Doing away with another ‘Brahminical’ tradition, the DMK government on Wednesday celebrated the Tamil New Year, advancing it by three months from April 14.
Wednesday was the first day of the Tamil month of Thai and coincides with the state’s harvest festival of Pongal. It corresponds to January 14 in the Gregorian calendar.
The DMK government declared the day as a holiday for state government employees, lit up important government buildings and organised functions to celebrate the occasion.
A law to advance the new year was passed by the state assembly in February 2008.
The Tamil New Year had so far been observed on the first day of the Tamil month of Chiththirai, usually corresponding to April 14 in the Gregorian calendar.
Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi described it as a “great victory” for the spirit of Tamil culture. He said it translated into reality revolutionary Tamil poet Bharathidasan’s view that observation of the new year around April 14 was a “cultural imposition on us by the Aryan crowd (Brahmins)”.
But the move has been criticised by AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa, who had said last year that if she came back to power, her government would reverse the decision, as it “hurt the people’s religious sentiments and undermined traditions”.