Tamil Nadu minister asks IIT-M to play state song at institute’s functions
In a common ritual, the song, written by scholar Manonmaniam Pillai and set to tune by musician M S Viswanathan, is played at the beginning of all government functions in the state, and the national anthem is played at the end of the function.
Tamil Nadu higher education minister K Ponmudi has written to the IIT-Madras director Bhaskar Ramamurthi after the centrally-run institute failed to play the state invocation song during a recently-held convocation. In the letter, dated November 24, Ponmudi urged the IIT-M director to ensure that the song Tamil Thai Vazhthu be played by the institute in all its functions as mandated by protocol.
“...it is disheartening to learn that in the recently concluded convocation the State Invocation Song “Tamil Thai Vazhthu” was not sung in the event, a deviation of well-established protocol,” the letter read.
In a common ritual, the song, written by scholar Manonmaniam Pillai and set to tune by musician M S Viswanathan, is played at the beginning of all government functions in the state, and the national anthem is played at the end of the function. “I would like to point out that the invocation song is sung in all the State and Central Government functions in Tamil Nadu, including the functions where higher dignitaries, like (the) President of India and Prime Minister, participate,” Ponmudi said in his letter. “I, therefore, request you to ensure that the “Tamil Thai Vazhthu” invocation is sung in all the functions of the institution, including convocation in future.”
IIT-M held its 58th convocation virtually on November 20, in which Olympic badminton medallist P V Sindhu was the chief guest. Around 1,962 students graduated and as many as 2,425 degrees (including Joint and Dual Degrees) were awarded to students on the occasion this year. It included the highest number of PhDs awarded in an academic year – 392.
Ponmudi also pointed out that IIT-M was established in 250 hectares of land provided by the state government in 1959. “From that time onwards, the Government of Tamil Nadu has been contributing through various means for the growth and development of the institution and the present government is also very keen in continuing the same support,” he said. He added that IIT-M recently wrote a letter to the principal secretary to the government, higher education department seeking ₹10 crores support from the state to establish a national facility for cryo-electron microscopy, which is currently under examination.
In 2018, a controversy broke out after a video circulated on social media showing junior Sankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt, Vijayendra Saraswati, sitting through the state invocation song at an event in Chennai. Current state chief minister M K Stalin, who was then the opposition leader of the DMK, heavily criticized the act.
HT has reached out to IIT-M for a response.
IIT-M has not responded on the issue.