Modi is known for his brilliant usage of symbolisms to its maximum effect in his speeches. His recent surprise visit to Ladak which electrified the nation and the subsequent address he made to the army-men stationed there also was not an exception to this experience.
While his visit was a great symbolism in itself, through which he sent an unmistakably strong signal to China that he is not a Nehru and he is damn serious about this business. In his speech to the men in uniform whose spirits might have been sky-high with pride and with boosted morale and confidence while listening to the Prime Minister speaking to them directly, he said, while we are a nation who revere lord Sri Krishna in his form of playing a soothing and melodious flute, we also do pooja of the same Bhagwan Sri Krishna in his form of brandishing his killing weapon called Sudarsna Chakra. Meaning of which will never be missed to China and everyone else that while India is a peace loving, non-expansionist nation, it can also be a ruthless destroyer if pushed to be so.
This is how Modi uses symbolism to convey his messages. While Sri Krishna analogy was meant for the enemies from outside the nation, there was another one aimed at the internal enemies who are in disguise.
Of course when you are interacting with the soldiers of the nation who are amidst a war, you need awe-inspiring quotes from great sources or personalities praising and boosting the valour of the army. We know Modi will know this better than anyone else because we know he is a master in this league– and yes he did it this time too with clinical precision, as expected. The great source he used this time for a quote was the Tamil classical text Tirukulal.
The quote was “Maramanam manda vazhichelavu thetram yena nangey yemam padaikku.” Meaning “The tradition and credibility of valour, honour, dignified behaviour, these four qualities are the reflection of the army of any country.’’ ‘’Indian forces have always followed this path” the Prime Minister said.
This was not the first time Prime Minister Modi was quoting from this most revered ancient classic text of India in Tamil. It was not missed by the Indian media either- Indian Express catches it promptly https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2020/jul/04/pm-narendra-modi-quotes-from-tirukkural-again-now-for-soldiers-in-ladakh-2165064.html.
It had been a long maintained fashion or tradition for the Indian leaders to pepper their speeches with quotes from the vast ocean of our ancient Sanskrit texts like Vedas, Puranas, smritis etc. They know that those Sanskrit quotes give their speeches an air of depth of knowledge and hence a feel of authenticity.
If observed closely one can see that Modi has brought in a change into this tradition recently. He started alternatively using quotes from ancient Tamil texts, especially from Tirukural along with that from the ancient Sanskrit texts.
This is not any accident, neither it is that Modi wants to show-off his knowledge of Tamil. This should be a well thought-out strategy by the master strategists of the ruling dispensation. There are mainly two reasons behind this strategy or rather it is a two-pronged strategy.
The first reason is that Modi and the ruling nationalist, RSS-backed BJP dispensation want to counter the secessionist narrative of some vested interest groups by pitting Tamil against Sanskrit in building a divisive narrative of ‘South India v/s North India’.
By this grand strategy, Modi – the Prime Minister of India and BJP – the so called Hindu nationalist party are openly and whole heartedly accepting the claims of Tamil that Tamil language is indeed on par with Sanskrit, much to the agony of the trouble makers who had been for decades painstakingly trying to feed the Tamil populous that ‘Hindutva forces under RSS is bent on undermining the glorious tradition and heritage of Tamil language on the expense of Sanskrit’.
Modi by his gestures is telling the Tamil population of the country that, see we India has two glorious ancient, culture-rich languages in Tamil and Sanskrit. There is no need of competition between the two, instead what is needed is taking pride in both, instead of one we have two, so we are two times prouder. That is the message Modi is sending out. And there are signals that this message is well taken by the Tamil people in the country.
The second reason is more subtle than the more obvious first one. One might think that Tamil is just a language of one of the many states of India then why would PM give so much focus on this. Answer is that Tamil is not just one of the regional languages like many more such in India. Tamil is ‘one of the’ most ancient languages of India on par with Sanskrit on antiquity, culture and literary traditions. Even it can be said that Tamil ‘is the’ most ancient commonly used language as Sanskrit is not in use by the common populous. And there is a manufactured hurt feeling among Tamil people on this topic and there are serious players out there to use this to fan the secessionist fire in the country – on their even grander plan to carve out a country of their own. And in that grand design Tirukural plays a majors role along with other prominent ancient classic Tamil texts like Shaiva Siddhanta.
The fraudulent Aryan Invasion Theory invented by European-evangelical colonists in 1800s like Max Mueller has the root of the current problem of the misplaced Tamil chauvinism which has transformed today into a full-fledged anti-Indian, secessionist Dravidian-Christian nationalist movement. This is what Modi and BJP are trying to neutralise today.
The main argument of this so called Dravidian-Christian fundamentalism operational in Tamil Nadu today is that ‘the Dravidian South-India is separate from the Aryan North-India. Hinduism is the religion of Aryans. Sanskrit is their language. Dalits of the South India are the predecessors of Dravidians. Religion of Dravidian-Dalit South-India is Christianity and it has to secede from India to form a new nation called South-India whose religion will be Christianity and whose racial identity will be Dravidian. This is the only solution to the North Indian Aryan’s oppression of Dalits of South India.’
Both the notions of Aryan and Dravidian are the imagination of European-evangelical colonists. Even though one can trace the words ‘Arya’ and ‘Dravida’ back into earlier Sanskrit texts, there was no usage of the words ‘Aryan’ and ‘Dravidan’ in the sense of a ‘racial identity’ as being used today was never in existence prior to colonial misinterpretation of the original words.
This is nothing less dangerous and similar situation than the initial days of propagandizing the new idea of Pakistan in the run up of India’s independence and subsequent partition. Modi and co. want to nip this in bud this time as it is not yet very late.
To give credibility to this weird theory that the Christian evangelists forces under the guise of Dravidian and Dalit politics have picked up the classic Tamil text Tirukkural written by the sage Tiruvalluvar, for which every house hold of Tamil Nadu has a high regard. Colonial evangelist scholars like G.U Pope has theorised that Tirukural is written from influence of Bible and it is not a Hindu text but a Christian text. Then got introduced a whole new theory based on St.Thomas myth that he had came to South India and all ancient Tamil classical texts like Sangam literature, which actually predates to Jesus’ time, are said to be created under St.Thomas’ Christian influence and hence all the Tamil classics should be called Dravidian-Christianity. Tamil separatists like M.Deivanayagam even claimed that Tiruvalluvar was converted to Christianity by St.Thomas.
This is part of the global ambitions of Church to convert their next big soul-harvesting-field called India by fragmenting it by encouraging disunity of all possible sorts and then digest into Christianity.
Even after Vatican has officially debunked the theory of St.Thomas ever coming to South India (https://www.rediff.com/news/2006/nov/22pope.htm), the St.Thomas myth has got considerable number of takers in Tamil Nadu today thanks to the various political interest groups like DK the predecessor of DMK whose core ideology was built on anti-Brahmanism and anti-Hinduism and pro-evangelists.
They all still nurture the dream of carving out a Tamil nation from India which will be a Dravidian-Christian nation – behind the curtain encouraged by Church and various Christian evangelical groups. Artificially induced Tamil chauvinism made pitted against Sanskrit is the fuel for that separatist movement and Christianised Tiruvalluvar and Christianised Tirukkural are the main tools in their hands for its execution.
So, now you can see the 2 pronged counter attacks Modi and BJP are strategising against the secessionist narratives of Dravidian-Christian separatism by placing Tamil and Sanskrit on an equal respect and regularly quoting from Tirukural and Sanskrit at the same time. This sends out a successful broader message to the normal Tamil populous that Tamil-Sanskrit-Hindu-India all are part of one big family and not enemies as some interest groups are trying to project to them.
This is the Save-Indian-Unity project Modi and co. subtly carrying foreword.