TN has history of changing names, practices - Chennai News
Updated Jun 18, 2020
Chennai, June 18 (IANS) From changing the name of the state in late 1960s and later the name of state capital, changing some Tamil syllables and now the spellings of some places, Tamil Nadu rulers continue to prove that change is the only constant in life.
The rulers even tried to change the dates on which the Tamil New Year was to be celebrated.
The two major political parties in Tamil Nadu have been changing or trying to change some of the long standing names, practices and beliefs.
The recent one is the ruling AIADMK government's decision to notify new English spellings for the names of cities, towns and localities that are phonetically in sync with their original Tamil name.
"The AIADMK government has not changed the English or Sanskrit names of cites, towns and localities to Tamil. It has just changed the English spellings of various places. The whole exercise reminds of a Tamil saying, a workless hairstylist shaving off a cat's whiskers," DMK spokesperson and Member of Parliament T.K.S.Elangovan told IANS.
Continuing further Elangovan said there is no consistency in the proposed spellings and when the whole state is fighting against coronavirus spread, is the spelling change an important announcement?
Next time when you see the name of a city or town in Tamil Nadu spelt differently, don't think it has something to do with numerology, but it is actually phonetics that is behind the change.
For instance, Dharmapuri will now be spelt Tharumapuri, Tuticorin as Thooththukkudi, Vellore as Veeloor, Tiruvarur as Thiruvaroor, textile town Coimbatore will be spelt as Koyambuththoor and there are many more like this.
In some places the letters `dh' has been replaced with 'th' and in some, the original spelling has been retained.
According to an official, the changes were made on the advice of the experts.
The Tamil Nadu government had looked up 1,018 names and revised the spellings for many of them, though some remain unchanged.
Interestingly the government has not changed the name or spelling for Srivilliputtur, though the district administration had suggested it be called and spelt as Thiruvillipuththur.
In Tamil Nadu, politicians prefer the Tamil word 'Thiru' instead of the Sanskrit "Shri/Sri".
Strangely, the government has retained the name and spelling for Gingee though the town is known as Senji and the district administration too recommended the same.
Elangovan said the government should first change the names of towns, cities and localities from English/Sanskrit to their original Tamil names.
He said the British who were unable to pronounce the Indian names corrupted them.
Similarly, V.M.S. Mutafa, Founding President, Tamil Nadu Muslim League has urged to change the Sanskrit names of places to Tamil.
Two years ago, the government had announced its plan to change the name and spelling of the towns/cities so that they phonetically sound like their names in Tamil.
A sum of Rs.5 lakh was allocated for the project.
Many have questioned why the spelling of the state has not been changed to Tamizh Nadu from Tamil Nadu.
Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan's party Makkal Needhi Maiam always uses the spelling Tamizh Nadu and not the anglicized Tamil Nadu.
However, it was the DMK government in 1967 that changed the state name to Tamil Nadu from Madras state.
In 1978, the Tamil Nadu government simplified/reformed certain syllables of the Tamil script so as to make it simple.
Later the state government ordered the removal of caste names from the street names. This resulted in shortening the names of noted personalities. For instance Dr.Rangachari Road became Dr.Ranga road in Chennai.
In 1996, Tamil Nadu capital Chennai got its current name. Earlier it was known as Madras. At that time the nationwide trend was to rename cities in native language.
Elangovan said Madras was renamed as Chennai in memory of the Telugu ruler Chennappa.
He also recalled the protest led by late DMK President and Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi to change the name of Dalmiapuram -a North Indian- to Kallakudy.
However, the attempt of DMK government led by Karunanidhi to declare Tamil New Year to be celebrated on the first day of Tamil month `Thai' (January 14) in 2008 did not succeed.
Traditionally the Tamil New Year was celebrated on the first day of Tamil month `Chithirai' (April 14) in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and in countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Reunion, Mauritius and other countries with Tamil diaspora.
When AIADMK led by late J.Jayalalithaa came back to power the Tamil New Year celebration date was reverted to April 14.