Thiruvalluvar saffronisation triggers political row in Tamil Nadu | Chennai News

CHENNAI: Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed joy for having released a book on ‘Thirukkural’ in Thai language in Bangkok on Friday, a tweet from Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP has set off a political furore in the state.
Tamil poet-philosopher Thiruvalluvar was the author of Thirukkural, comprising a collection of 1,330 couplets on a range of topics. ‘Thirukkural’ is a widely cherished work of Tamil literature. Former Union Finance minister P Chidambaram used to quote a couplet every time in his budget speech to drive home a point.
The state BJP unit, in its tweet had taunted Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) and DMK as well as the Communists, who, it claimed, depended on DMK, for questioning the existence of God and berating those who believed in God and worshipping them. It quoted an apt couplet from Thirukkural and asked what use was their education and wanted them to ponder over it.
If it was just that tweet, it would have been dismissed by the DMK as a mere political attack by BJP. The tweet by the BJP state unit, however, also carried an image of Thiruvalluvar, covered by a saffron dhoti, besides holding a ‘rudraksha string’ in his hand and ‘vibudhi’ (ash) on his forehead.
That was enough to set off a political debate on social media. While the DMK camp charged BJP with “saffronising even Thiruvalluvar”, the BJP supporters went on to claim that “Thiruvalluvar” always wore saffron clothes and it was former chief minister M Karunanidhi who changed it to white. “Thiruvalluvar is being celebrated all over the world, cutting across caste, language and national barriers. No one has so far attempted to cage him under a certain political philosophy. But, the attempt now by the BJP, which is bereft of any history or achievements of its own, to make him as their own has to be severely condemned,” said Tamil Nadu state CPM secretary K Balakrishnan in a statement.
Soon DMK president M K Stalin took to twitter to hit out at the BJP. Terming the attempt to saffronise Thiruvallur as betrayal, Stalin said such attempts will only expose the hollowness of the BJP. “Instead of colouring Thiruvalluvar, they should learn ‘Thirukkural’ and reform,” Stalin said in his tweet in Tamil.
Not to be cowed down, the state BJP unit hit back at Stalin by throwing up another couplet from ‘Thirukkural’. “Let him narrate this couplet twice, without mistakes. We will delete our tweet,” it taunted Stalin. “Prime Minister Modi is taking ‘Thirukkural’ on the global level. This has upset Stalin, who is unable to comprehend such global recognition for Thiruvalluvar,” BJP state general secretary Vanathi Srinivasan told TOI.

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