Karunanidhi’s comments should not be blown out of proportion

M KarunanidhiVenkatesan R. Iyengar writes in the Meri News that the arguments should be seen in the light of the Dravidian politics of Tamilnadu and should not be blown out of proportion.

Dravidian politics and atheism

The origin of Dravidian movement and Dravidian parties can be traced to the Self Respect Movement (Suya Mariyadhai Iyakkam) founded in 1925 by EV Ramasamy Naicker (popularly known as Periyar) in Tamilnadu. The major objective of the self-respect movement was the removal of caste inequalities from the society and creation of self-respect among the socially backward sections. Periyar held the Tamil Brahmins responsible for the plight of the backward castes and scheduled castes and tribes in Tamilnadu and elsewhere. Consequently, the self-respect movement soon morphed into anti-Brahminism and there were sporadic attacks on Brahmins of Tamilnadu, this despite Periyar’s opposition to violence as a means of setting social and political differences.

…Unfortunately, Periyar’s noble ideology soon became a victim of its own shortsightedness. While Periyar was, in a way, right in finding fault with the Brahmins for the caste differences in the society, he failed to address the caste discrimination and atrocities perpetrated by non-Brahmins within the Hindu fold. His ‘thanmaanam’ (self-respect) and ‘Pahuthu arivu’ (rationalism) led to blind opposition to anything and everything related to Hinduism, which cut no ice with even the people whose cause he was championing. His tirade against ‘mooda nambikai’ (superstition) and the novel protests that his cadre indulged in only served to alienate many Hindu believers.

…And while Periyar was a “diehard atheist” his successor Annadurai “replaced that extreme stance with his slogan ‘Onre kulam Oruvane devan’ (One Community, One God). While Karunanidhi has all along remained seemingly an atheist [his backer and friend actor MG Ramachandran]., MGR and his protégé Jayalalithaa have never tried to hide their faith in god and religious rituals.

However, Karunanidhi’s atheism is a bit suspect. While he openly chided one of his cabinet ministers for ‘fire walking’ (walking on hot coals) at a Maariyamman (Durga) temple, he never said anything about his first wife Dayalu Ammal touching the feet of Puttaparthi Satya Sai Baba, when the latter visited their home in Chennai.

Attacking Lord Rama not political suicide in South India

Karnandihi’s recent remarks questioning the existence of Rama should be seen in the backdrop of the Dravidian ideology.

Lord Rama, seen as a North Indian import, “never strikes an emotional chord with a majority in Tamilnadu, as say, Goddess Maariyamman (Durga) or Lord Murugan (Subrahmanya) does….Hence, expecting that a majority of Tamils would be up in arms over Karunanidhi’s snide remarks against Rama and Ramayana is to expect the impossible.”

Karunanidhi knows this only too well….he has nothing to lose electorally by denigrating Rama. However, at the same time, he wouldn’t think of questioning the authenticity of Lord Murugan or Maariyamman because that would be akin to inviting trouble on the home turf and committing political hara-kiri.

However, Karunanidhi should be careful not to stretch things too far. The sequence of events that began with ASI’s affidavit, his remark against Rama, the ransacking of his daughter’s house in Bangalore by Sangh Parivar activists, the reported ‘fatwa’ by Vedanti, the attack on the BJP party office in Chennai by the DMK cadre, the reported attack on DMK workers in Mumbai could spiral out of control and give an opportunity to a party like Shiv Sena to revive its anti-Tamil campaign in Mumbai. Hence, the focus of Karunanidhi and his dispensation should be on the Sethu Samudhram project and finding a way out of the imbroglio and not on the authenticity of the Ramayana.”

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2 responses to “Karunanidhi’s comments should not be blown out of proportion

  1. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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