Imagine someone born in a quaint village along the foothills of the Western Ghats, struggling for a square meal, having no support of any kind, and yet defies all odds through his talent to achieve unimaginable heights.
That’s R. Gnanathesikan, who revered the world over as ‘Isaignani’ (musical genius) Ilaiyaraaja, whose music continues to heal souls.
But, today, the man is at the receiving end of the vitriol spewed by ‘Dravidian Stockists’ and ‘Ambedkarites’ who preach about ‘self-respect’ and ‘social justice’.
And what was Ilaiyaraaja’s crime that he has to face the music from these elements?
Expressing his views. Ilaiyaraaja had just expressed his views.
Ilaiyaraaja has written the foreword for a book titled ‘Ambedkar & Modi – Reformer’s Ideas, Performer’s Implementation’ in which he has appreciated several initiatives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially those concerning the empowerment of disadvantaged communities and women.
He lauded the setting up of the National Commission for Backward Classes, the banning of Triple Talaq, and the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ initiative of the Modi Government, saying these have brought in social transformation, something that Dr Ambedkar would have been proud of.
In his foreword, Ilaiyaraaja also drew a parallel between Dr Ambedkar and PM Modi, saying, “Both these striking personalities succeeded against odds that people from socially disempowered sections of the society face. Both saw poverty and stifling social structures from close quarters and worked to dismantle them, but both are also practical men who believe in action rather than mere thought exercises.”.
However, this foreword written by Ilaiyaraaja for the book has irked the supporters of the ruling regime in Tamil Nadu.
Those who identify themselves as ‘Dravidian Stockists’, ‘Periyarists’ and ‘Ambedkarites’ have been cancelling the musical maestro and abusing him.
Head of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) Thol. Thirumavalavan, who is portrayed in Tamil Nadu as the sole voice of the Dalit community, implied that Ilaiyaraaja might have been under pressure, robbing him of his agency to express his opinion.
‘Savukku’ Shankar, a self-proclaimed ‘journalist’ and a rabid rabble-rousing ‘Periyarist’, supportive of the DMK government in Tamil Nadu, dehumanized Ilaiyaraaja by calling him a ‘kuppai’ meaning ‘dirt’ or ‘trash’ in Tamil.
Former Lok Sabha MP and Tamil Nadu Congress leader EVKS. Elangovan abused Ilaiyaraaja, making casteist remarks saying, “There are certain elements in Tamil Nadu today claiming themselves to be ‘king of music’. Everybody knows who is the king of music. Not everyone who plays the tabla can become a music composer.”
“Those who accepted the Communist ideology when they had no means to afford food and were living below the poverty line are today, after getting money and fame, are considering themselves to be upper castes. You know who I am referring to.”, the Congress leader said, referring to Mr Ilaiyaraaja.
It is pertinent to mention that Elangovan is the grandson of E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker (known as ‘Periyar’ by his followers).
The spokesperson of the ruling DMK cited a summon notice from GST authorities in an attempt to tarnish the ace composer’s image.
This is the treatment meted out by the so-called champions of free speech, democracy, and social justice, to a celebrated music icon who had brought laurels to Tamil society.
And none from the Tamil film industry have even bothered to voice out in support of Ilaiyaraaja or at least condemn the attack on him. Not even ‘Superstar’ Rajinikanth. Probably he is busy shooting for his next film with Sun Pictures.
Actor-politician Kamal Haasan, whose film career too is inseparable from Ilaiyaraaja’s music, may be apprehensive about coming out in support of Ilaiyaraaja given that Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Red Giant Pictures has acquired the theatrical rights of his next venture ‘Vikram‘.
Such is the stronghold of the ‘Gopalapuram gang’ that even self-made giants are not able to come out and defend one of their own.
If this is not fascism, what is?
But the Ilaiyaraaja episode reveals something that none of the ‘social justice warriors’ will talk about – the true nature of the ‘Dravidian Model’ of ‘social justice’.
Ilaiyaraaja faces a vicious attack from ‘Dravidian Stockists’ because they know that none would come to his rescue as he hails from a disadvantaged community.
However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise given that the father of ‘Dravidian Stockists’ and the DMK have a history of perpetrating violence against Dalits.
When 44 agricultural labourers belonging to the Dalit community were burnt to death in the Keezhvenmani Massacre, the so-called ‘Periyar’ justified the violence by saying wage is not something that can be demanded but fixed by the market.
It is pertinent to note that the perpetrators of the massacre were from the dominant Naidu caste, and the prime accused was one Gopalakrishna Naidu. E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker was a Balija Naidu.
The erstwhile DMK government, on the other hand, left in lurch the victims of the massacre for the sake of votes from the dominant communities.
A similar incident happened under Karunanidhi’s watch when labourers from the tea estates of Manjolai (mostly Dalits) were hunted down.
Several such incidents stand testimony to the anti-Dalit mindset of Dravidian Stockists.
MC Rajah, a leader from the Dalit community, severed ties with the Justice Party over its treatment of Dalits. Back then, the Justice Party was dominated by Naidus, Mudaliars and Chettiyars. Even today, these non-Brahmin ‘forward castes’ form the core vote bank of the DMK.
Dalit woman leader Sathyavani Muthu left the DMK due to continuous harassment and humiliation. Former MP, the late C. T. Dhandapani, was publicly insulted on the basis of his caste by the then local minister Pongalur Palanisamy and his wife, both of whom belong to the Kongu Vellalar Gounder community.
Dalit leaders like Parithi Ilamvazhuthi, who ironically defeated Sathyavani Muthu in the 1984 elections, quit the party in 2013 and joined the AIADMK, citing a lack of respect in the party. V.P. Duraiswami, who is now with the BJP, quit the party, citing DMK’s treatment of Dalits.
Thus, the attack on Ilaiyaraaja is just another episode that exposes the anti-Dalit mindset of Dravidian Stockists.
Courtesy: The Commune