Visual of the textbook which depicts Bharathiyar in saffron turban. Photo/ANI
Visual of the textbook which depicts Bharathiyar in saffron turban. Photo/ANI

Bharathiyar in saffron turban on school textbooks in TN sparks row

ANI | Updated: Jun 04, 2019 17:30 IST

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], Jun 4 (ANI): The depiction of national Tamil poet, Subramania Bharathi, known as Bharathiyar, with a saffronised turban on the cover of Class 12 textbooks in Tamil Nadu has sparked a huge controversy on Tuesday.
The main opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has questioned the depiction of the turban in saffron and termed it as an insult to the memory of the great national poet.
"Poet Bharathiyar is such a tall leader but the government has insulted his memory. Bharathiyar was a great man, who opposed Hinduism too. By using the saffron colour the rulers of the state have insulted the national poet. A person has to be identified with his appearance. A turban is not the place to show a national flag on Bharathiyar," DMK MP and spokesperson TKS Elangovan told ANI here.
On the other hand, Jacob, a parent who had come to purchase books for his children, said he found nothing controversial in the book cover and added that the children should focus on what is written in the pages.
"On the covers, I can see poet Bharathiyar, a temple, different colours, a girl dancing in the Bharathanatiyam style and more. In my opinion, the students need not concentrate on the top page of the textbook they should instead concentrate on what is there in the pages in between and study well. There is nothing defamatory or something worth speaking about it," Jacob said.
A pioneer of modern Tamil poetry, Bharathiyar is considered to be one of the greatest Tamil literary figures of all time. He composed many fiery songs kindling patriotism during the Indian Independence movement. Though a believer, his songs were also known for espousing socialist ideals.
The legendary poet, who died young in penury, is generally shown sporting his trademark white headgear in pictures.
AIADMK's allies have come out to defend the decision taken by the state government and have expressed joy over honouring the great poet.
Krishnaswamy, President of Puthiya Tamilagam party, an AIADMK ally, wholeheartedly supported the move and called Bharathiyar was an "Indian nationalist" and cannot be restricted to Tamil Nadu.
"Bharathiyar devoted his life to the freedom of the nation, he was not just a Tamil scholar but an Indian nationalist. We are very happy that he is given a place on the Tamil textbooks and support it wholeheartedly," Krishnaswamy told ANI. (ANI)