CHENNAI: The reported directive by the Union Human Resources Ministry to celebrate Teachers’ Day as Guru Utsav henceforth has enraged the pro-Tamil parties in Dravidian Tamil Nadu, who saw it as yet another instance of ‘creeping Sankritisation’, which, they allege, is against the interests of the multi-lingual culture of India in general, and Tamil in particular.
First off the block with criticism was DMK president M Karunanidhi, himself a veteran of the anti-Hindi imposition agitations of the ‘60s. Speaking at the marriage of former Assembly secretary M Selvaraj’s daughter here on Sunday, Karunanidhi charged that the directive was “a perfect example of trying to cause the downfall of Tamil language, those who laboured for it and those who attained great heights because of it, little by little, bit by bit.”
The decision to rechristen the day from Teachers’ Day, as it has been celebrated all along, to Guru Utsav was an Aryan conspiracy to destroy Tamil culture, alleged Karunanidhi, urging all to work for safeguarding the language and culture.
Condemning the move, another prominent pro-Tamil leader, VCK’s Thol Thirumavalavan said, the BJP-led government at the Centre, was acting in a dictatorial manner in imposing this on the states.
“Now that they have simple majority, they are imposing their Hindi-Sanskrit-Hindutva agenda covertly and overtly,” he told Express. The word Guru, he added, has a religious connotation, over and above ‘teacher’.
Echoing their views, another Tamil leader, P Nedumaran said this was yet another example of promoting Sanskrit at the expense of all 22 national languages.
“For all these years, the various states of India have been celebrating the day as Teachers’ Day - Asiriyar in Tamil and corresponding words in other languages. By insisting on giving it a Sanskrit name, it is clear that the Centre’s intention has nothing to do with honouring teachers, for which the day is actually observed, but to impose Sanskrit on the people who speak other languages,” Nedumaran told Express.