24 th February 1961 the Leader of the House in the state assembly stood up to say that he was accepting part of the non official resolution brought forward not by the DMK or any other political party which is considered to be inimical to Congress, but by a PSP [Praja Socialist Party]Member. That PSP member brought forward a non official resolution for renaming Madras as Tamil Nadu and it was discussed many days and finally the then Finance Minister and the Leader of the House Mr.C.Subramaniam, stood up to say that he was accepting a part or the spirit of the resolution and added that thereafter all publications of the Madras government would appear in the name of Tamil Nadu Government. It is in such a way that all publications in Tamil in the Tamil Nadu government are being printed and published. As a matter of fact, after making the historic declaration on the floor of the Madras assembly on 24 th February, the very next day the Finance Minister had to present his budget and in presenting the budget, the opening words of the Finance Minister were: “ In consonance with the declaration made yesterday, I am now presenting to budget for Tamil Nadu.” Therefore all the arguments that Telugu speaking, the Malayalam speaking, and the Kanarese speaking people will be up against this change in name fall to ground because part of this has been accepted by the Government. The part relating to the amendment of Constitution, the word Madras to be deleted and the word Tamil Nadu to be inserted was not accepted. 

Therefore, even the Government much less by the Madras Congress leaders cannot accommodate the sentimental arguments advanced. Sir, I am really surprised to see how ill informed my Hon. friends are, those who advanced arguments against the Bill. One Hon. Member stated here that Kollegal is in Tamil Nadu. That Hon. Member unfortunately not present in the House at present. I may tell them and his friends may tell him, that Kollegal today is part of Mysore. It has been taken away from the composite State of Madras and after the formation of linguistic states, has gone to Mysore. If my Hon. friend is so ill informed about Kollegal, I am not surprised at his arguments that nowhere in Tamil literature does the word Tamil Nadu occur. A politician who cannot understand that Kollegal does not form part of Tamil Nadu cannot be expected to be conversant with Tamil literature. For the edification of the House and for his own edification, I will point out the names of certain books wherein the word Tamil Nadu is to be found. These are books written 1800 or 2000 years ago. I am reading the name in Tamil but the Hon. Member who made this allegation is a Tamilian Congressman and he can understand and the Hon. Deputy Minister who will be making the reply. She being also a Tamilian may tell him. The names of Paripaadal, Pathitrupathu and more popular names of Silapathigaram and Manimegalai. These are all Tamil classics written more than 1000 years ago and in Paripaadal it is stated “ Thandamizh veli Thamizh Naatu agamellam” which means Tamil Nadu that is surrounded by sweet Tamil on all three sides. In Pathitrupathu, a classic written about 1800 years it is stated “ Imizh kadal veli Thamizhagam” meaning Tamil Nadu which has got sea as boundary. In Silapathigaram it is stated “ Then Thamizh nannadu” meaning good Tamil Nadu and in Manimegalai it is stated“Sambutheevinul Tamizhaga marungil “ Tamil Nadu which is called Sambutheevu. If my Hon. Members would like to have more popular illustrations I would like to refer them to the poems of Poet Kamban and Sekkilar both of whom have definitely used the word Tamil Nadu. It was only afterwards that there were three kingdoms, the Cheranadu, The Cholanadu and the Pandyanadu. Tamil Nadu is to be found in the classics of Tamil. It is not that there is poverty of ideas in the classics. It only shows that my Hon. friend does not spend much thought or time over the Tamil classics. I may point out for the edification of this House that when the Congress government in Tamil Nadu purchased the Jaipur Palace at Ooty known as Aranmore Palace they immediately renamed the Palace as Thamizhagam. I am pointing this out to say that the Congress there is trying to assuage our feelings, is trying to carry Tamil Nadu people along with them by saying they have renamed the Aranmore Palace as Thamizhagam, that they are publishing all the Tamil manifestos as Tamil Nadu Government publications, that only for international correspondence they want the name “Madras”. They are not prepared to amend the Constitution. If the arguments advanced by some of the Tamil Nadu Congress people were to be read by the Chief Minister of Madras, he would turn around and say “ You too Brutus”. All the arguments advanced for not renaming it falls flat on the ground because even the Congress Government there does not approve of these arguments.

Another particular issue was raised here that the Bill is being brought forward only as a publicity stunt of the Communist party. Why don’t we appreciate the Communist Party for its sense of political expediency? Are not all political parties interested in getting political publicity? Is publicity a heinous crime? Why do you publish reports and books on Five-year plans? Is that not publicity done at public cost? Yet you accuse other political parties saying that this is publicity. But let me tell this House through you, that even though you defeat the Bill, he has gained that publicity. You are not going to rob him anymore of that publicity. When he comes to Tamil Nadu he can conveniently face Tamilians and say, “ I pleaded for you but it is the ruling party that let you down.” Therefore you have unawares walked into Mr.Gupta’s snare. I would have appreciated if the ruling party had approached Mr.Bhupesh Gupta and stated, “ Do not bring in this non-official Bill, we ourselves are interested in it, we will bring it forward.”

Then Mr.Santhanam pointed out that we have an uphill task in retaining Madras, we had to fight with so many people and we retained Madras. I can claim some amount of credit in that fight and when I was in the thick of that fight, I did not find Mr.Santhanam by my side.

Akbar Ali Khan: At the cost of Andhra

Anna:  With the consent of the Andhras, I can say that. That is because the present government there is providing even today, in the border areas, measures for safeguarding Telugu culture and for imparting Telugu language. Therefore though Madras has been taken by Tamilians, we have no enmity with the Andhras. But my friend Santhanam was saying that it was such an uphill task, retaining Madras that we would like to keep Madras. This is not a question of keeping Madras or giving it up. This is the question of keeping Madras in Tamilnadu and renaming the state as Tamil Nadu. Madras, after all is the capital city of Tamil Nadu, as Ahamadabad happens to be the capital city of Gujarat, as Chandigrah happens to be the capital city of Punjab. If this logic of naming the state after the name of capital city is to be followed, Kerala should be renamed Trivandrum, Andhra is to renamed Hyderabad, Punjab is to be renamed Chandigarh and Gujarat to be renamed Ahamadabad.

Bhubesh Gupta: And Bengal should be renamed Calcutta.

Anna: My government, my Congress government in Madras is interested in bilingualism. That is because its head Government is interested to have two names for everything, India that is Bharat, Jana gana mana and Vandhe Madaram. They always want to keep two blocks. Take something from here, take something from there. So the Madras government is having Tamil Nadu for the consumption of Tamilians and Madras for all India consumption. It is a very awkward word “ duplicity”. And that is why my friend Mr.Bhupesh Gupta was saying that some of the congress people talk in one way there and talk in another way here. No Congress can face a Tamilian audience and say that the name Madras should be retained. I challenge it.

T.S.Pattabhiraman {Madras}: We have faced it during the agitation of Tamil arasu Kazhagam and my friend knows it. What he is saying is complete travesty of facts.

Anna: I know how Pattabhiraman faces agitation. I wont say it. Let us not face each other as Congress and DMK. Let us face the Tamilian public on this single sanctified issue of renaming the state and if you carry along with you 51 percent of the people I am prepared to bow my head before you. This is not a party issue at all. The renaming of Madras as Tamil Nadu has been accepted by the Communist Party, by the DMK, by the PSP and you will be surprised, by the Madras branch of Swatantra Party too. Therefore all parties are one in this issue of renaming Madras as Tamil Nadu.

T.S.Pattabhiraman: None of them put it in their election manifesto.

Anna: I would present a copy of the DMK election manifesto to him tomorrow. I am sure Pattabhiraman knows Tamil. This issue has been an issue for more than 10 to 15 years. He was saying that only Tamil Arasu Kazhagam was fighting for it. It is true partially because it was only the Tamil arasu Kazhagam that started an agitation for it, but all other political parties were immensely intimately interested in this issue. They have printed it in their manifestos, in their political speeches and no District Conference of DMK took place without passing this resolution of renaming Madras as Tamil Nadu. Therefore it is not simply on the spur of the moment that I am pleading for it. My sorrow is that my friend Mr.Bhupesh Gupta had stolen the thunder from me by sponsoring this Bill. But for that, I would like to present before this House that this has been an issue all along in Tamil Nadu. And they have not answered Mr.Bhupesh Gupta; What do you loose by renaming Madras as Tamil Nadu? Nobody has answered that.

N.M.Lingam [Madras] Anyway what do you gain by renaming it as Tamil Nadu?

Anna: What do I gain? What have you gained by renaming Parliament as Lok Sabha? What have you gained by renaming Council of States as Rajya Sabha? What have you gained by renaming President as Rastrapathi? Therefore I say what do you loose? This is important because if you were to loose something precious, we would not press for it. If you do not loose something fundamental, we will press for it. The other point was raised, what do you gain? We gain satisfaction sentimentally; we gain satisfaction that an ancient name is inculcated in the hearts of millions and scores of millions of people. Is that not enough compensation for the small trouble of changing the name? Therefore all the arguments that have been advanced have been shattered.

They have advanced an apologetic argument saying that if the State government had come forward with this, we would have accepted this. And they are perfectly aware of the composition of the State legislature where the Congress party is in a majority. Would you ask the Congress member in Madras State legislature to vote for such a bill if it were to come there, without party whip? No

T.S.Pattabhiraman: Your party members could have brought forward a resolution in the House and changed the name. Why have you not done it for past seven or eight years?

Anna: I am coming to that. When we present such a bill to the Madras legislature, they say that if you want to rename, an amendment to the constitution is necessary and an amendment of the Constitution is possible only when you go to Parliament.

T.S.Pattabhiraman: I am saying a resolution, not a Bill. A resolution can be made.

Anna: I may say for the information of the Hon. Member that we pressed this point during the discussion on the non-official Bill of PSP. In fact we even staged a walk out. The DMK and Communist party joined together in the walk out. That is our numerical position there. When the non-official resolution was discussed in the Madras assembly we pressed for the constitutional amendment and the only explanation offered to us was that it was only possible at the level of Parliament. And when we come to Parliament we are asked to go back to the state legislature. We are asked to go to Parliament because you are entrenched in both places not because your logic is sound but simply because you are entrenched in both places.

G.Rajagopalan [Madras] We are entrenched because the people vote for us. It has been discussed even during elections. There had been fasts by certain members and one person even lost his life after fasting. Even after that we won elections. That shows the people still want as it is- not for the satisfaction of some politicians who want a slogan.

Anna: Madam Deputy Chairman, I am very glad that the discussion is becoming very interesting. But I may say for the information of the House that DMK has nothing to do with fasting. The fasting was undertaken by a non-party man, in fact a relative of the Chief minister of Madras Mr.Sankaralinga [Nadar}. And to say that in spite of fasting you have not changed shows how human you are. Therefore the question was discussed there. We were asked to go to Parliament. When we come to Parliament we are again sent back to legislature. In both places the answer is as my Hon. friend had stated, “ The people had voted for us”. Well that is a fact, a tragic fact, and a black fact that ought to be seen.

G.Rajagopalan: In spite of you tragedy is still there

T.S.Pattabhiraman: He says tragedy will be permanent. The tragedy of Congress getting a majority at every election will be a permanent feature and we are prepared to accommodate you.

Anna: Madam Deputy Chairman my friend was saying that this tragedy is going to be permanent. Woe to the country and to the people. That is all what I can say. But I would like to press this point that a Constitution amendment can be thought of and made only through Parliament. That is why we have approached The Parliament. If any amendment is brought forward on this or any suggestion is given that it should be circulated to gather public opinion, we take up that challenge. I do not ask you to take this as an election issue. Do not be afraid of that.

[Interruptions]

We are not making it an election issue. This is an issue to be taken to the people for getting their consent or otherwise. That is not going to affect your offices. Nobody thinks about that. You may remain there. This is not a question of analysis of our different parties. This is a question wherein a particular issue has to be referred to the public. Are you prepared for that? That is what we ask. You are not prepared for that and that is why I say

N.M.Anwar [Madras] Madam on a point of information I have got the highest respect and regard for my good friend Mr.annadurai. But will he kindly explain what there is in retaining the name Madras that has got such worldwide publicity? How is he going to meet that point of view? Where is the difficulty in retaining this worldwide name of Madras?

[Interruptions]

Anna: The only point in answer to the Hon. member Mr.anwar is this. What we gain is our sentimental satisfaction and status of our ancient land. If in Madras we change the name of China Bazaar into Nethaji Subhas Chandra Road nothing is changed in the street but something is changed in our thinking, in our soul, in our fibre. That is why we are pressing for it. not because we think that keeping Madras will be wrong.

N.M.Anwar: My question is not that. We agree that there is something good in calling it Tamil Nadu. But what is your allergy to Madras, which has got a worldwide publicity.

Anna: My allergy is if Madras is used as name of the state, you confuse the capital with the state. Madras is the name of the capital city. Tamil Nadu is the name that ought to be given to the state. There ought to be a distinction between the name of the state and its capital, and therefore, I whole-heartedly support the Bill brought forward and I would commend it to the House.

5 thoughts on “TAMIL NADU IN PARLIAMENT

  1. this is en excellent reading. i am just wondering if there were similar opposition in the parliament or state assemblies when names of madras, bombay and calcutta were changed.

  2. Thanks for your comment. Bangalore Tamil Sangam had erected Thiruvalluvar Statue on the banks of Ulsoor lake. Due to stiff opposition of Kannadiga Chaluvaliga party, a very tiny party, for years covered with gunny bag the statue stands waiting for someone to open it. Police guards the statue. In Tamil Nadu we even build temples for North india born Cine star Khusboo, and allow all statues to come up. But Thiruvalluvar remains under Police guard in Karnataka where Tamil Members of assembly are chosen by Karnataka Tamils are sitting quiet.

    N.Nandhivarman

  3. Saravanan Mooshiganathan

    I learn lot of english here, we hardly find such a person with the presence of mind and to put forward the pertinent content with such a presentation. I wish many to read this.

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