A day after he walked out of the Tamil Nadu Assembly following a face-off with Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi on Tuesday disapproved of the ruling DMK’s use of the Tamil term “ ondirya arasu” to denote the Union government.
Mr. Ravi said he was fine with people using the term “Union government” to refer to the Government of India, but he felt the term being translated into Tamil as “ ondriya arasu” was not acceptable.
Interacting with a batch of civil services aspirants who have cleared their Civil Services (Main) Exam and were looking forward to their interviews, the Governor shared his view that the word “ ondriyam” referred to a sub-district, sub-divisional level structure in the hierarchy and was used for the Union government perhaps with an intention to “belittle” and be “disrespectful” to the Union government.
He was responding to a query from an aspirant on how to answer a question on the “Central government” versus “Union government” controversy in Tamil Nadu. Since coming to power, the present DMK government in Tamil Nadu began using “ ondriya arasu” in all its communications, a move that attracted criticism mainly from the Bharatiya Janata Party, which heads the NDA government at the Centre.
According to Mr. Ravi, the term “ ondriyam” to refer to the Union government would have been acceptable if there was no “lower level social structure” called “ ondriyam” in the society.
Mr. Ravi said he himself used the term “Union government” often and there was no confusion about the fact that India is a Union of the States. The problem in Tamil Nadu was because the term “ ondriya arasu” is used in a “politically overloaded” manner in a “political game” of playing down (the importance of the Union government), he added.
Meanwhile, an invitation distributed by the Raj Bhavan for Pongal celebrations slated for January 12 on the campus came in for criticism for using the Government of India’s emblem instead of the Government of Tamil Nadu’s emblem.
The invitation, which has been distributed over the past few days, was also criticised for the use of the word “Tamizhaga” instead of “Tamil Nadu.”
Only a week ago, the Governor had remarked that he preferred the word “Tamizhagam” than “Tamil Nadu” to refer to the State, attracting criticism from all major parties except the BJP.
The Governor’s office could not be reached for a comment on the invitation despite many attempts.
On Tuesday, at several places, there were attempts by certain outfits to burn Mr. Ravi in effigy protesting against his “selective deviation” while reading out the Governor’s address in the Assembly.
Seven Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK) members were arrested at Tiruchi for attempting to set fire to an effigy.