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Pongal holiday controversy: Is there a controversy in first place?

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Yesterday in late evening hours, there was a new controversy that was brewing in Tamil Nadu. People were angry about it and was letting their tempers out in social media. The central govt. has removed the Tamizhar festival of Pongal from “national holiday” was the reason behind it. So was it the real story? Or some kind of false reporting from sections of media? Here are some myths that needs to be busted.

Myth 1: Pongal was a compulsory holiday:

There are two types of holidays issued by the central government. One is compulsory holiday and another is restricted. Compulsory holidays include the important religious festivals (Diwali, Christmas, Guru Nanak Jayanti, Id-Ul-Fitr, etc.) along with independence day, republic day and Gandhi Jayanti. They are 14 in total. Restricted holidays are festivals that are usually celebrated regionally and depending on the particular region holidays are announced. Each central government employee can avail all the compulsory holidays and selected 3 among the restricted holidays.

This was the circular issued by the ministry of personnel grievances and pensions in 2011. The list clearly shows that Pongal was in restricted holiday list and not in compulsory list as stated by the sections of media and opposition parties. This was further confirmed by Dr Anbumani Ramadoss who was the cabinet minister for health in the govt of UPA-1 from 2004 to 2009. For more than 15 years Pongal was in restricted holiday list and not in compulsory list.

Myth 2: Present Central Government decided to remove Pongal from the holiday list in Tamil Nadu:

This is also a myth since the list of holidays for the central government employees are decided by “the Central Government Employees Welfare Coordination Committee in the State Capitals” (read here) and not by the central government. So the central government doesn’t have a role in selecting the holidays amongst the restricted list. It depends entirely on the state s association members..

Myth 3: Central Government tries to change Tamil culture:

People were using the latest episode to further fuel hatred against the central govt, and against other festivities.

Well the changes from the list of 2017 and list of 2011 are nothing, except that the man sitting in the top is different and why waste an opportunity to spew venom even if there is no change whatsoever.

More importantly Holi and Ganesh Chaturthi continues to be in restricted holiday list along with Pongal rather than what our eminent intellectuals say and more over the intellectuals don’t know that Ganesh Chaturthi is a state govt holiday in Tamil Nadu itself. Such is the knowledge of our so called intellectuals.

Amidst a surcharged atmosphere in Tamil Nadu due to the Jallikattu issue, it’s better we stay focussd on it and get a resolution, rather than believing the media and self styled intellectuals on  false stories and the imaginary take over of Tamil culture by other people.

இந்தியா என்னுடைய நாடு. அதில் தமழன் என்பது என்னுடைய அடையாளம்.  நன்றி.

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