The Tamil Nadu government showcased its Republic Day tableau, which was rejected by the Union government for the parade in Delhi, as part of the state-level celebrations in Chennai on Wednesday, 26 January.
Tamil Nadu had four tableaus featured in the state-level celebrations, featuring the contributions of freedom fighters from the state in the Indian Independence movement. Chief Minister MK Stalin had expressed disappointment over the exclusion of Tamil Nadu’s tableau from the Republic Day parade, and had even written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention. With this request not yielding results, CM Stalin had announced that the tableau would be showcased as part of state level celebrations.
Tamil Nadu’s tableaus were designed with the theme ‘Tamil Nadu in the Freedom Struggle,’ depicting renowned freedom fighters from the state. It featured freedom fighters like VO Chidambaram Pillai, Subramania Bharati, Rani Velu Nachiyar, Poolithevan, Veerapandia Kattabomman, and the Maruthu Pandiyar brothers.
CM Stalin noted that Tamil Nadu's contributions to India’s struggle for independence were very significant, right from the Vellore revolution of 1806. The tableau will also be taken to other important cities in Tamil Nadu, Stalin has said.
The procession featured four different tableaus, led by the Mangala Isai tableau with students of music and dance from the state playing instruments like nadhaswaram, thavil and veena, and performing Bharatanatyam.
The first main tableau depicts the Vellore Sepoy Mutiny of 1806, featuring Rani Velu Nachiyar, her army commander Kuyili, Veerapandiya Kattabomman, Poolithevan and others. The second main tableau features Subramania Bharati, VOC, Subramaniya Siva and others. The third main tableau features Thanthai Periyar, C Rajagopalachari, Muthuramalingam Thevar and others.
Describing the tableau to Prime Minister Modi, Stalin had written, “The design had VOC, the famous freedom fighter who founded the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company in 1906 during Indian Independence movement to compete against the British. The design also had Subramania Bharathi, popularly known as Maha Kavi Bharathiar, who kindled patriotism in the minds of the people with his fiery patriotic songs and writings during the Indian Independence movement.”
He also said that the rear of the tableau was designed to showcase a statue of Rani Velu Nachiyar riding a horse with a sword in hand and with women soldiers. "She was the first Indian queen to wage a war with the East India Company in India. She was the queen of Sivagangai region from 1780 to 1790 and blew up an ammunition storage of East India Company by arranging a suicide attack,” Stalin wrote, describing the tableau.
Responding to Stalin’s letter to the PM, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that Tamil Nadu’s tableau was considered in three rounds of meetings, but did not make it to the final list.
On Tuesday, January 25, the Madras High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate P Babu seeking to issue directions to the Defence Ministry to include the Tamil Nadu tableau in the national Republic Day Parade.
Rejecting the petition, a bench of acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice PD Audikesavalu said that the petitioner had not submitted any written document to show that Tamil Nadu had applied to participate in the parade. It also said that there was no mention in the litigant's plea on the reasons cited by the officials to reject the government's plea. The bench also said that the court cannot interfere in the eleventh hour on a PIL seeking direction.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)