Can Thiruvalluvar statute put an end to the fight over Cauvery water?

Posted: August 8, 2009 in politics
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Will the war over sharing of the Cauvery waters between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu end through unveiling of the statues of saint poets Thiruvalluvar in Bangalore and Sarvajna in Chennai on August 9 and August 13 respectively?

The Karnataka government has decided to go ahead with unveiling of the statue of Thiruvalluvar, writer of Tamil masterpiece Thirukkural, on August 9, 18 years after it was installed, amidst protests by pro-Kannada organisations.

Four days later, the statue of Kannada poet Sarvajna will be unveiled in Chennai.

Thiruvalluvar, believed to be born 30 years before Jesus Christ, wrote Thirukkural in the form of couplets (two line poems) expounding various aspects of life.

Sarvajna, believed to belong to the 18th century, is known for his Tripadis (three-line poems) on life, religion, beliefs and problems of daily living.

Pro-Kannada organisations, including Kannada Rakshana Vedike, had stalled the unveiling of the statue of Thiruvalluvar, saying that Tamil Nadu has been unfair to Karnataka over the Cauvery water sharing.

Tamil Nadu’s decision to start the Hogenakal drinking water project to supply drinking water to two of its districts only added to the tension between the two neighbouring states.

Adding fuel to the fire came a petition by a Tamil Nadu advocate in the Madras High Court last year, challenging granting of classical status to Kannada language by the Centre.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, who is in Bangalore for the last one week, has been invited by his Karnataka counterpart B.S. Yeddyurappa to be present at the unveiling ceremony.

To placate the agitated pro-Kannada activists, Yeddyurappa has promised to arrange a train journey to anyone from Karnataka wanting to go to Chennai to attend the unveiling of the Sarvajna statue on August 13.

One has to wait and see if unveiling of statues will improve the condition between two states.

Thinking practically, how many people in Karnataka really know about Thiruvalluvar or how many know about Sarvajna in Tamil Nadu? Sometimes, actions and decisions of politicians seem to be mere vote bank politics. If statues could improve ties, why not install statues of other great men of our neighbouring states also? But for an ordinary man, there’s much more to think and worry about. He will not worry about whether it is right or wrong to install the statues, but he’s more concerned about his life and livelihood. If the statue of Thiruvalluvar helps in getting justice to our farmers by fetching the due share of the Cauvery waters, the state will be more than happy and thankful to both the governments for their action!

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