Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings - N.NandhivarmanRemembering the 1965 Anti Hindi  Struggle

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The Riots in Tamilnad: Problems and  Prospects of India's Language Crisis  Robert 1. Hardgrave, Jr. "On January 26, 1965, Republic Day, in pursuance of Article 343 of the Constitution, Hindi became the official language of India (on the 50th Anniversary of Independence Day). The South, and Tamilnad (i.e., Madras State) particularly, long opposed to the "imposition" of Hindi, reacted predictably in the preceding weeks. Rajaji (C. Rajagopalachari), former Congress Chief Minister of Madras and now leader of the conservative Swatantra Party, convened the Madras State Anti-Hindi Conference in Tiruchirappalli on January 17. With the podium graced by two of Tamilnad's most powerful mill owners, Thiagaraja Chettiar and G. D. Naidu, Rajaji lashed out against the government's language policy and proclaimed the determination of the Tamil people to resist Hindi as an "unwise, unjust and discriminatory tyranny." The Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) Party, the self-proclaimed vanguard of Tamil nationalism, designated January 26 as a day of mourning. The cries against "Hindi imperialism" were long familiar, but the tragedy which was to follow was one for which the government and the nation were wholly unprepared. The students, who feared that the change-over to Hindi would inflict severe disabilities on non-Hindi speakers, became increasingly anxious about their own futures. Since the most highly coveted jobs are in the central government services, the students saw the change from English to Hindi as the language of administration as "a life and death matter." Their mother tongue was Tamil. England was the medium of instruction in the colleges and universities. Would they now be confronted by government service examinations in what was for them a foreign language and in competition with those for whom it was a mother tongue? The Chief Minister of Madras, Bhaktavatsalam, threatened the students with "stern action" against their participation in politics, and warned that agitations on Republic Day would not be tolerated. In compliance with the demand that the 26th not be dishonored, the students throughout Tamilnad decided to demonstrate their opposition to Hindi one day earlier, on January 25. In Madurai, as throughout the State, the students began painting posters and signs. "Down with Hindi." "Hindi never, English ever." Though serious in purpose, the mood was light. On the morning of the 25th, the students of one of Madurai's colleges assembled in front of the college's gate to burn a huge effigy of the Hindi "demoness" and to begin their march through the city. No one expected trouble. As the students marched through the streets of hladurai, they were joined by processions from other colleges, and, falling in behind, by the city's high school boys. According to reports, as the students approached the Congress Party District Office, which lay along their route, some Congress "volunteers" who had just driven up in a jeep began to shout insults and obscenities at the students. A volley of chappals (sandals) from the students returned the insults, and provoked the "volunteers" who rushed from the Party office armed with  sharp curved knives used for cutting paddy and attacked the students, wounding seven. A riot broke out, as the students set fire to the panda1 constructed before the office for the Republic Day festivities to be held the following day, and then set fire to the jeep. As the riot gained proportion, the police, no longer able to contain it, teargassed and charged the students, dispersing the mob. In the two months of anti-Hindi demonstrations and rioting which followed in Madras, more than sixty people were shot in police-firings, and unofficial reports placed the number of deaths as high as three hundred. Two young men poured gasoline upon their bodies and immolated themselves. Hindi books were burned, and the Hindi signs in railway stations were defaced or ripped down. All colleges and high schools were closed, and the students' demonstrations gave way to the mob violence of rowdies. Near Coimbatore, two policemen were beaten to death by a mob and their bodies burned. In Madras City, the police lost control as mobs burned railway cars and looted stores. The brutality of police-firings and lathi-charges only deepened resentment, and, if the rioting threw Tamilnad into a state of shock, it too opened the wounds of deep frustration and expressed a more general discontent."

Selected Writings - N.Nandhivarman

Remembering the 1965 Anti Hindi  Struggle

Kellapaluvur Chinnasamy, Kodambakkam Sivalingam
and Veerukkambakkam Aranganathan

Thannai Velvan Tharani Velvan'

27 January 2008

"It is claimed that Hindi should be common language because it is spoken by the majority. Why should we then claim the tiger as our national animal instead of the rat which is so much more numerous? Or the peacock as our national bird when the crow is ubiquitous? ...A man had two dogs - a big one and a small one. He wanted his dogs to go in and out of the house freely without him having to keep the house door open all the time. So he built two "trap doors" - one big trap door for the big dog and one small for the small dog. Neighbors who saw these two doors laughed at him and called him an idiot. Why put a big door and a small door? All that was needed was the big door. Both the big and the small dog could use it! Indian government's arguments for making Hindi the official or link language of India are as ridiculous as the need for a big door and a small door for the big dog and the small dog. Indian government agrees that English is needed for communication with the world, and every school in India teaches English after the fifth grade. Then the Indian government says that all of us should know Hindi also in order to communicate amongst ourselves within India. I ask, "Since every school in India teaches English, why can't it be our link language? Why do Tamils have to study English for communication with the world and Hindi for communications within India? Do we need a big door for the big dog and a small door for the small dog? I say, let the small dog use the big door too!"  C N Annadurai, 1962

[see also Beginnings of the Tamil Rebellion in Tamilnadu
  A Chronology of Anti-Hindi Agitations in Tamil Nadu and What the Future Holds - Thanjai Nalankilli and
Passions of the Tongue : Language Devotion in Tamil India, 1891-1970 Sumathi Ramaswamy - It was a quiet, cool January dawn in the South-Indian city of Tiruchirapalli in the year 1964. A can in his hand, a man named Chinnasami left his home�leaving behind his aging mother, young wife, and infant daughter�and walked to the city�s railway station. On reaching there, he doused himself with its contents and set himself on fire, shouting out aloud, �inti olika!tamiḻ vālka!� (Death to Hindi! May Tamil flourish!). Chinnasami�s example was not lost. A year later, to the date, history repeated itself but not necessarily as farce: five other men burned themselves alive �at the altar of Tamil.� Three others died just as painfully�not in a raging blaze, but by swallowing insecticide�also for the sake of Tamil, they declared in their own last words..]


I am enclosing in pdf format a Digital Banner which Dravida Peravai party men in Coimbatore, Sivagangai and other Districts are planning to display in Karaikal on 28 January 2008.

The Karaikal Union Territory Struggle Group will hold meetings to recall the sacrifices of numerous Tamil scholars, DMK cadres and leaders , Union Ministers of Congress including C.Subramanian and O.V.Alagesan who resigned in protest, and the brave youth who committed self immolation in the Anti Hindi Struggle of January 1965.

The hunt for collecting pictures of all martyrs proved to be a daunting task. In the whole world LTTE alone sets a trend of honouring all its martyrs.

மண்ணில் விழைந்த முத்துக்களே... 

Subhas Chandra Bose Even in the Indian freedom struggle such nobility which impels us to accord due recognition to all martyrs seems to be absent. The victory was laid at the doors of Mahatma Gandhi. Though they played a greater role, there is no equal recognition of the sacrifices of Indian National Army led by Nethaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

The 562 princely states were welded into an Union by the Iron Man of India Sardar Vallababhai Patel, whose services too were not given due recognition in the hurry to focus limelight on Lord Mountbatten backed Premier Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, whom Aringnar Anna used to call as the last democrat in Congress party.

If even that last democrat did not give due recognition to many leaders like Nethaji or VOC, this is not the time to compile a list. It is simply to point out the significance of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam paying homage to all its martyrs in Maaveerar Thuyilimidangal. There are monuments to the Unknown soldiers of Second World War and Kargil War, but these are nowhere like the memorials established by the LTTE where every live sacrificed is recognized.

Given all this, I was moved to recall the sacrifices of the martyrs of the 1965 Anti Hindi Agitation in an appropriate banner.

I asked a painter to prepare a portrait of Sinnasamy, Sivilingam and Aranganathan, the three of those who sacrificed  their lives in  the pictures I got from my old collection of Murasoli papers. The others were Ayyampalayam Veerappan, Keranoor Muthu, Mayavaram Sarangapani and
Satyamangalam Muthu.

From the book Struggle for Freedom of Languages in India written by former Vice Chancellor of Alagappa University and released by Dr.Kalaignar M.Karunanithi just few months before he last became Chief Minister, I obtained the photographs of all the 6 martyrs who committed self immolation. Their pictures are in the top of the banner.

All the pictures of the student leaders who led the struggle including L.Ganesan, P.Srinivasan who defeated Kamaraj, Kalimuthu, Durai Murugan, Sasikala's husband M.Nadarajan and I with others are also in the banner. Poet Perumchithranar, Peraringnar Deveneya Pavanar, K.A.P.Viswanatham, and some of such scholars are in the banner though Maraimalaiadigal and others are left out.

Kalaignar was imprisoned under National Security Act and put in solitary confinement at Palayamkottai prison. Aringnar Anna who visited his cell saw a writing in the wall of the entrance which read Thannai Velvan Tharani Velvan. Anna wrote his letter to Thambikku with that phrase as title.

Dravida Peravai had broken away from DMK in 1994 on the Eelam issue, at the same time as when Vaiko parted company. But we will not forget Kalaignar's sacrifices, that is why we have put the photograph of his struggle to rename Dalmiapuram back to its original Tamil name Kallakidi.

On 9 January1965, Professor C.Ilakuvanar who was to have started Thamizh Urimai Perunadai, a marathon walk to Chennai to press for Tamil medium of instruction, was arrested under National Security Act and lost his job. I should have accompanied him, but due to his arrest I had to cancel before I could start to Madurai.

After DMK came to power there was a delay in his reinstatement. At the 1968 Anti Hindi Conference organized at Kodaikanal by Raja Mohammad and Sedapatti Muthiah,  students trying to pass a resolution condemning the Tamil Nadu Government. Aringnar Anna, the Chief Minister who came to address the conference asked for the proposed resolutions and while reading searched for a pen, which I gave since I was sitting in the back. Anna wrote something. While he spoke what he wrote was revealed. He said "Thambis have forgotten that he is annan, that is why on the Ilakuvanar issue they are going to pass a resolution. But before coming to Kodaikanal orders to reinstate Professor Ilakuvanar had already been issued". At Anna's announcement there was thunderous applause.

That Professor Ilakuvanar's picture is in the banner. Scientist G.D.Naidu organized Non Hindi States Conference at Coimbatore on 25-26 January 1969 where I also spoke in my capacity as Student DMK leader from Puducherry State.

In one banner we have tried to bring all these historical events. Having said everything I must point out that in the banner I have referred to UNESCO recognition of the Bangladeshi struggle and celebrating world mother languages day on that day. The failure of Tamils to tell the world about the sacrifices in the Anti Hindi 1965 struggle led to Tamil losing that honour.

Since the banner is meant to be carried if I go abroad, the names in English scanned from the English book remains in English.

It is my appeal to all Tamils  to add whatever they know and use this banner editing it according to their taste and inputs in their hand, and the ultimate aim of all of us should be to honour the memory of the Tamil martyrs in the 1965 anti Hindi imperialism Struggle


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