Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Wednesday appealed to the Centre to reconstitute an expert committee under the Culture Ministry to study the origin and evolution of Indian culture during the past 12 millennia by including scholars from Tamil Nadu.
Apart from the chief minister, chorus from various political quarters is also growing for the reconstitution of the 16-member committee.
DMK president M.K. Stalin demanded that the panel should have representation from Scheduled Castes, minority communities and southern and north-eastern states.
Palaniswami, welcoming the Centre’’s initiative in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said the composition of the committee was a matter of “deep concern.” The committee has no representative from any of the Southern States, especially from Tamil Nadu, “which has a glorious past and is home to one of the oldest civilisations, the Dravidian civilization, a living and thriving culture in the south of India,” the chief minister said.
The recent archaeological excavations in Keezhadi and other parts of Tamil Nadu reveal that the world-reputed Sangam era can now be dated back to as early as 6th century BCE. “This places Tamil culture and language as one of the oldest surviving heritages in the world,” Palaniswami said.
DM KMP Kanimozhi questioned non-inclusion of Dalits and Minorities in the committee constituted by the Cultural ministry and asked are they ineligible to speak about the Indian Culture.
Former Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy also echoed the same voice and demanded to include representatives from the South.
CPI(M) MP Venkateshan raised the issues once again in the Parliament and questioned “Is there no India below the Vindhyas.” DMK MP Trichy Shiva raked up the same issue again in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday and questioned the non-inclusiveness of representatives from other quarters. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu asked the concerned Minister to reconsider adding all representatives.
Minister of State, Culture and Tourism, Prahlad Singh Patel in a written reply in the Lok Sabha had said days ago that a 16-member expert committee has been set up for conducting holistic study of origin and evolution of Indian culture dating back to 12,000 years and its interface with other world cultures.