Karunanidhi unveils Thiruvalluvar statue

via M Madhusudan | Bangalore - Daily Pioneer published on August 10, 2009

Terms it a trendsetter as Yeddyurappa hails historic day

Eighteen long years after the first formal attempt was made and failed and similar attempts thereafter, too, met with the same fate, the ruling regimes of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on Sunday rose above their differences and opposition from pro-Kannada activists to finally succeed in unveiling the statue of the revered Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar in Bangalore.

No wonder that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi termed it a “trendsetter” even as his Karnataka counterpart BS Yeddyurappa hailed it as a “historic” day.

For, in the process, the two neighbouring States put behind the Cauvery water sharing dispute amid fears of flaring up of renewed tensions over apprehensions of a failed monsoon, the Hogenakkal dam matter, border issues and the controversy over the accordance of classical language status to Kannada in Tamil Nadu.

Also, it is not too often that one gets to see heads of regimes pitched on the opposite sides of the political fence share the dais for a common cause.

“This function is going to be a trendsetter to the entire nation. It is the result of Yeddyurappa’s initiative last month. Hats off to him,” Karunanidhi said, cheered on by a boisterous capacity crowd with a sizeable Tamilian presence at the RBANMS School ground here. A battery of Ministers from his Government accompanied him.

He had, earlier, unveiled the 4.5-foot bronze statue of the celebrated poet-saint known for his couplets and Thirukkural, a work on ethics in Tamil literarure, at the Nilkantan Park, the surrounding areas of which has a sizeable Tamil population.

Thiruvalluvar’s period (based on Thirukkural) is said to have been between the second century BC and the eighth century AD. Tamil Nadu will reciprocate the gesture by unveiling the nine-foot-tall alloy statue of the legendary Kannada poet Sarvajna, known for his three-line poems, on August 13 at the Jeeva Park in Chennai.

The Cauvery issue, however, did find its mention as Yeddyurappa invoked the teachings of the two poet-saints to drive home his point, “They indirectly advise the Governments of the two States that the crops of farmers of both States should not be allowed to die for want of water. Irrespective of their languages, providing all necessary facilities, inputs and ingredients to the farmers, including water should be our objective.” He also informed the gathering about Karunanidhi’s unilateral promise to “strive to vacate the writ petition filed in Chennai High Court against conferring of the Classical language status to Kannada.

On his part, Karunanidhi, too, stressed on solving all the problems between the two States through dialogue.

The unveiling of the statue was made possible after the Karnataka High Court cleared the decks on Friday even as pro-Kannada outfits like Karnataka Rakshana Vedike and Kannada Vatal Paksha opposed it (one of them even tried to commit suicide by consuming poison on Saturday) and called a Bangalore bandh on the occasion. They were either arrested or detained and kept out off bounds of the venue which resembled a fortress with a heavy deployment of police force.

And though Congress leader Siddaramaiah, too, attended the function, the Opposition and some pro-Kannada organisations have termed it as Yeddyurappa’s effort to gain political mileage, especially, keeping in mind the Tamil population in view of the forthcoming Bangalore Municipal Corporation elections. The BJP rubbishes it saying, “Why did the Congress and JD(S) Governments who ruled the State for 60 years fail to accomplish the task what we could in just 14 months?” The Bangarappa Government had first tried to install the statue in 1991. The SM Krishna Government, too, unsuccessfully tried in 2001.

The Karnataka Government had placed advertisements in the media to counter any misgivings saying, “Thiruvalluvar expressed human virtues through his couplets. His preachings do not connote any particular caste, community, class, religion, god or goddesses.”

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