TN Text Book Corporation drops caste name from school textbooks

The Tamil Nadu textbook corporation has started implementing the order of the state government which was given a few years ago to drop the caste surnames in streets and roads of Tamil Nadu, a statement from the state Text Book corporation on Thursday said.

Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, the late M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) while speaking at the centenary celebrations of Dravidar Kazhagam founder, E.V. Ramaswami Periyar (Thanthai Periyor) in 1978 had said that his government would take steps to remove the caste references from roads and streets of the state and a government order was issued for the same later on.

Tamil Nadu textbook corporation removed the surnames of famous scholars like U.V. Swaminatha Iyer, his teacher Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai, Mayavaram Vedanayagam Pillai who authored the first Tamil novel, C.W. Thamotharampillai and Ramalingam Pillai.

While U.V. Swaminatha Iyer who is known as Tamil Thatha (grand old man of Tamil) for his immense contribution to Tamil literature will henceforth be known as U.V. Swaminathar. His teacher and guru, Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai will be known as Meenakshi Sundaranar. Mayavaram Vedanayagam Pillai, who authored the first Tamil novel will here from be known as Vedanayagam.

C.W. Thamotharanpillai will be known as just Damodaranar and poet Namakkal Kavignar Ramalingam Pillai will be known as Ramalingnar, but the Text Book corporation has not touched upon the titles, Deekshithar and Desikar.

There are however opinion among Tamil scholars that those whose names were established in the literature and academic circles could have been given an exemption.

V. Manivarnan, Tamil Scholar and writer on contemporary Tamil language while speaking to IANS said, “While socially it is a good move to remove the caste tag from scholars but the names of established scholars like U.V. Swaminatha Iyer should have been retained.”