PM Narendra Modi’s frequent visits to Tamil Nadu, his “love” for Tamil culture exposed

Just before the election campaign dates were announced Prime Minister Narendra Modi started a spate of visits to Tamil Nadu, making his presence felt in several cities, combining official duties and party campaigns. In a high voltage campaign he declared an “affinity with the people of Tamil Nadu and the heritage of Tamil People”, the author, a young Tamil journalist exposes the Modi 2.0 government’s shoddy treatment of the state through a look at figures around allocation of central funds for the classical Tamil language, excavation of ancient sites as heritage and more
Image: ANI

Donning a Dhoti and eating Dosa-Vada will never make someone a Tamilian!

Holding road shows, rallies, public meetings etc., what has been the response from the ground?

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister, recently held a road show in Chennai. The place at which the road show is Pondy Bazar (Soundarapandian Bazar), Thiyagaraya Nagar, one of the busiest bazars of Chennai and this area is crowded at all times. Modi planned his road show on the April 9, to suit and fit the Telugu New Year – Ugadi.

Due to the protocol around the PM visit, the area’s parking areas were blocked on the previous day and the shops were closed on the day of road show. Modi named his road show – Jan Dharshan Yatra. But since the shops were closed, the crowd brought in from various other parts of Chennai were the only ones present. So it was not Jan Dharsahan Yatra, it was a usual Modi show! The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was observed struggling to pull off a decent crowd for the road show and we could spot many empty spots and places covered with white blankets. If there is so much of “josh” for Modi as is being projected in Godi Media, even those among the people who are supporting BJP should have been seen crowding the rally bazar. But this did not happen.

When a gang shouted, Aap ki baar, Charsau baar (This time, Cross 400!), the internet trolled the slogan with a response, Aap ki baar, Choco bar! Also, as always during a visit of Modi to Tamil Nadu, the trending hashtags on X, were #ModiDownDown along with #GobackModi.

We visited the Pondy Bazar area, the day after the road show, people in the shops expressed anger due to protocols around the road show. They raised serious complaints against the road show and the protocol formalities. A shop keeper said, “Yesterday was Ugadhi, upcoming days are Ramzan and Tamil Chitirai Festival. These are days of potential high sales. The rally ruined everything”. This is the reality of the area in which Modi held the road show.

Is Modi really fond of Tamil and Tamil Nadu?

During his recent visits to Tamil Nadu, Modi declared he ‘wanted to learn Tamil; he wished he had been born in the Tamil Community; he wanted/wants to raise Tamil Nadu on par with the National average.’ Is this true? 

The stats shows otherwise.

The Tamil Language has received step motherly treatment from the Modi regime, The allocation of funds for classical Tamil is very low as compared to Sanskrit and Hindi. Not only Tamil, other classical languages such as Telugu, and Kannada have also received a very low funding compared to Sanskrit. The union government released a grant of Rs 1,074 crore for the promotion of Sanskrit between 2017-2022, according to reply obtained under RTI from the Central Sanskrit University (CSU) in New Delhi. Other classical languages such as Tamil, Telugu and Kannada have been getting significantly lower allocations. In response to unstarred questions by five Members of Parliament (MPs), the Ministry of Culture in 2020 stated that only Rs 22.94 crore was allocated for Tamil while Telugu and Kannada received Rs 3 crore each during 2017-20. The New Indian Express had filed 13 queries with the Central Public Information Officers (CPIOs) on the fund allocation for the promotion of all classical languages on March 16, out of which only two were answered.

“One of the main objectives of the CSU is to promote and propagate Sanskrit learning, teaching, and research. The Ministry of Education releases 100% grants to CSU. The university was provided with Rs 1,074 crore for the five years, out of which Rs 407.41 crore was released during the Covid-hit years (2020-21 and 2021-22),” said CSU CPIO Dr RG Murali Krishnan, in an answer to the RTI.

For Tamil Heritage and Civilisation, Modi’s Union government is not at all interested to showcase one of the enduring and ancient civilisations of the World.

Keezhadi, a site near Madurai was excavated and many ancient artefacts and a deep civilisational remains have been found. The excavation was led by Archealogist Amarnath Ramakrishnan of ASI in the period between 2013 and 2016. This site is estimated to be from the period between 5th century BCE and 3rd century CE. Samples were sent to Carbon dating from this site and confirmed that the samples date back to 2200 years! But when the first two phases of excavation were at the finishing stage, in 2017, Amarnath Ramakrishnan was transferred and the Report of the two-phased excavation was never released. Even after the Madurai bench of Madras High Court direction to a PLI filed, Tamil Nadu is still waiting for the Union Government to release the report. Tamil Nadu government allocates Rs 5 Crore every year for the excavation alone and 10th phase of excavation is soon to start at Keezhadi. Tamil Nadu chief minister M.K. Stalin inaugurated the Keeladi museum with 15,000 unique artefacts unearthed, built at a cost of ₹18 crore, this March (2024).

In the last budget Tamil Nadu allocated Rs. 40 Crore for development of Tamil language and culture. Where is Modi and his Union Government here?

Donning a Dhoti and eating Dosa-Vada will never make someone a Tamilian. In fact Tamil people have loved many who were not born in Tamil Nadu, but contributed for their upliftment. We celebrate ‘Veera Maamuni’ who came here as a missionary with a name ‘Constantine Joseph Beschi’ during the early 18th century, but has written wonderful, profound, poetry titled ‘Thembavani’. We celebrate G.U.Pope for translating ‘Thirukural’ to English. Modi, being PM for a decade has never made any substantial contribution to Tamil heritage, history, culture and the Tamil language despite his massive and brute majority in Parliament.

There was a Prime Minister who is still celebrated by Tamil Nadu, who paved the way for implementing the Mandal Commission for OBC reservation, who even lost his Prime Ministership for doing so – Thiru V.P.Singh! When he was hospitalised, hundreds of Tamil people had written letters offering to be a donor for his kidney transplant. Thousands of Tamil people wrote in, wishing him good health. Modi in his decade in government has argued in Courts against the Reservations. Modi can never be a part of Tamil culture.

(The author is an independent Tamil journalist with YouTube channels , Peralai, AranSei)



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