That which has no beginning, has no end either. Those who refuse to accept or unable to understand that, try to destroy that rather foolishly.
Bharat has a recorded history of attempts by invaders and occupiers of this holy land to destroy our sacred culture and ethos because it was not acceptable to them. However, true to its meaning, our Dharma, the Sanatan, lives on. We have studied in history that those who forget history are bound to repeat it. This is what we are witnessing nowadays also.
What Is the Opposition’s Agenda?
Recently, the DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Youth Welfare Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin’s statement, saying ‘Sanatan Dharma’ should be eradicated, has led to political controversy. Expectedly, the BJP and its allies are questioning the agenda of the opposition alliance I.N.D.I.A, of which DMK is a part.
For the people of Tamil Nadu, this is not a surprise. We have been used to such utterances and attempts by the Dravidian parties for decades. However, that speech of his was carried by many from the mainstream media too, which had taken the message across the nation, leading to widespread condemnation.
The Dravidian parties have their roots in the social justice movement spearheaded by EV Ramaswamy aka Periyar, in the year 1925. This slogan summarises his views on religion: “He who created God is a fool; he who propagates God is a scoundrel and he who worships God is a barbarian”. If that is the view of Periyar, who is touted to be the fountainhead of the Dravidian movement, it wouldn’t be a surprise to know the views of his followers. Through his writings and speeches, Periyar was fiercely critical of Hindu religious practices that marginalised some sections of society.
Periyar wrote in his party paper Kudiyarasu that the non-Brahmins and the untouchable castes, the poor and the working classes, if they desired equality and socialism, needed to destroy Hinduism first.
Periyar questioned the dominance of a few caste groups in society, linking them to the existence of religion itself. He believed Brahmins played a crucial role in sustaining Sanatan Dharma. Hence, they went after them. In fact, Periyar’s hatred for Brahmins was such that he reportedly encouraged his followers to kill a Brahmin first if they were to encounter both a Brahmin and a snake on the road. One of his party workers has stated in a video that they used to report to Periyar on a daily basis the number of sacred threads cut on that day.
Ridiculing Hindu Gods and Goddesses
In a procession organised by Periyar in January 1971 at Salem, people were carrying posters depicting nude images of Bhagwan Rama and Sita, revered Gods of Sanatan Dharma. It was also reported that such posters carried a garland of chappals. Thanks to social media, today we are able to read what Periyar said about venerable Hindu Gods, Puranas and beliefs. Some of them cannot be even reproduced here due to its obscene language and nature. Though in the initial years, he used to oppose inequalities in all religions, later he limited his tirades against ‘Sanatan’ only.
CN Annadurai, former CM of Tamil Nadu, was a long-term associate of Periyar before breaking away due to some ideological differences and founded Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). After the demise of Annadurai, Karunanidhi took charge of the DMK party and the Government. Despite decades of the so-called social-reform work carried out by Periyar and his party, the people of Tamil Nadu continued their religious practices. Just as Periyarism was on the wane, DMK needed an idol for itself. Hence, Karunanidhi started projecting him as the greatest social-justice reformer.
Over the years, they painstakingly started emphasising the distinct cultural identity of the Tamils. A narrative was pushed to distinguish them from Sanatan, which is now popularly referred to as Hinduism. Though the literature from the Sangam period has references to Sanatan Dharma, DMK has started airbrushing them. Some of the great personalities, like saint-poet Thiruvalluvar and Vallalar, were projected with white robes and bare foreheads, devoid of holy-ash, contrary to the images seen in publications prior to the 1960s.
Leaders of these Dravidian parties have a history of refusing to accept prasad offered to them. Many videos of them wiping off the holy-ash or Kumkum applied on their forehead by temple priests are often seen.
Mocking Hindu Traditions
The Dravidian parties have either directly or indirectly organised events for cutting off the sacred thread worn by Brahmins and removing Mangalsutras of married women. Former CM Karunanidhi, in 2002, courted controversy with a statement that the term Hindu meant thief. Following public outrage, a Court asked the police to register a FIR in 2006. However, it didn’t deter him or his followers from hurting our sentiments. At the height of the Sethusamudram controversy, he had described Bhagwan Rama as a ‘drunkard’ and wondered whether Rama was an engineer to have built the Ram Sethu at Dhanuskodi.
Taking a cue from Periyar, Karunanidhi harped on the Aryan-Dravidian divide. He projected Hinduism as a Brahminical Aryan faith that is different from the Shaivite faith of Tamilians. Though Tamil Nadu has the largest number of temples in India dedicated to Hindu Gods, they are trying to project them as a separate form of worship followed by Tamilians and that it shouldn’t be clubbed with Hinduism followed by the Aryans.
Any references to the Gods in Tamil literature are interpreted as references to their version of God that is different from the Hindu Gods. The second rung leaders and party functionaries of DMK are even worse when it comes to ridiculing Hindu Gods. Women usually boycott their public meetings due to the crass language and anecdotes used by the party speakers.
After Karunanidhi, his son Stalin took over the party and became the CM of Tamil Nadu in 2021. Ever since the current Government took charge, allegations of mismanagement and interference in the rituals of the temples managed by the Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Department are rampant. They allowed non-Brahmins to take up the roles of priest in temples, which is against the ‘Agama Shastras’.
Stalin, both as a party chief and as the CM of Tamil Nadu, never wished people on Hindu festivals. At the same time, he never misses wishing people on festivals of other religions. Such is his hatred towards the Hindu religion. In one of the widely circulated videos, he can be seen speaking ill of Hindu wedding rituals. He said that mantras used in the ceremony are disgusting.
Udhayanidhi Stalin continues the policies of the DMK. The latest speech is an attempt to retain the minority votes with them. Just before elections, they will do temple runs and proclaim that they are not against Hinduism. In the coming days, we will hear many versions of interpretations and intent behind that speech by him. We are already witnessing them and their allies differentiating Sanatan from Hinduism.