"Tamil Nationalism" has a history of teaching the Centre not to play master with the state, theatre activist and professor Mangai told JNU students who are agitating against the arrest of fellow students in a sedition case.
"Historically, we in Tamil Nadu have talked about issues in the public. It has not just been about intellectuals, but involved discussions and debates from everyone.
"Yes, things get ugly, sometimes things get aggressive. But what Tamil Nationalism has taught the Centre is to not play the master with the state," Mangai said.
The lecture titled "Exploring Tamil Nationalism historically" was eleventh in the series of nationalism lectures at varsity's administration block, which is the venue for the student agitation against imposition of sedition charges on a few students for an event against the hanging of Afzal Guru where "anti-national" slogans were raised.
"In Tamil Nadu, we have learnt growing up being against three things - anti-Hindi, anti-Centre, anti-national. That is how the state seems to be function. It is great to express solidarity with this movement from Tamil Nadu," Mangai said.
Tracing the origin of DMK as a political party since 1949 and how the party negotiated power with the Centre through the course of time, Mangai said, "They were always willing to negotiate with Indian government. The understanding was clear-in the state, we want to have autonomy, in the Centre, we are okay with a federal structure".
The open-air lectures are being organised to protest the branding of the university as "anti-national" and the arrest of the JNUSU leader Kanhaiya Kumar.