Close on the heels of the Ambedkar cartoon row, a cartoon on the anti-Hindi agitation in Tamil Nadu in the 1960s in a NCERT class XII text book has kicked up another controversy in the state, with key United Progressive Alliance ally Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam demanding its removal and other parties joining the chorus.
The piece by renowned cartoonist R K Laxman, printed in the class XII political science book, is seen by the Dravidian parties as showing the student agitators against Hindi in 1965 in a poor light.
"The 1938 and 1965 anti-Hindi agitations are moments of pride for the DMK. The cartoon ridiculing such a movement would infuriate Tamils. Therefore, the Centre should immediately intervene and ensure it is removed from text books to respect
Tamils' sentiments," DMK chief M Karunanidhi said.
The anti-Hindi agitation marked a watershed in Tamil Nadu's politics, with DMK making it a focal point of its movement. The Dravidian party ousted the Congress and came to power in 1967.
Recalling that the DMK's key planks included opposing Hindi's imposition on non-Hindi speaking states, Karunanidhi said he had led a protest way back in 1938 on the issue.
Opposition to the cartoon grew with a host of leaders, including Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's Vaiko and Dravidar Kazhagam leader K Veeramani condemning it and demanding its removal.
Raking up the issue first, Vaiko had on Friday written to Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, demanding that the contentious cartoon be removed
Veeramani, in a statement, not only demanded the removal of the cartoon but also of Sibal as HRD minister, saying he was acting against social justice and should own responsibility for all the controversies involving education, social justice and textbooks.