TN sought flag 50 years ago
By T Muruganandham | Published: 29th July 2017 11:32 PM |
CHENNAI: Karnataka government’s recent proposal to have a separate flag for the state did not trigger much discussion in Tamil Nadu. Ironically, considering the state was among the first to raise such a demand nearly five decades ago.
In 1970, when the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) was in power, the then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi had wanted a separate flag for the newly christened state, Tamil Nadu. When he met the press in Delhi on August 27 the same year, Karunanidhi even had a design ready. The proposed Tamil Nadu flag had the Indian flag in one-quarter, while the main space featured the state emblem, a temple Gopuram as a symbol of Tamil culture. The then PM Indira Gandhi said she would consult the chief ministers of other states before arriving at a decision.
In Tamil Nadu, the TNCC (New) and Congress (O) opposed it. They argued that a separate flag for the state would amount to changing the present national flag as the national symbol. They feared, it would lead to the disintegration of India.
However, the Tamil Arasu Kazhagam, led by Ma Po Sivagnanam, welcomed the demand for a separate flag for the state, but suggested incorporating the symbols of three kingdoms that existed in the past—bow, tiger and fish belonging to Cheras, Cholas and Pandiyas respectively.
When the issue was discussed in the state Assembly, Karunanidhi had said, “I can assure that the demand for a separate flag does not mean that there is a difference of opinion between the Centre and the state in regard to the integrity of India. The national flag will be used forever as we are using it now. There is not the slightest intention to disrespect the national flag.”
He recalled that the state government had addressed the Centre in June, 1970, seeking approval for the model flag they had proposed as they wanted to include the national flag in it.
DMK leader K S Radhakrishnan recalled that when the issue came up for discussion in Rajya Sabha on August 20, 1970, Indira said, the entire question of the use of separate standards by the Union President, Governors and Army regiments would be looked into. Three months after this, when asked about the delay in replying to Tamil Nadu chief minister, Indira said, in India there were different parties in power and there was a delicate Centre-state relationship.
With time, Karunanidhi’s momentum was inexplicably lost. The discussion reached nowhere, and his suggestion remained only on paper. It is not clear as to why he backed out from the proposal for which he had even readied the design.