Cartoon on anti-Hindi agitation raises storm in TN

Published: 09th June 2012 05:43 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th June 2012 05:49 PM   |  A+A-


Just as the Ambedkar cartoon row was fading, a toon on the anti-Hindi agitation in Tamil Nadu in the 60s in a NCERT class XII text book has kicked up another controversy in the state with key UPA ally DMK demanding its removal and other parties joining the chorus.

The piece by renowned cartoonist R K Laxman printed in the class XII political science book is seen by the Dravidian parties as showing the student agitators against Hindi in 1965 in a poor light.

"The 1938 and 1965 anti-Hindi agitations are moments of pride for DMK. The cartoon ridiculing such a movement would infuriate Tamils. Therefore, the Centre should immediately intervene and ensure it is removed from text books to respect Tamils' sentiments," DMK chief M Karunanidhi said.

The anti-Hindi agitation marked a watershed in Tamil Nadu's politics with DMK making it a focal point of its movement that among other factors ultimately brought the Dravidian party to power unseating the Congress in 1967.

Recalling that DMK's key planks included opposing Hindi's imposition on non-Hindi speaking states, Karunanidhi said he himself as a boy led a protest way back in 1938 on the issue.

Opposition to the cartoon grew with a host of leaders, including MDMK's Vaiko and Dravidar Kazhagam leader K Veeramani, condemning it and demanding its removal.

Raking up the issue first, Vaiko yesterday wrote to HRD Minister Kapil Sibal demanding that the contentious cartoon may be removed even as he announced today that he will lead a protest in this regard on June 11 here.

Veeramani, in a statement, not only demanded the removal of the cartoon but also of Sibal as HRD Minister, saying he was acting against social justice and should own responsibility for all the controversies involving education, social justice and textbooks.

The latest cartoon row has erupted even as the one generated by a 1949 cartoon in an NCERT textbook over the slow progress in the framing of the Constitution has settled down after its removal following protests by parties of all hues.

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