TN Governor refers to himself as ‘Tamilagam Aalunar’ in Pongal invite, kicks up row

Governor RN Ravi and the DMK government have been at loggerheads after the former referred to Tamil Nadu as ‘Tamilagam’ and called Dravidian politics “regressive”.
RN Ravi Tamilagam Row
RN Ravi Tamilagam Row
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A day after Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi stormed out of the state Assembly, a Pongal invitation sent from the Raj Bhavan has stirred a new controversy. In the invite, RN Ravi addressed the state as ‘Tamilagam’ instead of Tamil Nadu. The invitation read, "Tamilaga Aalunar (Governor of Tamilagam) RN Ravi and Lakshmi Ravi cordially invite you to participate in the Pongal festival that is scheduled on Thursday, January 12 at the Governor's Residence (Raj Bhavan), Chennai." 

The controversial invitation comes on the heels of a row kicked up by the Governor recently, when he suggested that Tamil Nadu be renamed to ‘Tamilagam’. Madurai Member of Parliament Su Venkatesan pointed out on Tuesday, January 10, that an invitation sent for Chithirai Thiruvizha by the Raj Bhavan last year said “Tamil Nadu Governor”, while this was changed in the recent invite. He shared pictures of the two invitations sent from the Governor's office on the two different occasions. The invite from the Governor's office for the Chithirai Vizha said 'Tamil Nadu Governor', however, this was changed to ‘Tamilagam’ in the Pongal invite. “He should be removed from the state at the same speed that he walked out of the Assembly yesterday,” Venkatesan said.

The Governor has also received flak for writing the dates according to the Roman calendar, instead of referring to the Tamil year as ‘Thiruvalluvar Aandu’ and the month as ‘Thai’. Su Venkatesan and other leaders have slammed RN Ravi for excluding markers of Tamil identity in the Pongal invitation.

However, the Governor is referred to as ‘Tamilagam Aalunar’ only in the Tamil invite. An English version of the same, shared by an MP, calls him “Governor of Tamil Nadu”.

The invitation is the latest tussle between the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led Tamil Nadu government and the Governor. The row took a dramatic turn as the Governor on Monday, January 9, skipped some portions of the inaugural address composed by the state government.  Much before he started his speech, DMK allies raised slogans including “Tamil Nadu Vazhgave (Long Live Tamil Nadu)” and “Engal Nadu Tamil Nadu' (Tamil Nadu is our land)”.

The sloganeering came as a protest against the Governor's recent remark that the name of ‘Tamil Nadu’ should be changed to ‘Tamilagam’. Last week, on January 4, Ravi reportedly said that the Dravidian politics in Tamil Nadu is “regressive”. "Unfortunately, in Tamil Nadu, there has been regressive politics, that we are Dravidian, and we have nothing to do with this (Bharat),” the governor said. He also drew a lot of criticism for his comment on the name of the state. He suggested that ‘Tamilagam’ would be a more appropriate name for Tamil Nadu. ‘Nadu’ in Tamil means country, and the Governor seems to suggest that he sees the name ‘Tamil Nadu’ as more indicative of an autonomous region than one that is part of India.

Watch: Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi walked out of Assembly | Karti Chidambaram interview

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