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HomeOpinionsIs the Dravidian despotism ending: The fickle state of polity

Is the Dravidian despotism ending: The fickle state of polity

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The Dravidian parties of Tamil Nadu are well aware that the ground under their feet is slipping and have resorted to contemptible methods to find their footing.

In the grab of subtle campaign activities by many parties for assembly elections it is imperative to talk about the challenges it throws. With the 5-state election coming up in summer of 2021, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal seem to be the toughest for the BJP. B.S.Yeduyurappa is the first leader to set up a BJP Government in South India. However, the local scenario seems to be absolutely different in Tamil Nadu when compared to any other state. The state has never had a nationalistic approach towards elections. The coordination between state and central governments as well as true representation of the people have never been given importance. This was evident in the 2019 parliamentary elections when the DMK won 24 seats all by itself despite being purely anti developmental.

Tamil Nadu has always been at the forefront of economic development. The main grounds on which any election is fought is always women empowerment, education and infrastructure. The state has successfully done all of these through the years irrespective of changes in governments. As of 2017-18 The southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala alone had a combined GDP of 25.8 lakh crore and a per capita income of 1.7 lakh crore. (source: MoSPI)

With regard to industrialization, Major automobile manufacturers, such as Hyundai, Ford, Renault and BMW, have production facilities in and around Chennai. Also the Tiruppur-Coimbatore-Salem corridor is considered the “Manchester of South India” due to its large cluster of textile industries. The main reason for Chennai being the automobile capital is not only the conducive environment for investment but also the technical capacity of labour. Founder of AIADMK and former Chief minister, M.G Ramachandran opened new avenues for education, particularly geared towards industry. He strengthened lower level technical education by setting up various industrial training institutes and polytechnic colleges which prove beneficial till date.

Tamil Nadu today has universal primary school attendance and the highest gross enrolment in higher education in India. The midday meal scheme started by Kamaraj was restarted by MGR in 1977 when he formed the government after a long DMK rule. This proves as a decisive factor in the electoral scene even today.  Moreover, The state has performed better than any other state with managing the covid-19 pandemic too.

The state has maintained policy consistency and commitment to industrialisation across changes in political leadership. 

So when food security, education and infrastructure are taken care of, where Tamil people are feeling secured with this development trajectory, what has the state done wrong?

A vicious sense of separatism has developed over the last few years, After the death of J.Jayalalitha , to be precise.  The anti-BJP result in 2019 was portrayed with pride in the state. It is natural to see varied results as that is the essence of a democracy. However, the elections are only driven by hatred.  The Dravidian parties, with concerted efforts have made sure that they have a strong hold by making people think that the Tamil people will be neglected by the BJP.  The meaning of the word “Dravidian” has changed according to political conveniences to the extent that brahmins living in the state are called invaders. In the contrast, The same Dravidian party lauded Kamala Harris for her “Tamil roots”.

Whether it was the jallikattu issue or the sterlite protests, it was made sure that Narendra Modi’s name was dragged in and tarnished. Speaking of the sterlite protests, It was an activity of only political intentions and nothing else. The Tamil Nadu pollution control board was still inspecting the issue while the protests went out of hand and the plant was closed. Little is any politician aware of the repercussions. The copper import increased to 233% in 2018-19. In 2017-18 export increased by 70% and import fell by 69.9%. this has caused a net increase of  2 billion dollars in import cost. Unfortunately, the so called broadminded youth were at the forefront of this.

The Narenda Modi government has repeatedly made schemes for young minds and encouraged their participation in the development of the country, Especially the first time voters and first generation graduates.

However, in Tamil Nadu, the youth are carried away by the separatist idea. “Periyarism” is considered as the broadminded approach. E.V Ramasamy Naicker (Also known as thanthai periyar) started the dravidar kazhagam to preach atheism, anti- brahmin  activism, abolition of caste system  and women empowerment. The Dravidian ideology was diluted long back when C.N Annadurai left the DK to form the DMK ( dravida munnetra kazhagam) and shifted to a more secular approach instead of an atheist one.

However, These parties have contradicted themselves time and again. ‘Periyar’ was a vocal supporter of British Raj, hoping that they might accept his demand for ‘Dravida Nadu’ (A separate south India) when the British were the people who even introduced the caste system. Hence, the sense of separatism is age old and not anything new-fangled. The (ostensible) care for backward people is always garbed in Brahmin hatred and not real, impactful work. As much as the protestors always speak of abiding by the constitution, little do they respect the freedom of faith of the Hindus. If the DMK was truly formed to establish secularism, why did they have to ally with the Muslim league which is clearly a religious party? The minority appeasement is so shameless that these parties have lost their primary ideology and in the court of public opinion, these parties are on a terminal decline.

In the recent past, Tamil Nadu has been represented by black balloons and spewing of uncouth slogans. The impact of this was largely seen in the 2019 general election results.

So, what affects the votes in TN?

J.Jayalalitha’s schemes for women still have popularity among masses. The most prominent ones have been gold for marriage, amma canteen, provision of household appliances, laptops for education and maternity care schemes. Her idea of progressive women development has been crushed by the regressive feminism of the DMK. Being a woman who rose amidst absolute patriarchy of the men in the opposition, The women of the state have immense respect for her work and compassion. Despite this , the AIADMK which got 44.34% votes in 2014 got only 18.53% in 2019.

Why the anti-incumbency upsurge?

The DMK has used caste, patronage and  brazen BJP hatred to their socio-political benefit. Ironically, these are the ones who talk of “samathuvam” (equality) despite getting caste / religion based votes. What happened in 2019 need not necessarily happen in the 2021 assembly elections. With new faces such as Rajinikanth, kamal haassan and especially the new BJP state leadership ,the votes will drastically differ.

The disassociation of the state is dangerous for the country not because of the anti-BJP sentiments but because of the separatist ideas. It might sound very easy for one to demand a “thani Tamil Nadu” (separate TN), but it’s high time we realise that this is a menace troubling our nation’s integrity and economic development. Above all, It is a threat to our democratic ideals adopted by the constitution.

There is no space for developmental politics in the state, Hence, very evidently, religion is the crucial tool.  In a state where forcefully cutting a brahmin’s janeau and disrobing a female MLA is not questioned , how can democracy thrive?

Under the Dravidian despotism, Hindus used to dread to exercise their freedom of speech. The DMK simply needed an easy-going Brahmin community as a pushover for their cheap political tricks. They are not the custodians of Tamil identity anymore. We are making a grave mistake by calling these devastating forces as liberals even as a joke. Dravidian parties and Tamil nationalism have become mutually exclusive and we need to act like it.

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