Understanding Tamil Nadu – [ 3 ]


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VAITHEESWARAN KOIL – TAMIL NADU – INDIA           DECEMBER 25 , 2012           10.55 P.M.

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)

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 .

English: http://www.periyarkural.com

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 .

English: Emblem of the State Government of Tam...

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 .

English: , the Chief Minister of , India.

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 .

English: K. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tam...

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 .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

www.vidurfilms.com

www.youtube.com/ividur

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

Understanding Tamil Nadu – [ 2 ]


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VAITHEESWARAN KOIL – TAMIL NADU – INDIA           DECEMBER 24 , 2012      11.59 P.M. 

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)

In my last blog I have stated about the Self Respect Movement started by E. V. Ramasamy Naicker ” Periyar ” in Tamil Nadu in 1925 . This far – reaching movement changed the contours of Tamil Nadu , Tamil politics and Tamil society forever .

English: An image of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy हि...

A Young Periyar E. V. Ramasamy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It did give room to some misgivings but its effect and its contribution can’t be wished out . Instead of talking about the misgivings , let us look at the positive side .

1 – Periyar talked about the eradication of caste system . According to him lack of self-respect among weaker section of society and their uplifting should be the main aim of society and government . Periyar thought that a small number of people , mainly Brahmins have created caste system to dominate the weaker section , who are in majority . So there should be casteless society .

2 – Periyar talked about the women’s rights . Since he was a rationalist , he advocated women emancipation , widow re – marriage , education for women and jobs for them in police and army . He talked that women should be given equal rights and they should be given good education and must have right to property . He also advocated widow re – marriage . He wanted to abolish dowry system and advocated inter – cast marriages . It will be astonishing for many that in those primitive era , he advocated birth control also and it all happened much before government took the initiative .

3 – He talked about rationalism and criticized the inherent contradictions in the Hindu religion .

His espousal of above mentioned causes are laudable and praiseworthy . Almost every leader of that era supported these causes in one form or other . Method was definitely different but not the goal .

Now let us talk about two movements , which can’t be supported and because of that , Periyar is misunderstood in the rest of the country .

1 – In 1937 , the then Chief Minister of Madras State Chakravarthi Rajgopalachari introduced Hindi as compulsory language of education in school . Periyar opposed it whole – heartedly and he got massive support also . Leaders cutting party lines supported the movement . Later on all the Dravidian parties also took this as their demand and anti – Hindi movement slowly became anti – North Indian .

English: Front page of the Tamil Magazine Kudi...

Front page of the Tamil Magazine Kudiyarasu dated 03 September 1939. It was run by Periyar. E. V. Ramasamy. There is an editorial titled “Veezhga Indhi” (Down with Hindi) written as part of the Anti Hindi Agitations of 1937-40 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Frontpage of the magazine Kudiyarasu ...

Frontpage of the magazine Kudiyarasu (dated 20 November 1938). The magazine was run by Periyar E. V. Ramasamy in the Madras Presidency, British India. This issue reports about the Tamil Nadu women’s conference to be held on 13 November 1938. The conference was convened to showcase women’s support to the Anti-Hindi agitation of 1937–40 This particular scan is taken from Pollachi Nasan’s collection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2 – In 1939 Periyar become head of Justice Party and in 1944 changed its name to Dravid Kazhagam . He then started advocating independent Dravid Nadu .

English: Front page of the Dravida Nadu magazi...

Front page of the Dravida Nadu magazine dated 29 September 1946. The magazine was published by C. N. Annadurai from Kanchipuram. This particular scan is taken from the collection of Pollachi Nasan. It depicts Periyar E. V. Ramasamy and his speech in the court during the Anti-Hindi Agitations of 1937-40 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thus anti – Hindi movement and propagating independent Dravid Nadu could be called sore points for the North Indians and thus Dravid movement and Tamil Nadu is misunderstood in the rest of the country .

But we should know that within 5 years of propagating independent Dravid Nadu , majority of Dravid leaders  left Dravid Kazhagam . C. N. Annadurai led the rebellion and formed Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam in 1949 . He participated in elections and formed the first non – Congress government in 1967 .

Therefore misgivings about independent Dravid Nadu should be put to rest because Periyar’s followers themselves didn’t pursue it .

Anti – Hindi agitation erupts here and there even today but there are fissiparous activities in many parts of the country . Why blame only Tamil Nadu for this . I have read many stories about anti – Hindi feelings of Tamil people . But during my stay in the province and that to in the hinterlands , I was astounded and would like to tell my North Indian friends that enmity does not exist . Every section of Tamil society and people tried to help me even though they genuinely can’t speak Hindi . They did struggle but tried to speak Hindi . So ” HINDI ILLAI ” slogan , which was given so much publicity in all the Hindi press in and after 1967 is completely wrong and mischievous .

I am sorry to say that many stories published in the news papers and magazines of Hindi in 1967 are not true . May be some things might have happened during the anti Hindi agitation of 1937 and 1967 , but they are things of the past . The emblem of Tamil Nadu says it all .

English: Emblem of the State Government of Tam...

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)

I would like to tell every one along with the students of my acting class Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , that Tamil Nadu is changing very fast or it has already changed .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

www.vidurfilms.com

www.youtube.com/ividur

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

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