Rameswaram is the quintessence of pilgrimage for any devout Hindu. India is geographically defined by its boundaries from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and spiritually defined by its boundaries from Kashi to Rameswaram.
Ramanathapuram that lays 530 kms south of Chennai is the gate way to Rameswaram, the island temple town, home to the famed Ramanathaswamy Temple and many more holy shrines. The gateway to the holiest of holy places is now slowly turning into a no-entry territory not by any government order but by ‘fatwa’ issued by a section of the community who has become a law unto themselves. The Local Jamaath Councils (Muslim community panchayats) have issued ‘fatwa’ declaring Muslim-majority villages out of bound for outsiders (read primarily non- Muslims) and ironically that includes the people of Ramanathapuram district. Athiyuthu, Puthuvalassai, Panaikulam, Azhagankulam, Sitharkottai and Valinokkam are some of the villages that display no-entry boards at their village entrance.
Any visitor to these villages is greeted with a board which reads “Advertising and honking without permission is prohibited inside the Panchayat. By Order – Muslim Jamaath Thajul Islam Sangh, Pottakavayal”, the message is clear; this is an undeclared gated community where Muslims form the majority. One wonders how the jamaath can restrict public using a street laid by Panchayat with government money.
The region has been sending only Muslim candidates to the state assembly for the last 20 years, and the political parties across the board are playing it politically correct by fielding only Muslim candidates.
The DMK, Congress and the AIADMK, in order to appease the minorities look the other way when Islamic fundamentalists unleash a reign of terror adds Kuppuramu, Southern Tamilnadu State President of VHP and a senior RSS person. At Pamban, a village near Rameswaram the Panchayath road has a board put by the Jamaath banning outsiders from using the road: The display board loudly proclaims “Not a public thoroughfare. Ladies move around in this place”.
“During the DMK regime in 2008, some Muslim youth hoisted the national flag with slippers at Vethalai village. The case was hushed up by Hassan Ali, the then congress MLA,” said Kuppuramu. Same is the case with Puthumadam which hoisted National flag with Slippers. Here again Hasan Ali is their savior. The Police arrested around 30 jehadis, mostly belonging to Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal in a village called Periyapattinam, they were caught indulging in illegal arms practice, the villagers themselves surrounded the Police and got them released.
The villagers of Alagankulam are still in a state of shock as some Muslim youth slaughtered a cow in front of the Muneeswarankoil Temple. Ironically cases were booked only against Hindus. The villagers of Azhagankulam say they have no option but to fall in line. We can never survive here without their cooperation”, say the local business men.”
Traditional age long practices of “Mulappari” processions of 7 famous Mariamman temple were diverted away from mosques that have come up only recently as opposed to centuries old Marriamman (i.e. kali) temples.
This was due to the pressure from the fundamental Islamic communities. Paradoxically no permission was given to Hindus to hold peaceful meetings by Hindus while Muslims were allowed to demonstrate on the same day.
According to Kuppuramu, nearly 50 per cent of the business establishments in Ramanathapuram are owned by members of the Muslim community. In many areas, a Hindu can start his business only if he gets approval from the Muslim community and only if a Hindu has a Muslim partner in his business he can escape departmental harassment adds another businessman. The Hindus vendors and also outsiders are denied entry to these Muslim dominated villages. Moreover the fishermen are expected to give a part of their catch to the them like it is in a b-grade bollywood movie. This is an unwritten rule in the district,” said Kuppuramu.
Leave alone political issues, the police and district administration don’t even allow Hindu parties to have meetings or demonstrations asking for basic amenities or other civic issues like collection of fish from Hindu fishermen or matters concerning national pride like a memorial pillar for Swami Vivekananda, every time a protective structure is put around the Stupi it would be demolished by the miscreants . The writ of the Jamaath runs so deep .The administration including the police are lax and lop sided favouring the minority community, it can be said that there is total absence of administration ,and if it acts it favours the muslim community.
The media, (English and vernacular) and the social media included which at the drop of the hat cry ‘talibanisation of India’ even when some traditions and customs of the land are followed by the majority community should do some soul searching and bring out the tyranny practiced by the minority community and arrogating law and justice unto themselves. The government of Tamil nadu should take suo motto action against these extra constitutional fundamentalist functionaries lest the territory turns in to talibanised Osama land . And well, maybe even the US may turn its radar on the region for hunting down would be Osama Bin Ladens.
Break up of DMK-Congress Alliance
The prospects of the Congress retaining its eight seats in the Lok Sabha from Tamil Nadu appear bleak with its senior ally in that State, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) deciding to break its electoral alliance with it. With its development, there is a question mark over the parliamentary career of even the Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram. He had won from the Ranipet constituency with a slender margin under questionable circumstances.
In the 2009 Parliamentary elections, the DMK won 26 out of the 39 seats under the changed political equations, it is a moot point whether the Congress can retain those eight seats, not to speak of increasing its numbers from Tamil Nadu fighting the elections on its own..
Now that the Congress is about to anoint Rahul Gandhi as its Prime Ministerial candidate, Chidambaram’s vaulting ambition to become India’s Prime Minister will be dashed. Others like Jayanti Natarajan, who has resigned from the Union Council of Ministers to take up party work are of no consequence in Tamil Nadu politics.
The Congress will have to go it alone in Tamil Nadu or ally with the AIADMK whose supremo J Jayalalithaa has now begun to eye the office of Prime Minister. Even she might not oblige the Congress as she is calculating on the so called Third Front coming to power at the Centre. Even the BJP might not be able to be accommodated by one of the two major Dravidian parties. Till now Jayalalithaa was feigning to be friendly with the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. However if the mercurial “Amma” (as she is popularly called) changes her mind, she might take the BJP as its ally.
The Congress-led UPA has gained little from succumbing to pressure from the two Dravidian parties when it comes to relations with the country’s southern neighbour, Sri Lanka. The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stayed away from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit held recently in Colombo to placate the DMK and the AIADMK. India has now antagonised Sri Lanka and the Congress has lost its electoral ally in Tamil Nadu. The gainers are the two parties which have ruled Tamil Nadu in turns for the last 46 years (from 1967).
In no other State in the country, the two national parties have made themselves irrelevant as in Tamil Nadu. The Congress was riding piggyback on the DMK or the AIADMK for the sake of gaining seats in the Lok Sabha.
The two major Dravidian parties have exploited to the full the coalition politics at the national level since 1996. They conveniently forgot their Dravidian roots and anti-Aryan,Brahmin and Hindi stand to join hands with “North-Indian” parties to enrich themselves. The two opportunistic DMK’s imposed on the Government of India some of the most mediocre ministers. Municipality level leaders from the two parties became Cabinet ministers at the Centre. The best example is Andipatti Raja, the former Communication minister who brought disgrace to the UPA Government through his involvement in the 2G spectrum scandal. So was Karunanidhi’s son from one of his many wives, Alagiri. At Tamil Nadu level, both Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa have embroiled themselves in several corruption scandals. The latter has spent some days in jail on that count.
Over the years, the Congress in particular has been appeasing one DMK or the other to remain in power at the Centre. The Party has frittered away is strong base in Tamil Nadu and has been content with being a junior partner to one of those two parties. Unfortunately Janata Party or the Janata Dal, which had been formed by followers of K Kamaraj, disintegrated in the State. In the 1977 Lok Sabha election, the Janata had won three seats and P Ramachandran became a member of the Morarji Desai Cabinet.
As in the case of Andhra Pradesh, the BJP failed to build up a base in Tamil Nadu primarily because it came to be dubbed as a party of North-Indians. The two DMKs are adept at raking up emotive issues. The caste, community and cultural divides in Tamil Nadu should serve as a fertile ground for the BJP to grow. Under the aegis of the parochialism preached by the two parties, Muslim and Christian extremists are thriving in Tamil Nadu. It is well known that the prolonged protests against the commissioning of the Koodankulam nuclear power plant in Southern Tamil Nadu had been instigated by Christian outfits. The incumbent Chief Minister Jayalalithaa occasionally takes up the cause of Hindus unlike the one time atheist Karunanidhi who has a history of blasphemous attacks on Hindu gods and practices. However he is comfortable with irrational and superstitious practices of Muslims and Christians.
It is in the national interest for the two national parties, the Congress and the BJP to gain in strength in Tamil Nadu. They should not make the mistake of joining hands with the smaller Dravidian parties which have dangerous agendas which strike at the integrity of the nation, to spite the two DMKs.