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Hometamil-naduNational freedom fighters in TN reduced to caste leaders, says Guv

National freedom fighters in TN reduced to caste leaders, says Guv

Tiruchirappalli :Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi on Monday claimed that great national freedom fighters like the Maruthu brothers and Muthuramalinga Thevar have been reduced to the stature of caste leaders in the state due to a political conspiracy to promote the British Dravidian narrative. Celebrations commemorating their sacrifices have been privatised, he said.

“A concerted attempt has been made in this state to erase the history of this place, to write a parallel history. A false narrative on racial divide of Dravidian and Aryan was created,” Ravi claimed at an event here after paying floral tributes to a portrait of the Maruthu brothers, Periya Maruthu and Chinna Maruthu.

“Do you know who the father of Dravidian theory is? Who gave it? It was Robert Caldwell who created the hypothesis that Dravidian is a separate race,” the Governor said. Caldwell, a missionary, was a school dropout and over time he became an expert on languages, he added.

“It was the British design to divide the country and they picked up collaborators during the freedom movement,” he said. A counter-freedom movement on Aryan and Dravidian divide was created during the Independence movement and it started destroying the institutions that defined this place, the Governor claimed.

But Tamil Nadu, Ravi said, was a land of great spiritual leaders, ‘siddhars’, ‘rishis’, and a land that produced a large number of warriors.

The Maruthu brothers were perhaps the first freedom fighters of India who ignited the national freedom movement long before others woke up to it, by giving up their lives and by providing a conceptual framework — Jambudweep prakatanam — for the whole of India, Ravi said, adding that the declaration was placed in Srirangam temple in Tiruchirappalli.

He recalled that two years ago, he received a list of Tamil Nadu’s freedom fighters containing less than 40 names and was disappointed to note that there was no mention of the Maruthu brothers. He wondered that if a small state like Nagaland, where he served as Governor earlier, could have more than one thousand freedom fighters, how come Tamil Nadu has only a handful.

Later on, he said, he learnt that there were several thousands of freedom fighters from the state who sacrificed their lives for independence.

He regretted that in 2012 a prohibitory order, citing a law and order incident resulting in the deaths of some people, was issued by the authorities, restraining people from assembling in large numbers from October 23 to 31 in Sivaganga district, where the Maruthu brothers carried out their activities and which was the centre of revolt against the British.

As a result, remembering the sacrifices of the Maruthu brothers has become a private affair, even 11 years after the unfortunate incident, the Governor said. Muthuramalinga Thevar, another great national freedom fighter and associate of Netaji, has also been reduced to the stature of a caste leader, he added.

“I wonder if Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel and Bhagat Singh, too, would have been reduced to caste leaders had they been born in Tamil Nadu. Such is the situation here today. I think this is not acceptable,” he said.

Quoting a couplet from Thirukkural, authored by Tamil savant Thiruvalluvar, the Governor reminded that it was not virtuous on one’s part to forget to show gratitude to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

(Published 23 October 2023, 17:24 IST)

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