Published: 22nd February 2021
Saffron-robed Thiruvalluvar in CBSE textbook upsets TN politicians, teachers
In a CBSE Class 8 Hindi textbook, the popular Tamil figure was dressed in saffron robes and was depicted as a Hindu priest
Over the last couple of years, the hues on the clothes of certain Tamil leaders in school textbooks have been changed leading to protests from people of the state. Particularly, because this colour is saffron. In 2019, Tamil poet and activist Barathiyar’s clothes were coloured saffron in school textbooks, the latest to fall victim to the colour is celebrated Tamil poet and philosopher, Thiruvalluvar.
In a CBSE Class 8 Hindi textbook, the popular Tamil figure was dressed in saffron robes and was depicted as a Hindu priest. This upset people of the state, including several political leaders. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) President MK Stalin said that they would not accept the centre’s attempt to give Thiruvalluvar an ‘Aryan makeover’.
The Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Association (TNTA) called the incident ‘atrocious’ and said that the image was insulting to Tamil people and demanded that the image be replaced and republished. “While we welcome the CBSE’s move to include a story about Thiruvalluvar in the Hindi textbook, we cannot accept this mistake. This is not only written for Tamil people but will also reach the rest of the world. And it is wrong that such a great leader has been depicted wrongly,” a statement said.
“The book reflects life and thus cannot be recreated irresponsibly because it deals with 130 Athikaarams (chapters), totalling 1330 Kurals (two-line poems), by covering subjects on aramm (virtue), porul (wealth), inbam (love), which are still relevant. And here, he has been wrongly depicted and this could cause confusion to students in the future too. Though we don’t have an original image of the philosopher, the Tamil Nadu government has released an approved picture and that should be accepted by everyone,” the TNTA demanded.
“By presenting him as a priest, the authors of the book have insulted our Thiruvalluvar and also the Tamil community. We request CBSE to change this image and replace it with Tamil Nadu government authorised image,” the TNTA requested.