Vaiko protests against cartoon in textbook

Vaiko protests against cartoon in textbook

Says cartoon on anti-Hindi stir hurts sentiments of Tamil people

MDMK leader Vaiko on Friday protested against a “deplorable depiction” of anti-Hindi agitation in Tamil Nadu in the 1960s. This comes close on the heels of the row over the “Ambedkar cartoon” by the renowned cartoonist Shankar.

“A cartoon appears in Page No 153 in the chapter ‘Politics in India since Independence’ in the political science book for 12th standard released by the NCERT,” which depicts the students who participated in the anti-Hindi agitation as “ignorant and (who) indulged in violence,” Vaiko said in a letter to Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, urging him to withdraw it immediately.

Tracing the anti-Hindi stir’s history in the state as early as the 1930s by Tamil scholars and others who feared that Hindi imposition would result in non-Hindi speaking people in the country reduced to second-class citizens, Vaiko pointed out that despite former Prime Minister Pandit Nehru’s assurance later, Hindi was still thrust as the “official language” in 1965.

This had triggered another wave of the anti-Hindi agitation under the leadership of DMK founder C N Annadurai.  Even Rajaji who advocated Hindi in the 1930s, turned against the language being imposed on non-Hindi speaking people in the mid-1960s, Vaiko pointed out.

Students in Tamil Nadu then participated in large numbers in the anti-Hindi agitation, “braving brutal oppression by the police and the Army,” he said.

Stressing that such a “glorious chapter in the political history of Tamil Nadu” should not be belittled, Vaiko said the cartoon depicted in the NCERT textbook was a total distortion of history, hurt the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu and maligned the Dravidian Movement.

“I would, therefore, request you to take steps to remove this cartoon from the textbook and honour the emotions of the people of Tamil Nadu,” Vaiko said in his letter to Sibal, copy of which was released to the media here. The MDMK leader also sent a similar letter to Prof Sinclair, NCERT chief.

Senior leaders of other political parties, including DMK Deputy General Secretary and former State PWD Minister Durai Murugan, joined issue with NCERT and said such cartoons offending the sentiments of the Tamil Nadu people was totally unacceptable and should be removed.

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