On June 18, when the newly-elected Members of Parliament (MP) from Tamil Nadu took oath in Tamil and finished the same by praising their ideologues and their mother tongue, their assertion was met with counter-sloganeering by the BJP MPs. The legislators of the treasury benches countered their Dravidian counterparts with slogans such as ” Jai Shri Ram” and Bharat Mata Ki Jai.”
This incensed the Tamil MPs and the anger of DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran was clearly visible when he raised the slogan ‘Tamil Vaazhga, Vaazhga Kalaignar, Vaazhga Periyar’ (Long live Tamil, long live Kalaignar and Periyar).
While the differences between the two parties were apparent, the Tamil social media is abuzz with appreciation of the Tamil MPs for taking oath in their own language. The Tamil intelligentsia too see the move as the first step towards winning the rights and asserting the pride of Tamils. Following the oath taking ceremony, the hashtag ‘Tamil Vaazhga’ became a trend on Twitter and other social media.
Well known author Aazhi Senthilnathan, who is also a coordinator, Campaign for Language Equality and Rights extolled the Tamil MPs by tweeting oath taking in Tamil is a ‘befitting response to the unitarist Modi government’.
Though most of the MPs from Tamil Nadu were initially inclined to take the oath in Tamil owing to their English language limitations, it is said that it was writer-politician and MP D Ravikumar’s post on Twitter-appealing to all his fellow MPs from the state to take oath in their mother tongue-that made even MPs who are well versed in English to opt for Tamil.
For instance, Ravikumar of the VCK said ‘Velga Tamil, Vaazhga Ambedkar’ (Victory for Tamil, Long Live Ambedkar) and VCK founder Thol Thirumavalavan said ‘Vaazhga Ambedkar Periyar, Velga Jananaayagam Samathuvam’ (Long Live Ambedkar and Periyar, Victory for democracy and equality).
Likewise, K Kanimozhi of the DMK hailed Tamil and Periyar. Jothimani of the Congress said ‘Vaazhga Tamil, Valarga Thaayagam’ (Long Live Tamil, Let the motherland grow to great heights). Communist party MPs raised slogans hailing ‘secularism’ and the motto of Communism: ‘Ulaga Thozhilaargaley Ondru Serungal’ (Proletariats of the world, unite!).