Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday led the state in celebrating Tamil New Year, the first to be celebrated in April after the AIADMK reversed the previous DMK government`s decision to celebrate it in January.
Soon after Jayalalithaa-led government took over, it had reversed a 2008 decision of her arch rival M Karunanidhi to celebrate new Year in the Tamil month of Thai to coincide with the harvest festival, Pongal.
She had reversed the decision saying Tamil New year will be celebrated in the Tamil month of Chithirai.
Addressing a government function here, Jayalalithaa took a swipe at Karunanidhi for his decision to change the calendar, saying it was done with the sole motive of ensuring publicity.
The practice of celebrating the Tamil new Year in the month of Chithirai was being followed for 2,000 years and the calendar was based on seasonal cycles and other geographic parameters, she said.
There was also many a mention of Chithirai as Tamil New Year in inscriptions of Chola and Pandya kingdoms besides literary references, she said.
"Making a general statement that it was sought by scholars, Karunanidhi changed the new year to Thai, which hurt the sentiments of people. Who asked for it? For whom did he bring it,"she said adding CPI-M had sought some clarifications in the Assembly in 2008 but they were not given.
"This itself shows that he had brought it with the aim of securing publicity," she said.
Such efforts had only commercial motives and none could see any reason how this would help in development of the language, she said.
In fact, she said, Karunanidhi himself had at different
periods, mentioned Chithirai as Tamil New year while speaking
in the Assembly as Chief Minister.
If scholars had made a plea, DMK founder and former Chief
Minister CN Annadurai reversed the calendar or Karunanidhi
himself could have done it prior to 2008, she said.
Since Tamil people were not happy with the "imposed" new
year, her government had reversed it after taking over from
the DMK last year, Jayalalithaa said.