Unveiling a sort of statue diplomacy, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on Sunday buried 18 years of bitterness when the bust of renowned saint-poet Tiruvalluvar was opened in Bangalore by Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, raising hopes of heralding a new era of cooperation between the two states.
Karunanidhi and his Karnataka counterpart B S Yeddyurappa, who took a personal initiative over a month ago during a visit to Chennai to enable today's ceremony near Ulsoor lake in North Bangalore in a Tamil-dominated area, hailed the event as a new chapter in the brotherly relations between the two states.
Yeddyurappa, the man who ironically had whipped up emotions on both sides of the border before the 2008 Assembly elections ratcheting up opposition to Tamil Nadu's proposal for a drinking water scheme from the Hogenakkal reservoir, said the event gave confidence that all problems between the two states could be resolved through discussions.
As a reciprocal gesture, a statue of Kannada poet Sarvagnya, who wrote 500 years ago, will be opened on Aug 13 in a Kannada-dominated area in Ayanavaram in Chennai at a function by Yeddyurappa in the presence of Karunanidhi.
The opening of the statue of Tiruvalluvar, who wrote couplets on all areas of life--politics, righteousness and love, an idea conceived by the Bangalore Tamil Sangam, was halted in its tracks since 1991 when the worst anti-Tamil riots broke out in Bangalore and some other parts of Karnataka after differences flared up between the two states over the sharing of Cauvery waters.