Marudhu brothers anniversary: TN govt trying to erase history, alleges Governor RN Ravi

Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi expresses concern over prohibitory orders issued in Sivaganga ahead of the anniversaries of Marudhu brothers and Muthuramalinga Thevar.
Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi speaking in the stage
Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi speaking in the stage Twitter/Raj Bhavan, Tamil Nadu
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Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi, on Tuesday, October 24, said that it was “shocking and outrageous” that the state government issued prohibitory orders in Sivaganga district ahead of the anniversaries of Marudhu brothers and Muthuramalinga Thevar for a law and order issue that happened 11 years ago. The Governor also expressed disappointment over icons like the Marudhu brothers being reduced to caste leaders despite their participation in the national freedom struggle.

The Marudhu brothers, Periya Marudhu and Chinna Marudhu, were rulers of the Sivagangai kingdom towards the end of the 18th century and were executed for their rebellion against the British.

Ravi said the Tamil Nadu society was badly fragmented along caste lines and that he is yet to come across any state where school students wear caste bands to school. He also wondered if Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel, and Shaheed Bhagat Singh had been born in Tamil Nadu, they too would have been reduced to caste leaders. He was speaking at an event organised by an IAS coaching centre in Trichy celebrating Marudhu brothers’ memorial day.

Stating that he was given a list of nearly 40 freedom fighters when he arrived at Tamil Nadu two years ago, he said that Marudhu brothers were not on the list. He also asked why a state like Tamil Nadu has only 40 freedom fighters on its official list.

 “The state is trying to erase them from the memory of the people. They are also removed from school textbooks though occasionally leaders will pay floral tributes on their anniversaries for vote banks. There is no recognition from the government and people will forget them. But the communities which these leaders came from, they will not forget,” he said. He also questioned the government decision to stop the celebrations of political leaders based on past incidents of violence or lawn and order situation associated with such events. “But when it comes to events of national importance, the government issues prohibitory order,” he claimed.

Accusing the state government of trying to erase these leaders from popular memory, RN Ravi said, “Why is it that the state and authorities don’t celebrate these leaders and do a guru puja? The answer is simple. It is because they [the state government] feel scared when people talk about the national freedom movement here. Those in authority here are shy of talking about the national freedom movement and national freedom warriors. The moment you talk about these leaders, they are exposed because they [the DMK government] were the people who worked against the national freedom movement. They were the people who had collaborated with the British to defeat the national freedom movement. These are all matters of record. They were agents of the British,” he said. Stating that the British maintained good documentation, he said that their archives in London show who the “agents of British” were.

He also claimed that a concerted attempt has been made in the state to erase the history of the place and a false narrative of racial divide has been created to write a parallel history of this place. “Who was the father of this theory? It was Robert Caldwell. He is the one who wrote the grammar of the Dravidian language and tried to create a theory of the hypothesis that Dravidian is a separate race….. It was the British design to divide the country, and fragment it as much as possible,” he said.

Without naming anyone, he also slammed those who observed August 15, 1947, as a ‘black day’. “While the country and its people were celebrating, they observed it as a day of mourning. These are all facts of history. That's why they are mortally scared to discuss the Nationalism movement and Nationalism freedom movement warriors,” he alleged.

Reacting to the statements made by Governor Ravi, DMK MP TR Baalu said the Governor was “speaking unabashed lies while sitting unashamedly in the post created by the colonial rulers”. According to a Times of India report, he also listed the programmes and memorials by the state government for freedom fighters. The MP also said that the Governor should quit the post and “become a politician, leader of the BJP or the RSS”, and added that the governor’s speeches against the government and people of Tamil Nadu was a betrayal of the Indian Constitution.

“If we were to flip through the pages of history, we will understand who wrote to the British seeking forgiveness and who went to prison for writing an editorial in the Kudiyarasu magazine [then published by Periyar E V Ramasamy] on why the [colonial] regime should end. Until then, Raj Bhavan, keep your mouth shut,” he said.

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