Understanding Tamil Nadu – [ 1 ]


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VAITHEESWARAN KOIL – TAMIL NADU – INDIA           DECEMBER 23 , 2012           11.55 P.M.

When I landed at Chennai Airport on December 21 , 2012 , it marked my 3rd visit to the Southern metropolis . On December 22 , 2012 , when I drove to Vaitheeswaran Koil in the morning , it marked my 2nd visit to the hinterlands of Tamil Nadu .

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was...

The political state of Tamil Nadu in India was created in 1969 when erstwhile Madras State was renamed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People of my generation always view Tamil Nadu and Tamil people through the prism , which was created in 1967 , when the first Dravidian government was formed in Tamil Nadu under the leadership of C. N. Annadurai .

But if you want to understand Dravid Movement of Tamil Nadu , you have to study the history of Self Respect Movement and Justice Party stablished by E. V. Ramasamy Naicker a.k.a. Periyar . It all started in 1925 , much before 1967 , when Annadurai led D.M.K. [ Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam ] formed the first non – Congress government in Tamil Nadu .

In the history of India , 1925 seems to be a very unique year . In the Tamil Nadu E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” started his Self Respect Movement and in the same year in Nagpur Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar started R.S.S. [ Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ] . Periyar’s movement is considered separatist and anti national by many and Dr. Hedgewar’s movement is perceived ultra nationalist by the majority . But it is uncanny that both the movements were started in 1925 .

English: Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Periyar E.V. Ram...

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on 06-Jan-1940 at Jinnah’s residence in Bombay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Dr. Hedgewar

Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar , Founder of R.S.S. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is said that Periyar was peeved by the superiority of Brahmins and their dominance in all the departments and strata of Tamil culture and life . He started this movement called Sel Respect and started espousing the cause of non – Brahmin castes of Tamil Nadu . He started breaking idols in the temple , advocated atheism , despised JANEU , the sacred thread and finally gave a call for the boycott of Brahmin priests in the marriages . His espousal of Self Respect Marriage had far – reaching repercussions and he became quite unpopular in rest of the country . His anti – Brahmin crusades drew wide – spread indignation and his opposition of Hindu deity worship was considered as anti Hindu and finally anti India .

Both the Tamilian parties ; Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam [ DMK ] and All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam [ AIADMK ] owe their existence to E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” and his movement . And thus atheism and anti North India and anti Hindi credo became their life lines . And when DMK came to power in 1967 , Anna Durai accepted many things which were espoused by Periyar . Thus in the rest of India people became suspicious and majority started disliking DMK and it anti Hindi , anti God and anti North India policies .

I was definitely misguided by this prism , which I got while studying in Allahabad from 1967 to 1974 . My recent visits have changed my perception of Tamil Nadu , Tamil people and Tamil politics of Dravidian parties .

I will complete this ” Understanding Tamil Nadu ” series in my next blog and would like to share it with all the current students of my acting academy Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  after my return from Tamil Nadu .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

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A Tearful Tribute to Bala Saheb Thackeray


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 22 , 2012           11.20 P.M.

I was trying to write this obituary since Saturday . But I couldn’t . There were many things , many thoughts running in my mind simultaneously . And in such circumstances flood-gates of memory gets opened and submerges our psyche .

On Saturday November 17 , 2012 , I was sitting in the office of my Acting Institute , Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , when I heard about the demise of Shri Bala Saheb Thackeray . I closed my Acting Class immediately and returned home . Then I started watching TV . Every channel was full of the sad news . While watching the channels , I was thrown into the year 1967 , the year I passed high school examinations , left my native place Deoria and went to Allahabad for higher studies .

In Allahabad I heard about Shiv Sena , the 1-year-old new emerging force in Maharashtra .

Shiv Sena

Shiv Sena Symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The year was 1967 and Shiv Sena was just 1-year-old organization . I took admission in the Government Inter College , Allahabad and like all the youngsters of my age , I was trying to gather more knowledge , was trying to know more things about the world . I , along with my friends , used to read news papers and discuss events and personalities . Because of Shiv Sena’s pro – Marathi policies and staunch parochial attitude , the organization Shiv Sena and its leader Bal Thackeray [ as Bala Saheb was known then ] , was centre of debate and topic of many heated discussions .

I finished my studies , returned to my native place again and started my life afresh . Destiny sometimes plan things differently and plays unique games . So in 1989 I landed up in Bombay . The city , yet to be rechristened Mumbai , became my permanent abode . In 1989 Shiv Sena got registered as a political party . So my life in Mumbai and life of Shiv Sena as a political party began simultaneously in 1989 .

As I started living in Mumbai , I took note of Shiv Sena , started reading about it and started appreciating Shri Bala Saheb Thackeray and his ideology . I was not mature in 1967 , so I was critical of Bala Saheb’s policies and as a north – Indian felt bad when he uttered something against the north Indians . But as my life began in Mumbai , I started feeling that if someone feels that Marathi language , Marathi culture should be paramount in Maharashtra , there is no harm . If a leader says that Marathi should get preference in Maharashtra and it should be the state language , it is absolutely fine . Marathi language should get preference as the state language . If some organization advocates , propounds and is vocal about jobs for the son – of – the – soil , I feel that it is not unjustified at all and is definitely not anti – national .

So re – evaluation of Bala Saheb as a person and as a leader of Shiv Sena began in my mind . I must admit that slowly all the misgivings of previous years evaporated from my mind . 1990 onwards I could appreciate him in a much better way . I came to know about his early days as a cartoonist in ” The Free Press Journal ” . I saw some of the cartoons , which were published in ” Marmik ” , a magazine which he started after leaving ” The Free Press Journal “. He was second to none as a cartoonist , not even to the legendary R. K. Laxman . His cartoon character Kaka Ji , though not as famous as the Common Man of R. K. Laxman , was a poignant work of art . He even designed the famous logo of Raj Kapoor‘s R. K. Films .

As an orator , he had few equals . His connect with the masses was absolute . When I heard him for the first time , I was mesmerized , though my knowledge of Marathi was limited in those days .

It is unfortunate that I could not meet him in person . I am writing a book on acting and it was my secret wish that Bala Saheb should launch the book . Alas , along with so many wishes , my this wish will also remain unfulfilled .

While sitting at home and watching his funeral procession on Sunday , I remembered some other funeral processions of eminent Indians . I have seen Mahatma Gandhi’s funeral procession in photos . He attracted mammoth crowd even after his death . I do remember Jawahar Lal Nehru’s and Indira Gandhi’s last journey . Again the crowd was unprecedented . Last year I visited Anna Durai’s memorial in Puducherri and was stunned to see photos of his last journey . Apart from these above mentioned last journeys of  great Indian leaders , I have never seen such huge crowd for anybody’s last journey . Jawahar Lal Nehru , Indira Gandhi and Anna Durai held high positions in government . Mahatma Gandhi is the sole example of not holding any post and still commanding such respect after his death . Bala Saheb stands second only to Mahatma Gandhi .

I am sad that I could not meet him earlier and now after his demise it is not possible anymore .

English: Photo of Uddhav Thackeray, taken at B...

Photo of Uddhav Thackeray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my behalf and on the behalf of my acting institute Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , I offer condolences to Shri Uddhav Thackeray and the whole Thackeray family .

Nation lost a great leader and I lost an opportunity .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

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