Tuesday, February 02, 2010

What did the Dravidian Movement do for Tamilnadu?

Writer Jeyamohan has written an article explaining why he is against the Dravidian movement in Tamilnadu. It takes real guts to write such an article in today's scenario, but Jeyamohan has always been known for his independent views.

To summarise the article, he faults the Dravidian movement for

- diluting the Dalit empowerment movement till the 1980s

- just paying lip service for Tamil development and indulging in superficial stuff like World Tamil Conferences while little or no literary and archaeological research has taken place after these parties came to power.

- for claiming credit for work done by people like U Ve Saminatha Iyer, Marai Malai Adigal, Thiru Vi Ka, Ma Po Sivagnanam and others who were not connected to (and in some casess against) the Dravidian movement.

I agree with most of his comments. However, despite all this, Tamils have been consistently voting for the Dravidian parties for the past 40 years. I myself have voted DMK in all the elections since I started voting. Whatever Rahul Gandhi tries in Tamilnadu, it is hard to see any one other than M K Stalin become the CM in 2011. So, what makes the Dravidian parties tick in Tamilnadu?

Economic Prosperity. Even the worst critics of Dravidian movement can't refuse the fact that TN is amongst the developed states in the country. One of my grouses is that the mushrooming of Matriculation schools since 1970s killed Tamil as medium of instruction in TN. No one sends his kids to Tamil medium schools in TN if he can afford to put them in Matriculation schools. Not only the cities, the craze for Matriculation schools is prevalent even in small towns and villages. We now have a generation of Tamils who can hardly read Tamil. But, this proliferation of Matriculation schools (of dubious quality) led to a generation of English speaking Tamils who found it easier to be employed. Given a choice between employment probability and pride of language, employment wins hands down.

Tamilnadu has institutionalised corruption. Every one knows it, but has become indifferent to it. The common refrain is , "Both parties are corrupt, but the DMK at least gets the infrastructure put in place. So what if they take their x %, let's treat it as their service charge".

So despite all their shortcomings, the Dravidian parties continue to rule TN. We have accepted all their sins and misdeeds. This sounds pernicious, but that's how things are.

27 comments:

Krishnan said...

Chenthil, I too read Jeyamohan's article. It was really well written and lucidly presented. Like you, I too agree with most of his contentions. As you rightly put it, we have been voting for Dravidian parties in spite of their misdeeds. We really are starved of a better alternative.

Anonymous said...

Not just prosperity but poverty reduction.

http://www.lse.ac.uk/Depts/destin/workpapers/povertyreduction.pdf

I agree on the Dalit issue and on the lack of support for Tamil, not to mention the use of violence and the creepy anti-democratic family politics, but it could be a lot worse.

Mukundan said...

What did the Dravidian Movement do for Tamilnadu ?

Apart from some obvious things, it has enabled Jeymohans to say and write what all they could. It would have been a dream otherwise - whether or not Jeyamohans accept and agree.

If the Dravidian movement had used anti-brahminism argument to surpress dalit movement (which ofcourse is much older than dravidian), Jeymohan is just doing the same by arguing from the plane of anti-dravidian.

Also, it is important to note the confusion of people like Jeyamohan between Dravidian movement and the politics of the DMK. While the former is the product of thoughts Periyar, the DMK plays the game of political just according to the rules of the game which is changing constantly.

I guess we are diluting the core issue by equating both

Anonymous said...

I guess the credit for good econimics goes to Narashima Rao, Manmohan Singh, A. Shourie and Vajpayee. Poor Economics was due to socialist policies (credit J. Nehru to Mani Sankar Iyer). DMK was part of both. So it is just their changing color when needed. IT was just call of the times, the policies had to be changed. Even ideological fanatics, like the communists, had to change.

Infrastructure, wait, the next generation will come down heavily on the hapazard way the new bridges have been constructed.

Most hotels and also other shops have employess from North east doing mineal jobs. Leaving their well endowed lands and coming to not a very well endowed TN. This is because of the commonsense that prevails here. The people here have rejected Dravidian call for sepratism and armed struggle for libertaion. Recent election results and victory of DMK shows that Srilankan issue was not taken too seriously.



Name changing and claiming all the goods. Look at these Anna Nagar, Anna Salai, Anna pavilion, Anna Mempalam, the list goes on. What has Anna or DMK done to the above. Very little.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mukundan

"Apart from some obvious things, it has enabled Jeymohans to say and write what all they could. It would have been a dream otherwise - whether or not Jeyamohans accept and agree."

What do you mean by the above ?. There was no freedom of speech or to write in the Congress rule.

Credit for the culture of beating up politcal opponents and Critiques should to DMK. Ketta varthai speakers like " Theepori" Agrumugam are products of DMK culture.

As Jayakanthan says "Second rate speakers and third rate politicans" are prodcuts of DMK. People form K. Variayaar to Kusboo have experinced this.

Mukundan said...

The comments from both the Ananymous friends confirms my view about the confusion prevailing between Dravidian movement and the politics of the DMK.

But for the emergence of Periyar, education would have been rested with Brahmins and few other upper communities - is what I meant actually. Instead of realising this fundamentals, people like Jeymohan are trying the measure the Periyar's movement using the scale of DMK rule - which is not right.

DMK, ofcourse, has made many of Periyar ideologies to become a reality but that is not all of them. It has had its agenda constantly changing and that is precisely why it is still a strong force in the political arena.

And those who still think the violence in politics was a product of the DMK clearly haven't understood atleast TN politics for a longer time - is all what I can say.

Bala said...

>>Credit for the culture of beating up politcal opponents and Critiques should to DMK

Like during Justice rule and congress rule tamil nadu was amaidhi poonga?. political violence and use of police as a tool to crush opposition started with the british raj, continued by the Justice governments of 1920-37 against the congress, expanded by rajaji in 1937-40 during anti hindi movement, refined by T Prakasam and omandurar against the commie rebellion in the late 40s. All this was before independence.

The practice of the CM himself keeping the home ministry (and with it the police ministry ) began long before independence. DMK (by being at the receiving end from 1949 to 67) learnt the tools of the goonda trade from Congress governments. Bhaktavatsalam, kakkan and kamaraj taught DMK how to use state organs for politics.

>>What did the Dravidian Movement do for Tamilnadu?

It prepared the ground for social mobility to happen. Except for the Dalits, it made politics and administration, a free for all. It made it relatively easy for someone with a popular support base to rise in power. Ever wondered why the naxalbaris failed in getting a foothold in the state?. It was because the electoral/political road to power is much easier here.

Bala said...

Another point regarding the use of violence against political opponents: The first use of a "Draconian law" by a government against political opponents began with Justice and congress governments using the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1931 in the 30s. Bhaktavatsalam government in the 60s used the Defence of India Rules (DIR) from the Defense of India Act, 1962 against student protesters of anti-Hindi agitation. DIA was enacted for suspending the fundamental rights of the constitution in times of the indo china war. To use such a law against political agitation was a fine example of "amaidhi poonga tamizhagam".

In short: Kazhaga aatchi was merely version 2.0 of congress aatchi, when it comes to dealing violently with dissent

Bala said...

>>So despite all their shortcomings, the Dravidian parties continue to rule TN.

Thats because the alternatives are worser - 1) Congress which does not have any TN specific ideas (good or bad) 2) BJP which seems unable or unwilling to do inclusive politics 3)Communists who alienate business and middle classes.

So who is left? they guys who wont leave the state FUBAR. DMK and ADMK easily fill that role. As a "mature" democracy Tamil nadu the best of what is available.

And BTW relatively speaking we are doing relatively well compared to other states in India don't we?.

Chenthil said...

Krishnan - It is more than TINA. There is something that the Dravidian parties have got right that the electorate keeps voting for them. In 89 elections, which was one of the open elections in TN (without any alliances), Congress got just about 30 seats, not even 10% of the votes.

Anon - I made a mistake with prosperity. Poverty reduction is the correct term.

Mukundan - I think you are unduly harsh on Jeyamohan. Do read the second part of his essay too.

Anon - Your stance seems to be - All the good is due to others, all the evils are due to DMK. When I mean infrastructure, I dont mean the bridges in Chennai. I travel extensively across small towns and villages in Tamilnadu and I can say for sure that the road network has improved a lot. Even my village with a population of 2000 has cement roads.

The DMK govt did build Anna Nagar, Anna Membalam etc. And tell me that you are joking about armed struggle for liberation. The Dravidian parties never took up armed struggles. They depend on convincing/exhorting/bribing people to accept their view point.

Bala - thanks for the detailed rebuttal.

Mukundan said...

//Mukundan - I think you are unduly harsh on Jeyamohan. Do read the second part of his essay too.//
Well, the credit must go to Jeymohan actually :-)

I did read his second part too and no change in my views. I'm confident that his target is Anna & DMK and he is using the label Dravidian movement conveniently.

Periyar's ideology is based on self respect, social justice and women liberation. That forms the basis of the Dravidian movement, if one is prepared to understand it in full. People like Jeymohan will never acknowledge it.

Let them do a honest analysis on the social scenario prevailing in pre & post Periyar/Anna periods, they will realize what BS they are talking about.

Other than than I'm a great fan of his writings. His command over language is awesome. My only concern is that there are atleast handful of people following all his writings blindfold and there is a danger that he is feeding with wrong info.

Anonymous said...

After reading about 50% of the essay, I had the same question - so what makes Dravidian parties tick? But I don't agree with you that there is a single reason for this. One would have to analyze election results, voting patterns etc to truly make sense of this.

And I can't say for sure that the alternative will be worse for economic prosperity/poverty reduction etc.

Anyway, let me go back and finish the essay.

Anonymous said...

Dear All

I'm the Anon who had written earlier. Call me BB to differentiate.

My information is that Gemini flyover was commisioned and work started during the Congress period and was compeleted during the DMK period. Similary development of North Madras (mainly current Anna Nagar region) was started during Congress preiod. DMK merely conducted a BIG industrial trade fair there (like the world tamil Conf) and built the Tower. And of course christianed it Anna Nagar. In both the cases had the Congress fellows given names likes Nehru fly over or Nehru Nagar, when the project was started, it could have been different.

Nevertheless, DMK should be credited for eleveating even routine Government functions, such as release of text books etc, into publicity stunts. Look at the issue of Audio and Video piracy, it is there in every country and it is being handeled very well by their respective polilcing agencies. Hollywood does not give dance parties to Obama, Julia roberts or Drew barrymore do not dance infornt of obama, neither does Tom hanks or Jack Nicholson write speeches (essentially Verbal diearohrea) crediting OBAMA for stopping
piracy. This happens only in TN not even in North India. Oscar Awards and Grammy awards do not have any Govt invitees.

DMK take must take credit for introducing this disgusting culture in our State. Congress men of that era, such as Kamaraj, were never prone such shows of self promotion. They considered development projects as routine work.

Karunanithi asked during the Ram-Sethu issue, if Ram was an Engineer. The same applies here, certianly he was not an Engineer or Architect to plan Anna nagar or Flyover. Even if it was done during the DMK period. It was most probably desinged by an a politcal govt empolyee. Alas who is he. Go abraod, you will see only architects and Engineers crdited for bridges (Sydney harbours bridge is an Example) not politicans.

Chenthil loves Lit. I guess Jeyamohan has said enough about their (DMK) contribution to litrature.

The Tamil Desiavathis beliver in Armed struggle. They use or claim pariyar has their Idealogue.
If DMK an Dravida Iyakkam should not be confused, then the only other Alternative is that equate them to T. Desiavathi's. Anna Durai was for a separte country and to grab power he gave up separtism. T. Desiavathi's of yesteryears were Anna durai and Karunanithi, the ralised that commonsense levels were too high (remembes Karunanithi after loosing an election says Tamilan Manamkettaven, Sotril aditha Pindam etc etc.) and used the democratic infrastrcturs by Congrss to come to power.

Mukundan said...

BB, I'm afraid, you've got all information wrong.

Anna flyover was conceived and built during early 70s and not during Congress rule as you've mentioned. And the design actually was done by, hold your breath, MK himself. It all happened during a 6 hour traffic jam his convoy got caught and couldn't even move an inch. And the chief minister himself drew up a sketch of the proposed flyover and Chennai had its first ever flyover.

And again, Anna Nagar was developed by the DMK and unfortunately under same ilk you are referring. Infact the entire Santhi colony area was belonging to one family (with whom I've been employed for about 10 years) and was taken by the Govt under the land ceiling act to promote a colony.

It was Industrial development under Kamraj and infra structure development under MK, the TN has witnessed.

And anyone can claim that they follow Periyar's ideology. He isn't there to verify it. Even Ramadoss has claimed a ew times that he was the true follower of Periyar. So let us not bring Periyar to target the other politicians.

And BB, you mentioned about Obama not watching a cultural live programme during an Oscar ceremony. He sure will, if he owns up a satellite television which is in stiff competition with another of his own family. You get a days' content, right ? :-)

புருனோ Bruno said...

Does he mean to say that BJP or Congress would have done better in the three fields you have mentioned

புருனோ Bruno said...

Mukundan has said it nicely. :) :)

புருனோ Bruno said...

Of all states in India, which state do you think, Dalits are more empowered.

புருனோ Bruno said...

Please see the Merit List for Tamil Nadu PG Entrance Exam 2008

Could this have happened without Dravidian Movements

புருனோ Bruno said...

//And I can't say for sure that the alternative will be worse for economic prosperity/poverty reduction etc. //

The alternatives are already ruling other states

Have a look at the situation in

1. Education
2. Health
3. Roads
4. Electricity in Village

in Other States

and you will know the truth

புருனோ Bruno said...

Anna Was a Visionary.

He was far ahead of his times.

In fact, those at the receiving end of his tactics came to know that they were RFed only 4 decades after his death !!

--

His critics call his tactics as சந்தர்ப்பவாதம், but I term it as சமயோஜிதம்

--

He had more than a crore youth blindly following him. He could have opted for an armed struggle. But instead, he channelised all their energies into the ballot box --> Instead of capturing power by arms and weapons, he captured power through ballot box

--

If there are no Naxals in TN at the moment as compared to other states - what are the reasons

Dravidian Movement, Anna, Dravidian rule all are factors

Not just prosperity but poverty reduction.

Stingray said...

Chenthil, It was quite impressive to read such a article, was very well written by JeyaMohan. Normally I will not go through any blogs but your way of presentation is quite gud. U made me to read. From now onwards, will follow ur blog I guess.

shaan said...

Though the popular perception is that Periyar was the founder of the Dravidian movement, it is simply not true. The Dravidian movement started with the Justice Party with Sir.Thyagaraya Chetty as the leader. T.Nagar in Chennai is named after this person. The Justice Party ruled Madras Presidency for 17 years before it was defeated by the Congress in 1937. In 1938 Periyar became its President and he changed the name to Dravidar Kazhagam in 1944. Though the Dravidian parties have not done anything great for Tamil, they reap the benefits today because of one stupid mistake of the Congress, that is Hindi imposition. But it seems the Congress has not still learned the lesson with people like Kapil Sibal still calling for Hindi education in all states. Same is the case with the BJP. They too believe that Hindi should be taught to every Indian. So only a regional party can rule in TN and except the DMK and ADMK very few parties have a broad base outside of specific castes.

Anonymous said...

The only success of Dravidan movement is promoting atheism in the state. The movement has successfully driven out Brahmin intellectuals to other states like Karnataka or Andhra. The movement has been successful in making Karunanidhi and his countless relatives billionaires.

Anonymous said...

Although a Tamil, I was born and brought up in West Bengal. I also belong to the "upper" caste Brahmin. I am not a believer in caste. I had heard of the anti brahmin movement in Tamil Nadu, from somewhat early days. As i grew up, I never paid much attention to this in faraway WB. However, when I went for a Masters and phd degree in a reputed national institute, I got what the dravidian movement has done to the social fabric of TN. In the hostel, there were students from all states. The ones from TN would speak to me in a funny accent, like e way they show Iyers speaking in Tamil movies. I did not understand why they were speaking in that manner. I asked the reason and they told that "you iyers speak in this fashion only". Wow! The present generation has this now fully ingrained that "iyers speak in this manner" and it is ok and natural to imitate them. I saw no point in countering such notions. I could make fun of the way they said "malai" when they meant "mazhai", but frankly I was afraid of non-bailable case put against me. It is true that every region or caste has a different accent. Not sure if caricaturing is ok. The primary grouse of these so called Dravidian champions is the use of sanskrit words, Tamil language Nazis often sneer at Bharathi. If we go back deep into history, if one reads the inscriptions of RajaRaja, one finds Sanskrit influenced words. Would the champions label these Chola and Pandyan kings as not Dravidian? shouldnt these guardians of dravidian purity demolish these structures?! Even in Bengal there were movements to end casteism, much before the champions in TN dreamt of it. Casteism in WB is much lesser compared to TN, where huge noise is made. One reason, in my humble opinion, is that the movement there while holding the so called upper caste responsible, did not seek to make them as scapegoats. I may be wrong though. To the contrary, in TN, scapegoats were in heavy demand. Is it not strange that other than Brahmins, almost all castes are "lower", OBC, MBC etc? Even assuming that the Brahmins are the villains of the story, since TN has now very less percentage of Brahmins, maybe 5%, why has the land not become paradise of social justice and equality? Clearly, something is wrong somewhere. The only explanation which comes to me, and I can be wrong, is that some very clever people who want to retain the power and land, play the game both sides as it suits them. Entire generations of tamilians have been brainwashed. All this must be known to people living in TN. This is all new to me. Another aspect which struck me was the influence of the Vijaynagar empire. Due to the fratricide of Pandyas and Cholas, there was a massive power vacuum. The Marathas, and Vijaynagar could therefore subjugate all of Tamil Nadu! I read in Wikipedia that during Vijaynagar rule, Mallars were uprooted from their own land and replaced by Telugus, as happens during war. This also led to a once dominant caste being suddenly losing its "status", I may be wrong though.
The practical repercussions are the loss of glorious culture of TN, and emergence of secessionist mindset, and rapid spread of other religions.
Which state CM has been able to change the cultural new year of the state through law(even if it has been revoked later on)? Why no protest happend: other religions dont care, in fact the fundamentalist amongst them might like the fracture in the majority society. ISuch a thing could not happen in hard core communist Bengal for 30 years! For instance, in the aforementioned institution where i studied, Tamil new year celebrations would include chiefly comedy from vadivelu and the ilk. This is what the culture of Tamil Nadu has become. I see no change in the mentality or mindset of the people. Caste based election freebies serve to accentuate the differences. All in all, Tamil Hindu culture is gone forever.
Whew, that was a long comment!

Tejaswininimburia said...

The Dravidian movement has made entire South India intellectually hypocrite and stupid. North India has not undergone major emigration nor ethnic changes and the ethnic structure is definite as Gujarat/Rohilkhand/Bundelkhand/Uttarkhand/Eastern UP/MAITHILI/BENGAL. On the other hand can anyone vouchsafe about ethnic set up for at least five hundred years? Is Tamilnadu same in First century AD and Fourth Century AD Or the social structure same in fifteenth century AD as in sixth century AD. The answer is emphatic no. Let first of all resolve why Tamil Vaishnavism disappeared from Kerala though there are twelve MALAINATTU TIRUPATHIS. The question is who are the original Dravidians. The social structure of Pathinenbhoomiyar/Valangai/Idangai emerged in South West Karnataka during Satavahanas encouraged by Kadambas/Chalukyas and standardized by Cholas. Can the social emerged be Dravidians? See how contradictory hypotheses are made. The IVC were Dravidians yet IVC being urban did not worship trees or ancestors.Throughout the history only two groups worshipped trees and ancestor sqq druids and the entire East India/Tamilnadu and South west India. Now the question is are Druids Dravidians or Urbane South India of Satavahana/Kadamba/Chalukyas/Chola are Aryan? South India is indulging in Shadow/Ghost war where there is no original person. Even if there are Dravidians they cannot be simultaneously urban and worship trees and ancestors. Dravidian theory has no legacy/no history. It thrives on hatred and not history

Tejaswininimburia said...

The Dravidian movement has made entire South India intellectually hypocrite and stupid. North India has not undergone major emigration nor ethnic changes and the ethnic structure is definite as Gujarat/Rohilkhand/Bundelkhand/Uttarkhand/Eastern UP/MAITHILI/BENGAL. On the other hand can anyone vouchsafe about ethnic set up for at least five hundred years? Is Tamilnadu same in First century AD and Fourth Century AD Or the social structure same in fifteenth century AD as in sixth century AD. The answer is emphatic no. Let first of all resolve why Tamil Vaishnavism disappeared from Kerala though there are twelve MALAINATTU TIRUPATHIS. The question is who are the original Dravidians. The social structure of Pathinenbhoomiyar/Valangai/Idangai emerged in South West Karnataka during Satavahanas encouraged by Kadambas/Chalukyas and standardized by Cholas. Can the social emerged be Dravidians? See how contradictory hypotheses are made. The IVC were Dravidians yet IVC being urban did not worship trees or ancestors.Throughout the history only two groups worshipped trees and ancestor sqq druids and the entire East India/Tamilnadu and South west India. Now the question is are Druids Dravidians or Urbane South India of Satavahana/Kadamba/Chalukyas/Chola are Aryan? South India is indulging in Shadow/Ghost war where there is no original person. Even if there are Dravidians they cannot be simultaneously urban and worship trees and ancestors. Dravidian theory has no legacy/no history. It thrives on hatred and not history

Anonymous said...

What did the DMK do for children