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Only 10% English-speaking Population Criticised Rechristening of Places with Tamil Names: Minister

Tamil Nadu minister K Pandiarajan. (Twitter/@mafoikprajan)

Tamil Nadu minister K Pandiarajan. (Twitter/@mafoikprajan)

According to the withdrawn G.O, the textile city of Coimbatore was proposed to have been called Koyampuththoor, Vellore as Veeloor and Dindigul as Thindukkal among others.

  • PTI Chennai
  • Last Updated: June 19, 2020, 7:59 PM IST
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The criticism over replacing anglicised versions of Tamil names of localities came from "a ten per cent population" that did not speak vernacular language, Tamil Nadu Minister K Pandiarajan said on Friday, a

day after the government withdrew an order on it.

A day after the government 'withdrew' the order replacing Anglicised versions , he also dismissed criticism against the initial move as coming from "a ten per cent population" that did not speak the local language.

Facing flak over taking up the initiative at a time when the state was battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the government on Thursday withdrew its order replacing Anglicised versions of Tamil names of 1,000 plus localities in the state with precise vernacular ones.

According to the withdrawn G.O, the textile city of Coimbatore was proposed to have been called Koyampuththoor, Vellore as Veeloor and Dindigul as Thindukkal among others.

Social media posts took potshots at the new English spelling while several questioned the timing of the initiative as it came during the battle against COVID-19.

Pandiarajan, the Minister for Tamil Official Language and Tamil Culture, on Friday said the move to alter the names of 1,018 cities, towns and localities was accepted with 'happiness' and 'hailed' by 90 per cent people.

"It was criticised only by a mere 10 per cent of the people, who are English speaking and don't speak in Tamil generally," he said.

"There is bound to be some resistance to this move. But it does not mean we have shelved our project. We have withdrawn the G.O only for now and a new order will be issued after a detailed review, once the coronavirus threat recedes, the Minister said.

Speaking to reporters at Tondiarpet here after launching a programme to screen and identify COVID-19 cases, he said the government will publish a standard transliteration protocol, which would make the

process of giving Tamil pronunciation to names of places easier.

At present three different protocols were being followed and much of the discrepancies were due to this, he said adding even MDMK general secretary Vaiko and former DMK minister Thangam Thennarasu had put forth suggestions to this effect.

The Minister maintained that any sudden change in spellings would adversely affect several departments such as registration, revenue and local administration.

On those questioning the timing of G.O, he said it was issued on March 13 sufficiently ahead of the lockdown enforced from March 24.

Pandiarajan also took exception to DMK president M K Stalin's remark that the minister should have consulted experts earlier.

"We had constituted 32 committees under district collectors in addition to an expert committee at the state level. These committees and experts frequently interacted with Tamil scholars over the last two years and they finally came up with suggestions now," he said.

Attempts were made to alter the names of places during the DMK rule in the past, but they did not succeed, he said.

Flaying the government over the withdrawal of the GO, Stalin had asked if the rulers had started believing that they alone were geniuses.

"Edapadi Palaniswami government has become a u-turn government. Shouldn't they have consulted with experts earlier itself," he had said.

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