'Tamil Thai Vazhthu' to be Tamil Nadu's official anthem, CM Stalin announces

The anthem should be sung at all functions in educational institutions and state government offices and would be encouraged at private functions as well, the government said.
MK Stalin
MK Stalin
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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Friday, December 17, announced the ‘Tamil Thai Vazhthu’ as the state anthem, an official government statement said. According to the statement, the anthem should be sung at the start of all functions in educational institutions, universities, state government offices and state government undertakings. All must stand up when it is being sung, it said, however, people with disabilities would be exempt.

The DMK government has also ordered that instead of playing the recorded state anthem, it should be sung by those who are trained to sing the same. The government said it would encourage singing of the anthem in private functions as well. According to the government, “the time has come to codify the norms for singing the ‘Tamil Thai Vazhthu’”.

The ‘Tamil Thai Vazhthu’ is an excerpt of a poem by writer Manonmaniam Sundaram Pillai penned in 1891 and adopted in 1970 by then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi as the state’s “prayer song.” Legendary composer MS Viswanathan scored the music for the stanzas that were to be adopted as Tamil Nadu’s anthem.

Recently, the Madras High Court held that ‘Tamil Thai Vazhthu’ is a prayer song and not an anthem, and there is no order mandating people to stand when it is sung. The court was deciding on a case filed after the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Pontiff Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal did not stand up when the song was played resulting in a controversy.

Recently, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) did not play the song during its convocation ceremony, and state Education Minister K Ponmudy had written to IIT-M Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi to play the song at all of the institute’s functions.

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