One of the important resolutions passed by the working committee of DMK at its meeting held on February 16 under the presidentship of Shri M. Karunanidhi urged the people of Tamil Nadu to literally ?drive out? from the Tamil soil the three per cent of the population. The resolution reminds the people of Tamil Nadu that they are 97 per cent of the total population whereas their traditional enemies are just three per cent. The resolution did not specify as to who were these three per cent but those who are used to the Tamil Nadu socio-political scenario know pretty well that it refers to none other than Brahmins in the State.
Since 1920s, Dravidian Movement has been spearheading a hate campaign against Brahmins branding them intruders from Khyber and Bolan passes into Tamil Nadu, corrupting the chaste Tamil culture and tradition. It may look ridiculous at the very first glance, fit to be thrown into the dustbin without a second look but strangely, EVR and his Dravidar Kazagam party could sell this concept to the gullible illiterate and semi literate people of Tamil Nadu. This concept was conveniently based on Aryan-Dravidian theory, cunningly constructed about two centuries ago by the wily Caldwell, a Christian missionary and proselytiser, who wanted to divide Hindu society so that he could easily convert the non-Brahmin communities calling them Dravidians, a separate entity. Despite Brahmins of Tamil Nadu speaking Tamil only at homes as their mother tongue and several of them had done great service for the development of the language and culture, they were described as aliens to Tamil language and culture.
In fact, it was U.V. Swaminatha Iyer, a great Tamil scholar, who toiled to recover many ancient Tamil works from old palm leaves that were briskly being dined by white ants. Those deteriorating palm leaves were scattered in different parts of the State and he spent his time, energy and hard earned money in search of them and made them available in print. As he was not financially sound, he begged and borrowed so that the precious wealth of the Tamils could see the light of the day. Subramanya Bharati, another Brahmin, woke up theTamils from their slumber in the early twentieth century with his spirited poems so that they could become aware of their rich heritage. There are still many Brahmin scholars and researchers who are silently engaged in varied fields for the development of Tamil language and culture.
The most harmful disservice to the Hindu society in Tamil Nadu by E.V. Ramaswami Naicker, known as EVR and popularly addressed as ?Thanthai Periyar? by his followers meaning ?Father Greatman?, was to divide it on the lines of Brahmins and non-Brahmins. This venom has spread all over Tamil society and has become a permanent syndrome visible at least feebly in every segment from academic circle to contemporary literary gatherings to cultural events, from social activities to political considerations.
The anti-Brahmin propaganda has lost its verve over a period of time, but it is still dormant in Tamil Nadu. M. Karunanidhi has been its sole revivalist, whipping the dead horse as and when he does not find suitable rejoinder to any valid accusation. When the AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa, his arch rival, compared him with Ravana the demon king recently, Karunanidhi could find recourse in his pet theory of ?Aryan-Dravidian,? though disproved by expert anthropologists. For him and his party, Brahmins are Aryans and all Non-Brahmins are Dravidians, for reason best known to them only.
Quoting Nehru's?discovery? that Ramayana was nothing but the narration of Aryan-Dravidian war, Karunanidhi donned the warrior of Dravidians and Jayalalithaa the representative of Aryans, as she happens to be a Brahmin, caste wise.
As the legend goes, Ravana was the son of a Brahmin sage, should be an ?Aryan? according to the findings of Dravidian pundits but it did not occur to Karunanidhi in the heat of political rivalry. He could only remember Nehru'sdiscovery about Ramayana and grabbed the role of Ravana! However, he could not find a suitable villain role of an Aryan character for Jayalalithaa.
Interestingly, EVR was also not kind towards the depressed classes. His concern was only about the welfare of the second and third strata of the society. For him, the top and the bottom segments of the society were to be kept at bay so that the in-between communities could climb up the ladder of prosperity. When there was acute shortage of foodgrains and clothing, an aftermath of the Second World War, EVR attributed it to the ?untouchables? becoming ?cultured.?
There was great uproar against EVR in 1948 from the depressed classes in the State for his utterance that the price of the cloth had gone up because the women of ?untouchables? had also started wearing blouse and all of them have learnt to dress decently. Their staple food had changed from millets to rice and that made the rice scarce. Rice was considered the choice of the upper classes and millets were fit for the poor and downtrodden only according to the social standards. Taking exception to EVR'sobservation, there were demonstrations by many associations of depressed classes all over Tamil Nadu demanding apology from him. But EVR was adamant as usual and never cared to express regrets over his ?findings!? The issue died down in course of time.
Now that Jayalalithaa is a Brahmin, Karunanidhi has taken up the rusting anti-Brahmin slogan from his dust-gathering political weaponry, forgetting that he is not just the president of a party but occupying the seat of the Chief Minister of the State also. He can seldom allow under his nose, a resolution that would create enmity among the people, thereby encouraging serious law and order unrest to brew.
Our Constitution has categorically stated that it is a punishable offence to induce hatred against one particular community and attempting to divide the people on that score. And Karunanidhi holds the post of the Chief Minister having taken oath of sincerity and be honest to the Constitution. If the Chief Minister himself spearheads a hate campaign against one particular community in the society, it would be seen as the green signal to anti-social elements in the State to indulge in all sorts of crimes towards that community and it would also strengthen the division among Hindus in Tamil Nadu on the basis of Brahmins and Non-Brahmins.
Obviously, saner elements in the society expect unanimous condemnation from all quarters to the DMK'shate campaign resolution. The Centre should also view this seriously and warn Karunanidhi that it did not behove of a Chief Minister to behave irresponsibly.
(The writer is a senior journalist and can be contacted at Second Floor, 67/12, Bajanai Koil Street, Pallipattu Main Road, Chennai-600 113.)