Tamil Nadu Governor Ravi holds new event to honour Thiruvalluvar, draws DMK’s ire


Published May 24, 2024 | 11:38 PMUpdatedMay 24, 2024 | 11:38 PM

RN Ravi celebrates Thiruvalluvar Day

The Tamil Nadu Raj Bhavan on Friday, 24 May celebrated the legacy of Tamil poet-saint Thiruvalluvar to mark what it called the ‘Vaikasi Anusham Valluvar Thirunaal’, in brief, the Thiruvalluvar Day festival, showing him in saffron attire, drawing the ire of the ruling DMK.

Vaikasi is one of the months in the Tamil calendar that falls between May and June and Anusham is a star believed to be associated with the poet. Thirunaal is a special day and Vizha denotes festival.

While Thiruvalluvar Day has been officially celebrated in the state for 50 years in January, the Raj Bhavan has, in a first, held an event to honour the poet on ‘Vaikasi Anusham’.

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DMK’s criticism of RN Ravi

The portrait of Thiruvalluvar in saffron attire with Hindu religious marks was the event’s backdrop and was also featured in front of the rostrum and the invite to the function was in the same style, which did not go down well with the DMK.

By showing Thiruvalluvar in saffron, senior DMK leader TKS Elangovan said that Governor RN Ravi was trying to insult Tamils and criticised him for choosing a particular star (Vaikasi Anusham) to observe Thiruvalluvar Day.

Law minister S Raghupathy said there was “no cure” for being adamant, apparently indicating at Ravi’s past run-ins with the DMK government over many issues.

Party spokesperson J Constandine Ravindran said this was nothing but an effort by the Governor to belittle both Thiruvalluvar and the Tamil people. While Thiruvalluvar is common to all the people and religions, he alleged that Ravi depicting the poet in saffron denigrates the revered saint, the values espoused by Thirukkural and the people of Tamil Nadu.

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TNCC president K Selvaperunthagai also slammed Ravi for showing Thiruvalluvaru in saffron robes.

BJP Tamil Nadu vice president Narayanan Thirupathy asked what was wrong in showing Thiruvalluvar in saffron. He asked if the saint-poet is shown in white attire, “will it represent Christianity?” He added that Thiruvalluvar had traditionally been represented with Hindu religious marks as he was a Hindu saint.

The Raj Bhavan backdrop for the event and invitation for the function said, ‘Thiruvalluvar Thirunaal Vizha’ and ‘Vaikasi Anusham Valluvar Thirunaal’.

When was Thiruvalluvar Day initially celebrated?

Speaking about the background, archaeologist and historian S Ramachandran said that in 1966, the then Congress government issued a Government Order, “which declared the day (Vaikasi Anusham) on which saint Thiruvalluvar attained ‘Mukthi’ as Thiruvalluvar Day” and a holiday was announced.

“That day falls in the Tamil month of Vaikasi and the related star was Anusham and that explains Vaikasi Anusham,” he said.

On 2 June 1966, Vaikasi Anusham was observed as Thiruvalluvar Day and to mark the occasion, a statue of Thiruvalluvar was unveiled by then President S Radhakrishnan in the presence of then Chief Minister M Bhakthavatsalam and Chennai Mayor M Minor Moses, who belonged to the DMK.

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However, the DMK regime, in 1971, designated the second day of Tamil month Thai (in January) as Thiruvalluvar Day. The Thiruvalluvar temple at Mylapore in Chennai in which Governor Ravi offered prayers on Friday belongs to 14th century CE (Common Era), he said.

Incidentally, in January 2024, Ravi paid floral tributes to a portrait of Thiruvalluvar in saffron attire and Chief Minister MK Stalin had then asserted that no one could ‘stain’ the bard.

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