Jaya changes DMK’s calendar, Tamil new year in April now

Overturning yet another decision taken by the previous DMK regime headed by M Karunanidhi, the Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday announced that the Tamil new year will be celebrated in the Tamil month of Chithirai in April instead of Thai in January as legislated by the Karunanidhi government three years ago.

A Bill in this regard was tabled in the Assembly on Tuesday by Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments S P Shanmuganathan, which charged that the previous administration had disregarded the opinions of experts that Chithirai has been observed as the first month of the year for several centuries.

Intervening in the discussions in the House, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa criticised Karunanidhi's decision to make the harvest festival of Pongal as the Tamil New Year day as nothing but an act of "self-promotion" without any use for the public. The Tamil Nadu New Year (Declaration) Bill 2008 was introduced by the then administration on January 29, 2008, and the change has been in force from 2009.

"For any law to be brought in force, it should have some public purpose, or a demand from the public. The grounds for enacting it should be made clear. But this Act was useless for everybody. No one but some sycophants welcomed this initiative. This was to hoodwink the people that Karunanidhi did a great service for the Tamil society," charged Jaya, justifying her government's decision to revert the practice. There have been several demands from the public to repeal the act, as even though it is in force since then, crores of Tamils are continuing to celebrate new year in the month of Chithirai, she claimed. Jaya was staunchly opposed to the move right from the beginning and refused to issue formal new year greeting to the public on Pongal.

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