Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to intervene and direct the Ministry of Culture to reconstitute an expert committee that has been formed to study India's culture and induct scholars from Tamil Nadu.
The Ministry of Culture has constituted an expert committee with 12-members for conducting a study on the origin and evolution of Indian culture during the past 1200 years. The committee, however, does not have members from the South of India, neither does it have any women or people from marginalised communities, and has received widespread opposition from the southern states.
The Tamil Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in his letter listed the importance of culture in the Dravidian civilisation and recalled PM’s meet with his Chinese counterpart in the culturally rich Mahabalipuram. The Chief Minister said, “The formation of the committee is a welcome move to deepen our understanding of our country’s rich and varied cultural roots but the composition of the committee in itself is a matter of deep concern.”
He highlighted the importance of Tamil culture and said that the Ministry chose to ignore the experts from Tamil Nadu. Citing that Tamil Nadu has a rich Dravida civilization, he said, “The committee has no representative from any of the southern states, especially from Tamil Nadu, which has a glorious past and is home to one of the oldest Dravidian civilization - a living and thriving culture in the South of India. The recent archaeological excavations in Keezhadi and other parts of Tamil Nadu reveal that the world-reputed Sangam era can now be dated back to as early as 6th century BCE.”
He also said that the excavation places Tamil culture and language as one of the oldest surviving heritages in the world and recollected PM’s visit to the culture hub of Tamil Nadu Mahabalipuram.
The Chief Minister said, “Given this background, it is surprising that the Ministry of Culture has chosen to ignore experts from Tamil Nadu while setting up the said committee. I, therefore, on behalf of the people of Tamil Nadu, request you to personally intervene and direct the Ministry of Culture to reconstitute the expert committee by inducting eminent scholars from Tamil Nadu.”
He also sought an early reply from the Prime Minister.
The move of the government to constitute a committee for studying culture without the people from the southern states has earned widespread criticism from the southern political parties. The DMK Member of Parliament Kanimozhi, the former Chief Minister of Karnataka HD Kumaraswamy and the CPI (M) has also expressed their reservations against the committee.