TN govt TV uses Thruvalluvar's photo in saffron robe

Tamil Nadu: Parties oppose govt TV using picture of Thiruvalluvar in saffron robe

The parties said that the incident showed that the AIADMK government was aiding BJP's efforts to 'saffronise' Tamil icons who 'belong to all religions'

Kalvi TV, an educational television channel run by the Tamil Nadu government, ran into a controversy on Sunday after it used a picture of saint-poet Thiruvalluvar in a saffron robe during a telecast.

Principal opposition, DMK, Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), MDMK, and other political parties condemned the move to “saffronise” the poet.

The parties said that the incident showed that the AIADMK government was aiding BJP's efforts to “saffronise” Tamil icons who “belong to all religions” as Thiruvalluvar spoke of brotherhood and peace. Kalvi TV used Thiruvalluvar's picture in saffron robe in its programme that popularises one couplet from Thirukkural written by the saint-point every day.

It was the Tamil Nadu unit of BJP that first used a picture of Thiruvalluvar in saffron robe in 2019, inviting the wrath of political parties in the state. A year later, a government-owned channel using a similar picture has raised many eyebrows in Tamil Nadu, whose government is accused of “aiding” the BJP's attempts to “saffronise” the state.

Former school education minister and DMK MLA Thangam Thennarasu accused the AIADMK government of “mortgaging Tamil culture” after “mortgaging the government.”

“Saffronisation of Thiruvalluvar in a television channel owned by the Tamil Nadu government is unacceptable. It is nothing but poisoning the minds of young students,” he said, demanding action against officials responsible for the “gaffe.”

AMMK chief and MLA of R K Nagar, a constituency that was represented twice by late J Jayalalithaa, said Thiruvalluvar belonged to humankind and denounced efforts to “saffronise” him. He also wanted the School Education Department to rectify the mistake.

MDMK chief Vaiko also condemned the efforts to “saffronise” Thiruvalluvar and asked Kalvi TV to change the controversial picture.

The picture used by the Kalvi TV distinctly different from the one that is generally used by Tamil scholars and the Tamil Nadu government – he is usually attired in a white robe. But the picture shared by the Kalvi TV showed him wearing a saffron-colour robe and his forehead smeared with vibudhi, the scared ash worn by Hindus.

Thirukkural, penned by Thiruvalluvar, offers a remedy or a piece of advice for every issue that the modern world encounters and Modi has quoted from this very fine piece of Tamil literature more than once.