Over two decades of bitterness between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the Cauvery river water dispute virtually paled into insignificance on Thursday, as the latest ‘statue diplomacy’ between the two States turned a full circle with the unveiling of the Kannada philosopher-poet Sarvajna’s statue in Chennai.
Four days after the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi unveiled the statue of the Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar in Bangalore on Aug 9, his Karnataka counterpart BS Yeddyurappa opened a shining bronze icon of Sarvajna, the 16th century philosophical bard who fought caste and preached oneness of humanity.
“A new chapter in cordiality and unity among the people of both the States opens today,” Yeddyurappa extolled in Kannada at a massive gathering at the Railway Parade Ground, after pressing a button to unveil through video conference, Sarvajna’s statue erected at Jeeva Park, a little away from the function venue, in DMK chief’s presence.
The function venue was shifted at the eleventh hour to accommodate a huge gathering, with dignitaries including a large number of ministers, Kannada writers, poets, film stars and officials coming by a special aircraft from Bangalore to grace the occasion. South superstar Rajnikanth’s presence added a dash of colour, even as DMK and BJP flags fluttered in such close proximity, all along the roads to the venue.
Yeddyurappa held up the successive unveiling of the statues of Tiruvalluvar and Sarvajna in Bangalore and Chennai respectively as symbolising a new “bridge of friendship for the Nation to emulate.” And this has happened on ‘Krishna Janmaashtami’ day on Thursday, he underscored.
Karunanidhi was honoured with a ‘Mysore Turban’ on the occasion, even as the show was compered in both Kannada and Tamil to resonate a new spirit of bon homie between the two States. The DMK leader in turn presented to the Karnataka chief minister, a portrait of Yeddyurappa with the Kannada bard Sarvajna in the backdrop.
Sarvajana’s “revolutionary and progressive ideas” cutting across caste and religious barriers was reminiscent of Thiruvalluvar’s ideas and much later of the social reformer Periyar, said Karunanidhi, reciprocating Yeddyurappa’s sentiments.
Sarvajana’s statue is an “icon of unity between the people both the States and we should resolve to work together united in fulfilling the aspirations of the people of both the States,” added Karunanidhi.