Tamil Nadu National Flag and National Anthem


Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, October 2002 (ID. 2002-10-02)
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(EDITOR'S NOTE: We publish here an e-mail received from "Sibi" dated July 3, 2002 and Thanjai Nalankilli's response to the e-mail.)

Sibi writes:

I would like to know whether Tamil Nadu has any flag or not. If not, are there artists working on creating one? Lots of us, who share the idea of a real Tamil Nadu, yet don't want to surface out too soon, would be really grateful if we know of the flag and national anthem. I think it would be the real first step towards our freedom. We can proudly fly the Mother Tamil Nadu's flag and sing her praise. Though the current "Tamil Thaai Vaazhthu" (Praise for Mother Tamil) is very well written, I think that it is not emotive enough for a full-fledged freedom struggle.

Vazhga Tamil Nadu! (Long Live Tamil Nadu!)
Thani Tamil Nadu ovvoru Tamizhanin Pirappurimai!
(Independent Tamil Nadu is every Tamil's birthright!)

Thanjai Nalankilli's Responds:

1. Tamil Nadu National FlagA Tamil Nadu National Flag was raised in the city of Coimbatore (Kovai) during the Students.

There is no "official national flag" for the nation of Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu students demonstrated against continued Hindi imposition in December 1967 and January 1968. There were Anti-Hindi Imposition Marches (Rallies) throughout Tamil Nadu.. In Coimbatore City, after marching through the main streets the students gathered at the Va Voo Chithamparanar Park (VOC Park) at the center of the city. Convener of this Anti-Hindi Imposition March in Coimbatore said, addressing the huge gathering, that independence for Tamil Nadu is the only way to end Hindi-imposition on Tamil Nadu. Amidst thunderous applause, he raised a Tamil Nadu National Flag. He saluted the flag and everyone stood in attention. It was a rather simple flag. Map of Tamil Nadu drawn on a rectangular white flag.

The flag fluttered in the wind until the meeting ended and students left the park. Throughout the march and the meeting large numbers of TamilNadu police were present. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) was in power in Tamil Nadu State at that time. DMK swept the elections and came to power in 1967 because the people "punished" the previous ruling party (the Congress Party) for Hindi imposition and the brutal manner it put down the 1965 Tamil Nadu Students Anti-Hindi Agitation. (Several dozen unarmed Tamil people were killed and many more wounded by Indian security forces during that agitation.) The DMK Government under Chief Minister C. N. Annadurai ordered the police not to interfere in the anti-Hindi imposition protests  but to keep a watchful eye. So police did not interfere in the hoisting of the Tamil Nadu National Flag. Once the students left the park, police brought down the flag and took it with them.

Tamil Nadu National Flag was raised next in 2000. "Tamil Nadu Viduthalai Padai" (Tamil Nadu Liberation Army, TNLA), "Tamil Nadu Meetchi Padai" (Tamil Nadu Retrieval Troops, TNRT) and Veerappan who had joined them only recently hoisted a Tamil Nadu National Flag at their base in the Sathyamangalam forests. A photo of that flag was published in some magazines. The flag had the emblems of the three royal dynasties of old Tamil Nadu. The three emblems are bow, tiger and fish, representing the Chera, Chola and Pandya dynasties, respectively.

For the time being we may use one of these flags. The final flag need to be decided by the Constituent Assembly of Tamil Nadu (Constitutional Assembly of Tamil Nadu) after Tamil Nadu is liberated from Indian rule. Let us work for that day to come soon!

2. Tamil Nadu National Anthem

Tamil Nadu does not have a National Anthem. The State Government of Tamil Nadu under Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) rule announced that a song in praise of Mother Tamil (Tamil Thaai Vazhthu) be sung at all state government functions. The government selected "Neeradum kadaluduththa ..." written by Manonmaniam Sundaram Pillai for that purpose. I agree with Sibi that it is not "emotive" enough to lead a liberation movement. Also, it talks of Dravida Nadu, not Tamil Nadu. Moreover, what is sung at Tamil Nadu State functions is not the full song but a curtailed or mutated version of the song. The original song had the following lines: "Ariyam pol ulaga vazhaku azhinthu ozhinthu sithaya un seerilamai thiram viyanthu seyal maranthu vazhthuthumae" (a loose English translation is, "Unlike Sanskrit that is no longer in use and is dead, you have not lost your youthful nature. We praise that youthful vigor"). Some pro-Sanskrit groups objected to this line although it is one hundred percent true; Sanskrit is a dead language. It is not used except by a few scholars for several centuries; it is not used in social, official or business interaction anywhere. But Tamil Nadu State Government gave in and removed those lines from the song when sung at state functions. Of course, as Tamil Nadu National Anthem we could include those lines. Still, I agree with Sibi that it is not the best possible song for the TamilNadu liberation movement. (Click here to read the "mutated" version of the song in Tamil. It is a graphic file, so no Tamil font is needed.)

My tentative choice for Tamil Nadu National Anthem is Bharathidasan's poem "Engal Vazhvum, engal valamum ...". (Click here to read this song in Tamil. You need to install TneriTSC fonts to read it.) This song is rather widely known among Tamils. It has been set to music, and has an "up-beat" quality to it. A drawback of this song is the use of couple of non-Tamil words (singam, nijam) in it. These words may be replaced suitably without violating the tune of the song. Of course the final choice is up to the people of Tamil Nadu. The Tamil Nadu Constituent Assembly will be elected and convened after independence and that assembly shall decide the national anthem, national flag and national emblem after independence!

(EDITOR'S NOTE: "Tamil Nadu" is also sometimes spelled as Tamil Nad, Tamilnadu and Tamilnad. They are the same.)

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