A tweet from the BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit with a picture of Tamil poet and philosopher Thiruvalluvar wearing a saffron shawl instead of the usual white has drawn criticism from Dravidian groups, who have accused the BJP of trying to “saffronise” the saint.
The tweet quoted one of Thiruvalluvar’s couplets, which translates to English as, “No fruit have men of all their studied lore, save they the purely wise one’s feet adore.” Asking what is the use of Thiruvalluvar for those who “ridicule” gods, the tweet stated that Dravida Kazhagam (DK) party, DMK and Communists should know what the saint had said in his writings.
DMK chief M K Stalin said BJP using the Tamil saint for their “saffronisation agenda” is a “betrayal”.
“Instead of painting saffron, try to learn Thiruvalluvar’s writings and correct yourself,” he added.
The BJP shot back, challenging Stalin to recite a stanza of Thiruvalluvar’s couplets without mistake or retire from politics.
The CPM said in a statement, “Nobody in the past had ever tried to appropriate Thiruvalluvar for their political gains.
The BJP trying to appropriate Thiruvalluvar by changing his dress should be strongly condemned.”
BJP national secretary H Raja said, “Original Thiruvalluvar had vibhuti and all Hindu symbols. Dravidian parties changed his appearance conveniently to make him fit for their political gains. One of his verses ‘Differences in jobs is not there in the birth’ was exactly the same what Krishna quoted in Bhagavad Gita too. Thiruvalluvar’s ideology was one that goes with Sanatana Dharma,” he said.
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