TN govt says IIT-M deviated from protocol, state song must be played during all events

Higher education minister K Ponmudi has written a letter to IIT-Madras director Bhaskar Ramamurthi on the issue
Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin. (PTI)
Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin. (PTI)
Published on Nov 28, 2021 04:21 PM IST
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ByHT correspondent

The Tamil Nadu government has taken an exception to the state invocation song supposedly not played as per protocol during the convocation of the centrally-run IIT-Madras. Higher education minister K Ponmudi has written a letter to IIT-Madras director Bhaskar Ramamurthi on the issue.

The state minister has asked him to ensure that the state’s invocation song (Tamil Thai Vazhthu) is played by the institute during all its functions. The minister in his letter dated November 24, said, “...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 the well-established protocol.”

The song, written by scholar Manonmaniam Pillai and set to tune by musician MS 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 the 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 PV Sindhu was the chief guest. 1,962 students graduated and as many as 2,425 degrees, including joint and dual degrees, were awarded to students on the occasion. It included the highest number of PhDs awarded in an academic year – 392.

Ponmudi went on to point out that IIT-M was established in 1959 in 250 hectares of land provided by the then state government of Tamil Nadu. “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 on continuing the same support,” he said. He added that IIT-M has recently written a letter to the Principal Secretary to Government, Higher Education Department seeking 10 crores support from the state government to establish a National Facility for Cryo-Electron Microscopy which is currently under examination.

In 2018, a controversy broke out after a video showed the junior Sankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt, Vijayendra Saraswati, sitting through the state’s song at an event in Chennai which was criticised by present chief minister M K Stalin who was then the opposition leader of the DMK.

HT has reached out to IIT-M for a response.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022