Is Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam the protector of Hindus, not the BJP?
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP of Thoothukudi, Mrs Kanimozhi, has taken a dig at the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) brought about by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government, in a public meeting held at Ramanathapuram along with the Indian Union Muslim League and other opposition allies of the DMK.
The Secular Progressive Alliance, which is led by the DMK, started a signature campaign opposing the CAA, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR) a week ago, aiming to acquire one crore signatures demanding the withdrawal of the amendment in the citizenship law and to repeal the NPR and NRC. Despite knowing that the amendment in the citizenship law has been adopted by due process, through proper democratic means after a public debate in both Houses of Parliament, this campaign was nevertheless carried out simply to create an anti-central government stance. With this aim in mind, public meetings were held at various districts by the DMK and its allies to voice out anti-CAA sentiments and create a wave of anti-government, anti-BJP stance amongst the people of Tamil Nadu.
During one such meeting held in Ramanathapuram on 9 February, Mrs Kanimozhi made many statements that were not even related to the subject of CAA, NRC or NPR and the so-called harm it causes to the citizens of India. Instead, she went on a rant on how the central government led by the BJP has essentially failed in all the promises it has made to its citizens. Until today, the DMK and its allies have not made a clear case against the CAA. Instead they have been fear-mongering and falsely misleading the Muslims in Tamil Nadu that with CAA and NPR, NRC will follow and that those Muslims without proper documentation will be put in detention centers. This devious propaganda has been successfully enacted in places like Shaheen Bagh, and the DMK is trying to replicate a similar anti-CAA rebellion in the Ramanathapuram district, in which the Muslims consist of 16%-18% of the population.
In her speech, Mrs Kanimozhi made a provoking statement about E.V. Ramasamy Naicker, whom the DMK refers to as “Periyar”, being the protector of Hindus and that the BJP, although it claims to be a party for the Hindus, has no right to claim as such and that the Hinduism BJP talks about, does not exist in Tamil Nadu. To speak about Hinduism in a seemingly supportive manner like this in the presence of the Muslims is something new for the DMK in recent times. The DMK has been gradually moving away from minority appeasement, and it has been attempting to pit itself as a pro-Hindu party, most probably under the advice of Mr Prashant Kishore.
The perception that the DMK is anti-Hindu has emerged gradually in Tamil Nadu in recent years, as the people are starting to notice Hindu appeasement politics being carried out by the DMK, in contrast to the ideological leanings of the party and its cadres. There was a time when the followers of E.V. Ramasamy proudly claimed that they beat the statue of Sri Rama with slippers. However, today they are on the defensive. In many instances, Mrs Kanimozhi herself has spoken outwardly that she is an atheist and even when she speaks about Hinduism, she makes a clear distinction between the Hinduism as practised by the “Dravidians” as opposed to the Hinduism practised by the “Aryans” (or the Hinduism that the BJP talks about). The President of DMK, Mr MK Stalin, has spoken about Vedic marriage rituals in a derogatory manner, and in many other instances he has expressed similar anti-Hindu statements without any consideration of hurting the sentiments the Hindu majority. Today, however, suddenly “Periyar” has become the protector of the Hindus, according to Mrs Kanimozhi.
As the false historical stories concocted by the Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) about “Periyar” untangles, the people in Tamil Nadu have become more receptive to the “right-wing” voice. Many right-wing social commentators like Mr Maridhas and Mr Kishore K Swamy have consistently exposed the lies of the DMK when it comes to E.V. Ramasamy. For example, it was widely known and also written in history textbooks that E.V.Ramasamy was the recipient of the UNESCO Award, calling him the Socrates of Southeast Asia, which was then exposed to be a misleading historical information that was purposely propagated by the DK.
Similar to this, the DK-DMK is now trying to mislead the people by promoting its ideologue, E.V.Ramasamy, as the protector of Hindus. The then Justice Party (the pre-cursor of the DK and whose head was E.V.Ramasamy), when it was ruling the Madras Presidency in the early 1900s, refused to revoke the Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) 1920. At that time, it was U. Muthuramalingam Thevar who vehemently opposed the CTA, putting a tough fight for the Justice Party. It was Muthuramalingam Thevar who fought for the rights of the various downtrodden tribes, who had been forcefully classified as criminal tribes under this brutal act. These villagers from various caste communities were neither saved by Justice Party, nor by E.V.Ramasamy who led the party. Therefore, to call E.V.Ramasamy as the protector of Hindus is a lie stretched too far, that the people have started mocking the DMK for exposing itself and its political appeasement tactics.
Before pointing fingers at the BJP, the DMK has to ask itself whether it has been the protectors of Hindus and Hinduism with the following questions:
- Why did the DMK, on 17 November 2009, released from jail nine terrorists who were members of Al Ummah, convicted in the 1998 Coimbatore blasts, citing the occasion of 100th birth anniversary of Arignar Anna, who is the ex-Chief Minister and founder of the DMK?
- Has the DMK, in any of its official press releases or in the TV Channels run by the party or in official Twitter/Facebook handles, wished the Hindus on the occasion of any Hindu festivals, like Deepavali, Saraswati Puja, or Navaratri? However, without fail, the DMK wishes the Christians and Muslims for Christmas and Ramzan respectively. Why does the DMK have these double standards?
- Why do the DMK party members paint any Hindu or any supporter of Narendra Modi, our Prime Minister, as “saffron” and refer to them as “sanghi”, instead of hearing them out and genuinely taking concerns for the Hindu causes?
- What purpose does the DMK want to achieve by speaking derogatorily about Hindu marriage rites and rituals in a public forum?
- If the DMK truly cares for the Hindu’s religious sentiments, then why did it not support the beliefs of the Sabarimala devotees? Whereas in another instance, in 2006, when the DMK was able to respect the religious beliefs and sentiments of the Christians and hence, decided to ban the movie ‘The Da Vince Code’, why did the DMK not show a similar respect for Hindu beliefs in the Sabarimala issue?
These anti-CAA gatherings conducted by the DMK are nothing but anti-central government, more accurately anti-BJP, gatherings. The DMK has always been spreading subtle separatist ideas and sentiments, conditioning the people of Tamil Nadu to be averse to nationalism, especially Hindu nationalism. It has constantly maintained that Tamils are not Hindus and that we are a distinct race, subtly hinting that we are separate and unique when compared to the rest of India.
Such politics is not healthy for the unity and social integrity of our nation, and therefore, there is sufficient basis to call for a ban of the DMK. Without the divisive politics and corrupt practices of the DMK, there will be peace and religious harmony in Tamil Nadu.
I am an aspiring writer and a spiritual seeker. In the corporate world, I am an accountant. I teach Hinduism and Hindu Philosophy at The Hindu Hub, a non-profit organisation situated at Singapore.