Friday 1 July 2022
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Tamil culture global, language eternal: PM Modi in Chennai

While the prime minister had put an end to the language debate last week, this was an occasion in Tamil Nadu where he deemed it fit to reiterate his government's stand

Taking the heat off the linguistic issue triggered by Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s pitch for making Hindi the national language, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today lauded the Tamil language as “eternal” and its culture as “global” while also hailing Tamil Nadu as a “special place”. After receiving a standing ovation from the crowd and bowing to them at an indoor stadium, the prime minister made these remarks and launched a slew of developmental projects in Chennai.

The row had avalanched into a greater debate on Hindi ‘imposition’ versus preserving India’s linguistic diversity. Prime Minister Modi had already put an end to the debate last week when he said that the BJP considered all Indian languages worthy of reverence.

Heaping praise on the south Indian state today, the prime minister called the Tamil people, its culture and their language “outstanding”.

Tamil culture venerated

“From Chennai to Canada, from Madurai to Malaysia, from Namakkal to New York and from Salem to South Africa, the occasions of Pongal and Puthandu are marked with great fervour,” Prime Minister Modi said, as he praised the popular festivals celebrated in the state.

Speaking at the gathering, the prime minister said that his government was fully committed to furthering the Tamil language and culture.

Controversy

Last month, popular south actor Kichcha Sudeep was involved in a short-lived Twitter debate with Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn over the Kannada actor’s remarks that Hindi was “no more our national language”.

Earlier at the same event, Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin stated the long-pending demand of making Tamil the official language at the Madras High Court. With Prime Minister Modi also present on this occasion, Stalin requested that Tamil should also be made the official language at central government offices in the state.

The chief minister appealed to the prime minister also to exempt Tamil Nadu from the National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test (NEET) exam. “We are opposing the NEET exam and have also passed a bill in the assembly. We appeal to the prime minister to give exemption from the NEET exam to Tamil Nadu,” Stalin said.

Political parties in Tamil Nadu have been demanding exemption from the medical entrance exam, arguing that NEET can be cleared by only such students who can afford private coaching institutions.

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