Chief Minister K Palaniswami
on Wednesday urged 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.
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."
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.
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.
Recalling Modi's visit last year to Mamallapuram, which is home to ancient monuments during an informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, he said "any chronicle of Indian history and culture would be grossly incomplete without giving its rightful place to Tamil culture and language."
Expressing surprise over "ignoring" experts from Tamil Nadu while setting up the committee, he requested the Prime Minister to personally intervene and direct the Ministry of Culture to reconstitute the expert committee by inducting eminent scholars from Tamil Nadu.
"May I request an early reply?" he asked.
Demanding reconstitution of the committee, Stalin said Tamilscholars were "not accommodated" in the panel and accused the BJP-led Centre of attempting to "rewrite" Indian cultural history by relegating the Dravidian civilisation behind and "thrusting"the Saraswathi River Civilisation.
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