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    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    April 13, 2009

    Tamil New Year's Day

    Last year, the Tamil Nadu government decreed that the first day of Thai would be the first day of the new year based on 'consensus amongst almost all Tamil Scholars' (sic). Of course, that announcement was challenged in court. I'm not sure about the current status.

    What gives a government the rights to decide the date on which people speaking a language or following a culture will celebrate a new year? Is the decision restricted to the government holiday list, or is it enforceable? If the decision is made to overturn a Sanskritized/Brahminical calendar that has existed for so many years, and the new Tamil calendar will be based on the Thiruvalluvar era, that's pretty ironic coming from a DMK government because the very first Kural of the "Thirukural" has a reference to a deity!

    அகர முதல எழுத்தெல்லாம் ஆதி பகவன் முதற்றே உலகு.
    What is interesting though is that if the first day of Chithirai (traditionally the first month of the Tamil calendar as far as I know) isn't a big deal, then why are there so many promos on Sun TV and Kalaingyar TV, both part of the DMK propaganda machine (except for a detente of around a year when the Marans were thrown out from the DMK), announcing special programs to herald the onset of Chithirai? In fact, Sun TV is proudly claiming its 16th anniversary (launched in 1993 on Tamil New Year's day).

    So will the DMK government be kind enough to let us know the additional information that has been obtained by scholars in the previous 15 years (between 1993 when Sun TV was launched and 2008 when the new year was moved) which has been the basis for moving the date of the Tamil New Year?

    In addition, I'm fairly sure we keenly look forward to Sun TV and Kalaingyar TV also telecasting special programs on the first days of Vaigasi, Aani, Aadi, Avani, Purataasi, Aippasi, Kaarthigai, Maargazhi, Thai, Maasi and Panguni!

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