Praise on page 1: Tamil newspapers laud celebration of Tamil culture at new Parliament

The prime minister inaugurated the new building on Sunday.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Yesterday, the front pages of leading English newspapers offered mixed reviews of Modi's inauguration of the new Parliament building. The opposition’s boycott, the wrestlers’ protest, the violence in Manipur – several papers offered space to the various controversies accompanying Sunday’s event. 

In Tamil Nadu, the four leading newspapers were in sync on May 29.  Coverage on their front pages united in applauding the event’s celebration of Tamil culture in the form of the sengol, which was carried through the new building with much fanfare and installed in a place of honour.

The front page of Dina Thanthi said, “With great fanfare, new Parliament building opened, 140 crore Indians proud”. The report said the inauguration was of “great joy” to all Indians.

Coverage continued across page 2, with reports on the president sending her greetings, those in attendance shouting “Modi, Modi”, the installation of the sengol and Modi offering prayers, and construction workers being honoured. The “holy sengol is giving hope”, Dina Thanthi reported, and is a “symbol of good governance”.

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Dinakaran’s top headline on page 1 read “Parliament opened to the sounds of the rituals and prayers of ancient Tamil Nadu”. The report described how Modi inaugurated the new building by “installing Tamil Nadu’s sengol”. The two other reports on page 1 were on the army killing 40 “terrorists” in Manipur, and on candidates appearing for civil services exams. A photo showed Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin on his visit to Japan.

Only the editorial on page 2 struck a more critical note. 

“Modi talked about the importance of democracy but in truth, during the opening of this Parliament...there is another danger for democracy in India,” Dinakaran said. Given the Manipur violence, the wrestlers’ protest, and the “rejection” by the opposition, “how can democracy blossom in such an environment?”

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Dinamalar’s page 1 headline struck a patriotic note. “No thoughts of slavery anymore!” The report said that until now, a building “built by the British” and considered a “symbol of our democracy”. “Now we have cast aside our colonial past and have our own Parliament building.”

It quoted Modi’s speech on the sengol and how the prime minister called the building a new “temple for democracy”. The editorial on page 2 continued in this vein; it described the sengol as the “pride of Tamil Nadu” and a “very proud moment for the state”.

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Finally, Dinamani’s front page said, “The new Parliament is showing India as a very strong democracy.” “The sengol will sit next to the people’s representative’s chair,” added the newspaper, which is part of the New Indian Express family.

Dinamani also had an editorial on the event which called the inaugural a “moment of great pride”.

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“Politicising this shows a lack of political maturity,” the editorial said. “Giving importance to who is inaugurating it and not participating will bring no pride to the Congress and 19 opposition parties.”

The Hindu Tamil’s epaper could not be accessed due to the website’s technical issues.

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