A day after a row erupted over some of its staff reportedly not standing up when Tamil Thai Vazhthu, the state song, was played during the Republic Day celebrations at its Chennai office, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said it respects the customs and practices followed in each region of the country and assured its stance with the Tamil Nadu government as well.
The Tamil Thai Vazhthu had been declared as the state song by the government in December 2021, mandating that those present, except for pregnant women and those with disabilities, should remain standing during its rendition. On Wednesday, January 26, a row erupted after they purportedly did not stand during the song’s rendition at a function. Videos of the employees being questioned over the issue have been doing the rounds. They also show the staff members referring to a Madras High Court order, which stated that it is not mandatory to stand during the song.
The RBI said in a statement that the song was sung on the occasion of the Republic Day on Wednesday as a "mark of deference for the Tamil culture and language." "However, subsequently, in the commotion that ensued, certain unnecessary statements concerning the song had been made, which were uncalled for and regrettable. We are aware that Tamil Thai Vazhthu is the State Song of Tamil Nadu. We wish to reiterate that, as a regulatory body, we respect the customs and practices followed in each region of the country," the central bank said.
It said representatives of the RBI's regional office in Chennai, led by the Regional Director SMN Swamy, called on state Finance Minister P Thiaga Rajan and "assured our stance in this regard."
The incident kicked up a row, as a police complaint was reportedly filed over the issue and several politicians including Finance Minister PTR and MPs Kanimozhi and Su Venaktesan condemned the act.