VAITHEESWARAN KOIL – TAMIL NADU – INDIA DECEMBER 25 , 2012 10.55 P.M.
The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was created in 1969 when erstwhile Madras State was renamed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After going through my two previous blogs on ” Understanding Tamil Nadu ” , I think that E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” and his various steps , which he took during his movements , would be properly understood out of Tamil Nadu also . His rationalism , espousal of self-respect , advocacy for women rights and eradication of caste system is epoch – making and has everlasting effect on Tamil people and Tamil Nadu .
A Young E. V. Ramasamy Naicker Periyar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
His works among weaker sections of Tamil Nadu , his efforts for the uplifting of lower castes , long subjugated by Brahmins , would be always held in high esteem and would be considered exemplary .
His untiring efforts for the uplifting of women bears indelible marks on the social psyche of Tamil society . Widow marriage , in my opinion , is his most colossal work .
He tirelessly worked for the eradication of child marriage . He espoused inter – caste marriages and opened many educational institutions for the weaker section of society .
It is not for nothing that UNESCO citation in 1970 described Periyar as ” the prophet of the new age , the Socrates of South East Asia , father of social reform movement and arch enemy of ignorance , superstitions , meaningless customs and base manners .”
His blind opposition of HINDI , HINDU , HINDUSTAN somewhat darkens his other exemplary and far – reaching social works . It is this aspect of his personality and work that brings suspicion and doubt in the minds of large sections of North India . To understand Tamil Nadu better , let us take all the three causes of Periyar , one by one .
HINDI : I closely followed politics since my Allahabad days . I went to Allahabad in 1967 and it was the year when anti – Hindi agitation started in Tamil Nadu . I read many wicked stories published in the Hindi newspapers and magazines of those days . One story said that if you are lost and approach a Tamil speaking person for asking the right route , you will be unable to get an answer if you ask in Hindi . Even if a Tamil speaking person knows Hindi , he won’t answer and will go away saying ” HINDI ILLAI ” .
I found this story false during my recent forays in the hinterlands of Tamil Nadu . If I approach a person for asking something and even if I ask the question in Hindi , I was not spurned . I get the answer in broken Hindi and that too with smiling face . Sometimes if the person genuinely doesn’t know Hindi , instead of running away , he tries to explain everything in fluent Tamil with lots of hand movements and facial expressions .
If Tamil people think that Tamil is an ancient language and it is older than Hindi , I think that we have to respect the sentiment . Tamil is used in every sphere of Tamil Nadu and you will hardly find signboards in Hindi but in my opinion that is absolutely fine . A particular language should be respected and should be used in the land of its origin . That’s the basis for the formation of linguistic states , which has been agreed by all the political parties .
HINDU : E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” was atheist for sure . Through his organization Dravid Kazhagam , he started denouncing Hinduism . It started with denunciation of Iyers and Iyengars , Brahmins of Tamil Nadu and culminated in processions , where idols of Ram , Sita and Lakshman were garlanded with slippers .
I can understand his dislike for Brahmins . I am willing to fathom his opposition of Sanskrit language also . I am willing to accept his credo of atheism . We in India have accepted Charvak , the first atheist , as a saint . But you can’t force your belief of not believing in religion on others .
He organized a procession to the Marina beach in 1956 , to burn pictures of Rama , the God . His followers broke idols in the temples , banished Brahmins from the every section of tamil society and organized Ravan Leelas .
But in my recent visits to the state , I found to my surprise that in every temple of Tamil Nadu a serpentine queue of devotees are visible . It has to be seen to be believed . People come in very large numbers and they pray and worship . Temples are well maintained in Tamil Nadu and I can vouch that Hinduism is thriving in the state much vigorously . Dravid Kazhagam is now a smaller force and Tamil Nadu is as religious as any part of India . In following the tenets of Hinduism they are much ahead and dogmatically strict . On EKADASHI , I found people thronging the temples . I am yet to see same enthusiasm on EKADASHI in North India . Moreover the Tamil Nadu state emblem tells it in a more fitting way .
Emblem of the State Government of Tamil Nadu used by the state government for public notices in the press and for publicity purposes. The emblem of India is the image used on the India Wikipedia article. தமிழ்: தமிழ் நாடு அரசின் சின்னம். (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Burning effigies of Bhagawan Ram and other Hindu Gods and the days of celebrating Ravan Leelas are over . Atheism can be accepted , as Charvak was accepted in olden times and he was even called a RISHI .
HINDUSTAN : One of the most disturbing legacy of Periyar was to give a call for Dravid Nadu . He wanted to unite all the four provinces of South India and wanted this entity to be an independent Dravid Nadu .
But majority of his supporters revolted against this demand . In the leadership of C. N. Annadurai , they formed Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam and fought elections . Since 1965 either D.M.K. or A.I.A.D.M.K. rules the state and the demand of so-called Dravid Nadu is thrown somewhere in the trash bins of history .
But demand for separation from India is there in Jammu & Kashmir and all the provinces of North East India . They are more palpable . In fact these provinces are waging armed struggle against the nation . Then why to blame only Tamil Nadu ? There was just a demand and that too by just one organization , Dravid Kazhagam . And today Dravid Kazhagam is not a major force .
A very interesting fact of Tamil Nadu and Dravid politics is that Periyar was himself a Kannada speaking Kannadiga . One of the most successful chief ministers of Tamil Nadu , M. G. Ramachandran was a Kandy , Sri Lanka born and Malayalam speaking actor turned politician . current chief minister Miss Jayalalithaa Jayaram is also a Kannadiga and the irony of the situation is that she is a Brahmin . And she speaks fluent Hindi . Present day superstar Rajanikant , incidentally , is a Maharashtrian .
Jayalalitha , the current Chief Minister of , Tamil Nadu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So the fort of atheism and anti Hindi these days is held by Muthuvel Karunanidhi only . But even his family members have changed . M. K. Stalin and Kannimozhi are not that dogmatic .
K. Karunanidhi, the ex Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So I am stating with all my knowledge accumulated during this visit that Tamil Nadu is changing . Or it has already changed ?
After my return , I would love to share these findings with all the current students of my acting institute Vidur’s Kreating Charakters .
MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA
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