Speaking to the media, students said that singing of a Sanskrit invocation song was a deliberate attempt to sanskritise Dravidian culture.

Tamil Thai Vazhthu controversy Students at IIT Madras join protests Screenshot from Puthiya Thalamurai TV
news Controversy Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 10:03

The controversy over singing a Sanskrit song at an IIT Madras event instead of the usual Tamil Thai Vaazhthu intensified as students began their protest in the campus on Tuesday.

Speaking to the media, students said the incident was a deliberate attempt to Sanskritise Dravidian Culture, according to a Times Now report.

MDMK leader Vaiko raised objections, asking why a Sanskrit song was sung instead of the traditional Tamil anthem.

The controversy erupted when an event at the campus, attended by two Union Ministers – Nitin Gadkari and Pon Radhakrishnan – the transport and shipping ministers respectively -  did not start with the Tamil Thai Vazhthu, the invocation to the Tamil Mother, but with a Sanskrit prayer to Ganapathi. This was questioned by opposition parties in the State.

Vaiko even went on to say that the two Union Ministers should tender an apology for the incident for going against the standard norm of playing the Tamil anthem at any event.

In every state function in Tamil Nadu, it is compulsory to play the Tamil Thai Vazhthu at the beginning, as an invocation song. The custom in Tamil Nadu is that people present must stand for the invocation, whether they are on or off stage. However, in this case, it remains unclear if this constitutes a state function since union ministers were present in a centrally funded educational institution.

Slamming the move on social media, DMK spokesperson Saravanan Annadurai wrote, “One person is saying Tamil is a beautiful language and he regrets not being able to speak it, another one is saying he loves Sanskrit. This is like pinching the baby and rocking the cradle all by oneself. It is their design.”

Meanwhile, the authorities at IIT said that students chose to sing a Sanskrit invocation song instead of the Thai Vaazhthu, and nothing was imposed on them, according to the report.

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