Formation of Tamil Nadu
The formation of Tamil Nadu, based mainly on political trends and conceived after the linguistic status reorganisation, emerged as an offshoot of the freedom struggle of India. The trends and development in the socio-political scene of Madras-based on the Linguistic Movement. The glory and the antiquity of Tamil language touched the minds of Tamil scholars as well as Tamil people and unified them under the new political system of independent India.
The States Reorganisation Commission submitted the final report in 1955. It recommended the creation of the States of Madras, Mysore, and Kerala. According to States Reorganisation Commission, the new Madras State came into existence on 1st November 1956. The States Reorganisation Act, 1956 was a major reform of the boundaries of India’s States and territories, organising them along linguistic lines.
The State Reorganisation Commission recommended on the basis of the percentage of the people speaking Tamil, in the four taluks namely Agasteeswaram, Thovalai, Kalkulam, and Vilavancode to Tamil Nadu from the State of Travancore. The same yardstick was applied for the transfer of Shenkotta taluk to Tamil Nadu.
However , while dealing with Devikulam and Peermedu (Idukki), even though the majority was Tamil speaking people and the representatives to the State assembly were Tamils. The Commission used a different yardstick and recommended to retain in Travancore – Cochin State due to geographical reasons.
For the first time in history Tamil Nadu has been created as a district linguistic State.
Struggle for Renaming Madras State into Tamil Nadu
After the attainment of a separate State for Tamils, they were not fully satisfied since they wanted to change the name of the State from Madras to Tamil Nadu. The struggle for the renaming of Madras State into Tamil Nadu continued for more than a decade. The States Reorganisation Commission had not recommended for the adoption of the name Tamil Nadu for the reorganised Madras State.
Ma.Po. Si, tireless efforts an all-party conference was convened on 27th January 1956 which called for a general hartal on 20th Feb 1956. A number of protests and agitation took place in Madras State. Sankaralinganar, a freedom fighter and one of the disciples of Gandhi who belonged to Virudhunager demanded to rename Madras State as Tamil Nadu. He observed fast unto his death from 27 July 1956 to his last breath on 13th October 1956.
The death of Sankaralinganar created a mass struggle in Madras State. College students, labourers, women, and different organisations openly participated in the movements. Later this affected the politics of Madras State. Owing to the influence of these movements, Congress lost its popularity among the people. Finally, it reflected in the 1967 general election, when Congress was totally swept away from Tamil Nadu and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) captured political power. DMK renamed the Madras State as ‘Tamil Nadu’.