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Tamil Nadu was once named after its capital city, Madras. The situation was a complicated one. Even Congressmen spoke of Tamil Nadu within the State, reserving ‘Madras State’ for letters and speeches meant for external consumption. To appease the Tamil People, they even changed the name of the Aranmore Palace in Ooty to ‘Tamizhagam’. But they were not willing to set right this anomaly by making a Constitution Amendment.

Thiru Bhupesh Gupta of the Communist Party took the initiative in 1961 by introducing a private Members’ Bill to amend the First Schedule, entry number 7 of the Constitution. The purpose of the Bill was to call the Madras State by its proper name ‘Tamil Nadu’ in conformity to historical, linguistic, and cultural considerations. Anna’s impassioned defence of this Bill will long be remembered for its sincere emotion and clear-cut reasoning.

The adamant Centre refused to yield and opposed the private Member’s Motion to call ‘Madras State’ by its rightful name ‘Tamil Nadu’. With its majority, the Congress Party defeated the Bill; but the change could not be resisted for long. Four years later, in 1967, when the DMK was elected to power in Madras State, Anna, as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, achieved his objective with the unanimous backing of both the Houses of the State Legislature. Today, there is no Madras State, only ‘Tamil Nadu’.

Annadurai 450Anna: Mr. Vice Chairman, I am rarely in full agreement with my Hon. Friend, Mr. Bhupesh Gupta, but today I rise to support him whole-heartedly, fully and sincerely. The only weakness of the Bill is that it is a non-official one. I would have liked an official Bill to have been brought forward for this very necessary and very simple thing that would have satisfied millions of Tamilians in Tamil Nadu.

Many arguments that were advanced against the Bill brought forward are perhaps more due to the colour of the mover rather than the arguments advanced for its support. One Hon. Member was saying that he was not moving a bill which the Madras State has asked him to move. I regret very much that sometimes it becomes necessary to explain some rudimentary principles. The Madras Government will never ask a non-official bill to be brought forward, there are the State representatives in this assembly and they would have brought it forward; and therefore, to say that the Bill cannot be supported just because the Madras Government has not asked Mr. Gupta to bring this Bill, shows that their only argument to fight against the Bill is that their party or their State Government has not instructed them to act in this way. I can well understand the political tremor in their hearts, but that is no argument against the Bill. The arguments advanced by the sponsors of the Bill for renaming Madras as Tamil Nadu have not been answered by any one of the speakers who spoke about it.

Sheel Bhadra Yajee: I have answered it.

Anna: I cannot understand – I very rarely understand – your language and, therefore, I do not know whether there is logic or not, but I would say that some of the arguments advanced were not proper. One Hon. Member was saying that there are Telugu – knowing people in Tamilnad, Malayalam and Kanarese-speaking people and, therefore, to name Madras as Tamilnad will create a sort of tremor in their hearts.

May I inform this House through you, Sir, that all these arguments were advanced and shattered in my part of the country? All these arguments did not stand the on-slaught of reason and logic. For the sake of informing this House, I may inform you, sir, that on the 24th February, 1961 the Leader of the House in the State Assembly stood up to say that he was accepting part of the non-official resolution brought forward not by the DMK or any other political party which is considered to be inimical to the Congress, but by a PSP Member.

That PSP Member brought forward a non-official resolution for renaming Madras as Tamil Nad and it was discussed for many days and finally the then Finance Minister and Leader of the House, Mr. C Subramaniam, stood up to say that he was accepting a part, or the spirit, of the resolution and added that therefore all publications of the Madras Government would appear in the name of the Tamil Nad Government. It is in such a way that all the publications in Tamil in the Tamil nad Government are being printed and published.

As a matter of fact, after making that historic declaration on the floor of the Madras Assembly on 24th February, the very next day the Finance Minister had to present his Budget and in presenting the Budget, the opening words of the Finance Minister were, “In consequence with the declaration made yesterday, I am now presenting to you the Budget of Tamil Nad.” Therefore, all the arguments that the Telugu-speaking people, the Malayalam-speaking people, and the Kanarese-speaking people have will be up against this change in name, fall to the ground because part of this has been accepted by the Government.

The part relating to the amendment of the Constitution: the word ‘Madras’ to be deleted and the word “Tamil Nad” to be inserted: was not accepted. Therefore, the sentimental arguments advanced cannot be accommodated even by the Government much less by the Madras Congress leaders.

Sir, I am really surprised to see how ill-informed my hon. Friends are, those who advanced arguments against the Bill. One Hon. Member stated here that Kollegal is in Tamil Nad. That Hon. Member, unfortunately, is not present in the House at present. I may tell him, and his friends may tell him, that Kollegal today is part of Mysore. It has been taken away from the composite State of Madras and, after the formation of linguistic States, has gone to Mysore. If my Hon. Friend is so ill-informed about Kollegal, I am not surprised at his arguments that nowhere in Tamil literature does the word Tamil Nad occur. A politician who cannot understand that Kollegal today does not form part of Tamil Nad cannot be expected to be conversant with Tamil literature.

For the edification of the House and for his own edification, I will point out the names of certain books wherein the word “Tamil Nad” is to be found. These are books written 1,800 or 2,000 years ago. I am reading the name in Tamil but the Hon. Member who made that allegation is a Tamilian Congress man and he can understand and the Hon. Deputy Minister who will perhaps be making the reply. She, being also a Tamilian, may tell him. The names of Paripadal, Pathirtrupathu and the more popular names of Silappathikaram and Manimekalai. These are all Tamil classic written more than a thousand years ago.

And in Paripadal it is stated “Thandamizh veli Thamizh Nattu akamellam” which means “Tamil Nad which is surrounded by sweet Tamil on all the three sides”. In Pathitrupathu, a classic written about 1,800 years ago, it is stated ‘Imizh kadal veli Thamizhagama’ meaning “Tamil Nad which has got the sea as its boundary.” In Sillappathikaram, it is stated “Then Tamizh nannadu” meaning “good Tamil Nad”, and in Manimekalai, it is stated “Sambuth theevinul Tamizhaga marungil”: Tamil Nad which is called “Sambuththeevu”.

If my Hon. Friends would like to have more popular illustrations, I would like to refer them to the poems of the poet Kamban and Sekkilar both of whom have definitely used the word Tamil Nad. It was only afterwards that there were three kingdoms, the Cheranadu, the Cholanadu and the Pandyanadu. Tamil Nad is to be found in the classics of Tamil. It is not that there is poverty of ideas in the classics. It only shows that my Hon. Friend does not spend much thought or time over the Tamil classics.

I may point out for the edification of the House, that when the Congress Government in Tamil Nad purchased the Jaipur palace at Ooty known as Aranmore Palace, they immediately renamed that palace, Tamizhagam. I am pointing this out to say that the Congress, there is trying to assuage our feelings, is trying to carry the Tamil Nad people along with them by saying that they have renamed the Aranmore palace as Tamizhagam, that they are publishing all the Tamil manifestos as Tamil Nadu Government publications; that only for international correspondence, they want the name ‘Madras’. They are not prepared to amend the Constitution.

If the arguments, advanced by some of the Tamil Nad Congress people were to be read by the Chief Minister of Madras, he would turn around and say “you too, Brutus.” All the arguments advanced for not renaming it fall flat on the ground because even the Congress Government there does not approve of these arguments.

Another peculiar issue was raised here that the Bill is brought forward only as a publicity stunt of the Communist Party. Why don’t we appreciate the Communist Party for its sense of political expediency? Are not all political parties interested in getting political publicity? Are not all political parties interested in getting political publicity? Is publicity a heinous crime? Why do you publish reports and books on the Five-Year Plans? Is that not publicity, done at public cost? Yet you accuse other political parties, saying that this is publicity. But let me tell this House through you, that even though you defeat the Bill, he has gained that publicity. You are not going to rob him any more of that publicity.

When he comes to Tamil Nad he can conveniently face the Tamilians and say, “I pleaded for you but it was the ruling Party that let you down”. Therefore, you have unawares walked into Mr. Gupta’s snare. I would have appreciated it if the ruling party had approached Mr. Bhupesh Gupta, and stated, “Do not bring in this non-official Bill; we ourselves are interested in it. We will bring it forward.”

Then Mr. Santhanam pointed out that we had an uphill task in retaining Madras; we had to fight with so many people and we retained Madras. I can claim some amount of credit in that fight and when I was in the thick of the fight, I did not find Mr. Santhanam by my side.

Akbar Ali Khan: At the cost of Andhra.

Anna: With the consent of the Andhras. I can say that. That is because the present Government there is providing even today, in the border areas, measures for safeguarding Telugu culture and for imparting the Telugu language. Therefore, though Madras has been taken by Tamilians, we have no enmity with the Andhras. But my friend Mr. Santhanam was saying that it was such an uphill task, retaining Madras, that we would like to keep Madras. This is not a question of keeping Madras or giving it up; this is the question of keeping Madras in Tamil Nad and renaming the state as Tamil Nad.

Madras after all, is the capital city of Tamil Nad, just as Ahmedabad happens to be the capital city of Gujarat, as Chandigarh happens to be the Capital city of Punjab. If this logic of naming the State after the name of the capital city, is to be followed, Kerala should be renamed as Trivandrum, Andhra is to be renamed as Hyderabad, Punjab is to be renamed as Chandigarh and Gujarat should be renamed as Ahmedabad.

Bhupesh Gupta: And Bengal should be renamed as Calcutta.

Anna: My Government, my Congress Government in Madras, is interested in bilingualism. That is because its head Government is interested in having two names for everything; India that is Bharat, Jan Gana mana and Vande Matharam. They always want to keep two blocks. Take something from here and take something from there. So, the Madras Government is having Tamil Nad for the consumption of the Tamilians and Madras for all India consumption.

It is a very awkward word ‘duplicity’. And that is why my friend, Mr. Bhupesh Gupta was saying that some of the Congress people talk in one way there, and talk in another way here. No Congress member can face a Tamilian audience and say that the name ‘Madras’ should be retained. I challenge it.

T.S. Pattabiraman (Madras): We have faced it during the agitation of the Tamil Arasu Khazagam and my friend knows it. What he is saying is a complete travesty of facts.

Anna: I know how Mr. Pattabiraman faces agitation; I won’t say it. Let us not face each other as Congress and DMK. Let us face the Tamilian public on this single sanctified issue of renaming the State and if you carry along with you 51 percent of the people, I am prepared to bow my head before you. This is not a party issue at all. The renaming of Madras as Tamil Nad has been accepted by the Communist Party, by the DMK, by the PSP and you will be surprised, by the Madras Branch of the Swatantra Party too. Therefore, all parties are one on this issue of renaming Madras as Tamil Nadu.

T.S. Pattabiraman: None of them put it in their election manifesto.

Anna: I would present a copy of the DMK election manifesto to him tomorrow. I am sure Mr Pattabiraman knows Tamil. This has been an issue in the Tamil Nad for than 10 to 15 years. He was saying that only the Tamil Arasu Khazagam was fighting for it. It is true partially because it was only the Tamil Arasu Khazagam that started an agitation for it, but all other political parties were immensely, intimately interested in this issue. They have printed it in their manifestos, in their political speeches and no district conference of the DMK took place without passing this Resolution for renaming Madras as Tamil Nad. Therefore, it is not simply on the spur of the moment that I am pleading for it.

My sorrow is that my friend Mr. Bhupesh Gupta, has stolen the thunder from me by sponsoring this Bill. But for that, I would like to present before this House that this has been the issue all along in Tamil Nad. And they have not answered Mr. Bhupesh Gupta: What do you lose by renaming Madras as Tamil Nad? Nobody has answered that.

N.M. Lingam (Madras): Anyway, what do you gain by renaming it as Tamil Nad?

Anna: What do I gain? What have you gained by renaming Parliament as Lok Sabha? What have you gained by renaming the Council of States as Rajya Sabha? What have you gained by renaming the President as Rashtrapati?

Therefore, I say, “What do you lose?”. That is important, because if you were to lose something precious, we would not press for it. If you do not lose something fundamental, we will press for it. That other point that was raised was, what do you gain? We gain satisfaction sentimentally; we gain the satisfaction that an ancient name is inculcated in the hearts of millions and scores of millions of people. Is that not enough compensation for the small trouble of changing the name? Therefore, all the arguments that have been advanced have been shattered.

They have advanced an apologetic argument saying that if the State Government had come forward with this, we would have accepted it.

And they are perfectly aware of the composition of the State Legislature where the Congress Party is in a majority. Would you ask the Congress Member in the Madras State Legislature to vote for such a Bill if it were to come there, without the Party whip? No.

T.S. Pattabiraman: Your party members could have brought forward a resolution in the House and changed the name. Why have you not done it for the past seven or eight years?

Anna: I am coming to that. When we present such a Bill to the Madras Legislature, they say that if you want to rename, an amendment of the Constitution is necessary, and an amendment of the Constitution is possible only when you go to Parliament.

T.S. Pattabiraman: I am saying a resolution, not a Bill. A resolution can be made.

Anna: I may say for the information of the Hon. Member that we pressed this point during the discussion on a non-official Bill of the PSP. In fact, we even staged a walk-out. The DMK and the Communist Party joined together in the walk-out. That is our numerical position there.

When the non-official resolution was discussed in the Madras Assembly, we pressed for the constitutional amendment, and the only explanation offered to us was that it is possible only at the level of Parliament. And when we come to Parliament, we are asked to go back to the State Legislature. We are asked to go to Parliament because you are entrenched in both places, not because your logic is sound, not because your justice is sound, but simply because you are entrenched in both places.

G. Rajagopalan (Madras): We are entrenched because the people vote for us. It has been discussed even during the elections. There had been fasts by certain members and one person even lost his life after fasting. Even after that, we won the election. That shows that the people still want it as it is – not for the satisfaction of some politicians who want a slogan.

Anna: Madam Deputy Chairman, I am very glad that the discussion is becoming very interesting. But I may say for the information of the House that the DMK has got nothing to do with fasting. The fasting was undertaken by a non- party man, in fact a relative of the Chief Minister of Madras, Mr. Sankaralinga Nadar.

And to say that in spite of the fasting you have not changed shows how human you are. Therefore, the question was discussed there. We were asked to go to Parliament. When we come to Parliament, we are again sent back to the Legislature. In both places, the answer is as my Hon. Friend has stated, “The people have voted for us.” Well, that is a fact, a tragic fact, a black fact which ought to be seen.

G. Rajagopalan: In spite of you, the tragedy is still there.

T.S. Pattabiraman: He says that the tragedy will be permanent. The tragedy of the Congress’ getting a majority at every election will be a permanent feature and we are prepared to accommodate you.

Anna: Madam Deputy Chairman, my friend was saying that this tragedy is going to be permanent. Woe to the country and to the people. That is all what I can say. But I would like to press this point that a constitution amendment can be thought of and made only through Parliament. That is why we have approached Parliament. If any amendment is brought forward on this, or any suggestion is given that it should be circulated to gather public opinion, we take up that challenge. I do not ask you to take this as an election issue. Do not afraid of that.


We are not making it an election issue. This is an issue to be taken to the people for getting their consent or otherwise. That is not going to affect your offices. Nobody thinks about that. You may remain there.

This is not a question of an analysis of our different parties. This is a question wherein a particular issue has to be referred to the public. Are you prepared for that? That is what we ask. You are not prepared for that and that is why I say - Call my State ‘Tamil Nadu’.

N. M. Anwar (Madras): Madam, on a point of information. I have got the highest respect and regard for my good friend, Mr. Annadurai. But will he kindly explain what there is in retaining this name ‘Madras’ which has got such worldwide publicity? How is he going to meet that point of view? Where is the difficulty in retaining this worldwide name of Madras?


Anna: The only point in answer to the Hon. Member, Mr Anwar, is this. What we gain is, we gain sentimental satisfaction and status for our ancient land. If in Madras we change the name of China Bazaar into Netaji Subhas Chandra Road, nothing is changed in the street, but something is changed in our thinking, in our soul, in our fibre. That is why we are pressing for it, not because we think that keeping Madras there will be wrong.

N. M. Anwar: My question is not that. We agree that there is something good in calling it Tamil Nad. But what is your allergy to Madras which has got a worldwide publicity?

Anna: My allergy is, if Madras is used as the name of the State, you confuse the capital with the State. Madras is the name of the capital city, Tamil Nadu is the name that ought to be given to the State. There ought to be a distinction between the name of the State and its capital, and therefore I wholeheartedly support the Bill brought forward and I would commend it to the House.

(C.N. Annadurai's speech at Parliament on May 1963)

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