The books reprinted in 2020 are being distributed to the school students of all classes, the caste identity of the eminent scholars and leaders in the books has been removed by the textbook corporation. Name of the Tamil scholar U.Ve. Swaminatha Iyer has been printed as “Swaminathar” by removing the caste identity and the name of the freedom fighter VO Chidambaram Pillai has been printed as VO Chidambaram, several other names which appeared with caste names have been removed in the same way. Sources in the Tamil Nadu Textbook Corporation point out this is done in line with the existing government order to do away with the caste names in streets and in other public references.
Welcoming the move, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader and MP Thirumavalavan said that his party welcomes the move by the state government and will stand in support with the state government in all its effort to remove caste differences in the society.
PMK leader Ramadoss in his statement sought an exemption to retain the caste identity of the people who have achieved in various fields and this move by the state government will only help to wipe out the caste identity and not the caste itself.
In 1978, while addressing the centenary celebrations of Dravidar Kazhagam founder Periyar E V Ramasamy, then Chief Minister M G Ramachandran announced that his government would take steps to remove caste references from the names of streets and roads. Subsequently, a government order was issued for the same. In 1997, following communal riots in southern districts, then Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi removed the names of leaders given to various districts. Even transport corporations had to give up names like Pallavan, Pandian, Cheran, Chozhan and Pattukottai Alagiri.
The Tamil Nadu Textbook Corporation did not stop with Swaminatha Iyer. His teacher, Meenakshisundaram Pillai, is identified as Meenakshisundaranar.
Mayavaram Vedanayagam Pillai, author of the first Tamil novel, is referred to as just Vedanayagam; Sri Lankan Tamil scholar C.W. Thamotharampillai is now Damodaranar; and poet Namakkal Kavignar Ramalingam Pillai has become Ramalinganar.