The statement of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Thiru M K Stalin, welcoming the Madras Day celebrations, has come as a rude and painful shock to lovers of Tamil culture, history and followers of the Tamil movement in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu. The statement goes against the traditional stand of the Tamil Nadu government right from the Congress governments to that of the DMK and even the AIADMK to ignore the Madras Day celebrations as they always believed that Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu existed from well before the Sangam era for more than 2,000 years at least. Chief Ministers right from C N Annadurai, M Karunanidhi, MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa did not encourage the Madras Day celebrations or issue greetings on that day as they believed, and rightly so, that the city was not 382 years old, and that it was at least 2,000 years old with a rich history of Tamil literature, music and other fine arts, trade with various parts of the world, a fine local body system of self-governance besides best practices in agriculture, irrigation, commerce, urban planning, judiciary, weights and measures besides education.
The celebration of the arrival of the East India Company in 1639 meant celebration of the alien, British Raj here, those leaders clearly idenified and therefore ignored the Madras Day celebrated by a section of the English-loving elite. On the other hand, the Dravidian movement supported the indigenous culture, the rich literature of the Tamils for 2,000 years including the Devarams of the Nayanmars and the Paasurams of the Alwars. The inscriptions of over 40 kings who ruled Chennai before the British came here have been well recorded in various places like Tiruvottriyur, Mylapore, Thiruvanmiyur, Thiruvallikeni, Egmore, Purasawalkam, Alandur, Pallavaram, Tambaram, Somangalam, Manimangalam, Nanganallur, Velachery, Tirusoolam, Aminjikarai, Maduravoyal, Thirumullaivayal, Perambur, Mangadu, Poonamallee, Adambakkam, Manali, Virugambakkam, Vyasarpadi, Villivakkam, Padi, Tirunirmalai, Tiruninravur, and so many other places of Greater Chennai region which proved they existed over 1,000 years before Mughal, British invaders came to Chennai.
If Thiruvalluvar lived in Mylapore 2,000 years ago and provided Tirukkural to the world, how can Chennai be 382 years old? If there is a Pallava inscription in 808 CE, how can Chennai be 382 years old? If there are hundreds of inscriptions in Tiruvottriyur recording the names of various places and kings who ruled Chennai 1,500 years ago, how can Chennai be 382 years old? If there is proof in literature and inscriptions of the Tamil hymns sung by the Nayanmars and Alwars in various places of Chennai from the 5th century, more than 1,000 years before the advent of the British, how can Chennai be 382 years old?
It is shocking that the present DMK government seems to have fallen into the trap of vested interests in an English newspaper company, which seeks to put down Tamil literature, language and culture, and promote English language and commerce, to boost its own circulation and advertising revenue. This shows that the Dravidian movement has to be eternally vigilant, and continue its struggle for protection and development of Tamil culture, language and history from foreign influences.
There is documentary evidence from Col. Mackenzie, the first Surveyor General of India, on how Kurumbars ruled Chennai 2,000 years old, followed by Tondaiman who changed the name Kurumbar Bhoomi to Tondaimandalam. However, the administrative wings of Kurumbar Bhoomi, divided into 24 kottams, one of which was Puliyur Kottam under which came most parts of Chennai, continued for over 1,600 years under various kings of Chennai. The inscriptions of nearly 40 previous kings recorded that these parts of Chennai came under Puliyur and some parts and adjacent Puzhal Kottam. The British and Mughal invaders, who ruled by force, for their own selfish interests altered the administrative structure of the Kottams like Puliyur Kottam to create taluks and so on and appointed collectors to collect exorbitant rates of taxes from the people.
It would be appropriate if all concerned read the proper history of Chennai and accordingly made decisions. One hopes that the decision of late chief minister C N Annadurai and founder of DMK to rename Madras State as Tamil Nadu, and of late chief minister and DMK leader M Karunanidhi, who renamed Madras city as Chennai in 1996, would not be altered. The present DMK government would do well by following the principles and well laid-out policies from Annadurai to Karunanidhi not to back the so-called Madras movement, and to instead stand by Chennai as sought by followers of Tamil culture and history. The present chief minister, Thiru M K Stalin can initiate and bring forward projects to improve the city without invoking the name of Madras, which had been rejected by leaders of his own party in the past.
— R. Rangaraj, President, Chennai 2000 Plus Trust