Chennai, Sep 30 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi should also tell his cabinet colleagues about the antiquity of Tamil language and its culture, said a DMK leader.
He also welcomed Modi quoting Tamil poet Kaniyan Pungundranar during his speech in the United Nations on September 27.
“Citing the antiquity of the language Modi quoted Kaniyan Pungundranar. We welcome it,” DMK spokesperson and Member of Parliament T. K. S. Elangovan told IANS.
“There is literary evidence of Tamil’s antiquity. Now with new excavations in Tamil Nadu, there is archaeological evidence as well about the antiquity of Tamil and the Tamil culture,” Elangovan added.
Stressing that the party is against Hindi imposition and not against the language, Elangovan added: “Modi should also tell about the Tamil’s antiquity to his Home Minister (Amit Shah) and Human Resources Development Minister (Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank).”
Indian Prime Ministers speaking few words in Tamil while addressing public rallies in Tamil Nadu is not new.
But perhaps it is for the first time that an Indian Prime Minister quoted an ancient Tamil literature and the poet who wrote about it.
During his recent speech at the 75the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Modi highlighted India’s message of inclusiveness quoting Tamil poet Kaniyan Pungundranar of 3,000 years ago and said, “We belong to all places and we belong to everyone.”
“The sense of belonging beyond borders is unique to India,” he had said.
On Monday, speaking to partymen at the airport here Modi said his quoting Tamil poet Kaniyan Pungundranar’s statement has become the talk of American media.
Elangovan said, speeches at international forum is different and governance is different.
Recently Shah in a series of tweets on the occasion of Hindi Diwas said: “India is a country of different languages, and every language has its own importance. But it’s important to have one language for the whole country, which should become the identity of India in the world. Today, if one language can do the work of unifying the country, then it’s Hindi, the most spoken language.”
This created a big uproar in Tamil Nadu and DMK initially announced a statewide protest but later withdrew.
There is also a view that Modi invoked Kaniyan Pungundranar’s work with an eye on Tamil Nadu politics though Elangovan does not want to read too much into that.
Meanwhile, as per reports, former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had spoken in Tamil in the UNGA in 2008.