Modi must connect with Lord Murugan in Tamil Nadu

Murugan temple Thiruchendur
  • Author tells the importance of Lord Murugan in Tamil Nadu and how Modi can connect with Tamils. Also suggest from which temple Modi must start campaign and why.

By attending the groundbreaking ceremony in Ayodhya on August 5, 2020 Prime Minister Modi connected with millions of Indians who were happy to see their leader assert his Hinduness.


Having said that, the BJP won 300 plus seats in 2019 Lok Sabha elections but in alliance with the AIADMK it won just 1 of the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu.


And in the 2017 RK Nagar by-poll the battle for the fifth place was between BJP candidate and the NOTA (none of the above) button.


The question that comes to mind is, if Hindu Nationalism works well in Indian politics why has it not worked in Tamil Nadu? This article tries to find answers and suggests how Modi can connect with Tamils.

Tamil Nadu’s Political Paradox

Firstly, let us examine Hindus in Tamil Nadu. According to 2011 Census of India figures, 87.58% of Tamil Nadu's population are Hindus. Nearly 33,000 ancient temples, many at least 800 to 5000 years old, are found scattered all over the state. 1


Secondly, nationalism is very prevalent in Tamil Nadu. During the 1962 Indo-China war, even poor Tamil people donated their personal gold to the Prime Minister’s Fund. Tamil patriotism and nationalism are well documented. 2


So, why is Modi unable to taste electoral success in a state which seems naturally inclined towards nationalism?


To understand this paradox, we need to know about who controls the media in Tamil Nadu. 

Media Control and Campaign

Tamil Nadu is perhaps the only state in India where every other political party has its media channel. Sun News is owned by DMK. Kalaignar TV is owned by Karunanidhi’s family. 


Sun TV wields content control over several TV channels, FM radio stations and DMK-coloured magazines and newspapers. Then there is Makkal TV, Mega TV, Vasanth TV, Velicham TV, Captain TV, Madhimugam TV, etc. each owned by some political party.


Using this clout, Modi and BJP are painted as enemies of Tamils who are bent on destroying Tamil Culture and Language. Modi was faulted for even issues totally unconnected to the Prime Minister. The deep-rooted fear of Hindi imposition and Tamil Brahmin domination among the Tamil population is amplified with details.


Through their media channels Dravidian parties present themselves as the only savior of Tamil culture. This message is repeated and circulated via social media, movies, news etc. so that it becomes strongly imprinted in the minds of the voters. This scare technique has worked well, as the population gets emotionally charged and votes against Modi and the BJP.


The fact remains that Modi has time and again, through gestures and actions, demonstrated that he was with the Tamil people. He quoted verses written by Tamil poet Kaniyan Poongundranar at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). He showed his “love” for the “world’s oldest language” by praising Tamil. 


During his surprise visit to troops in Ladakh 2020 he quoted from Tamil classic “Tirukkural” to praise Indian armed forces valor and honor. He even sent his External Affairs Minister Jaishankar with a clear message that India stands for the rights of the Tamil people to Sri Lanka. 


But these gestures by Modi, to win over Tamil people, get lost against a tsunami of opposition media campaigns through their media channels. For Modi to connect with Tamils and have his message heard, he first needs to be informed about Tamil Culture and Language.

Tamil Culture and Language

Lord Murugan is an extremely popular God in Tamil Nadu. He is worshipped with great fervor throughout the state. The earliest account of Murugan is perhaps from the Tamil Sangam literature, which dates to 300 BC.


According to local tradition the origin of Tamil language is associated with the Sage Agathiyar. Akattiyam, according to Tamil tradition, was the earliest book on Tamil grammar. According to tradition it is Lord Murugan who instructed Sage Agathiyar to create the Tamil language.


Lord Murugan is a deity closely connected with Tamil language and thus the cultural heritage of the Tamil people. One of the major reasons for his importance to Tamils is that, unlike many of the other Hindu Gods, Tamils believe he was instrumental in the development of the language and culture by directly being involved in the process. The evidence for this is present in literature, archaeology, and tradition, which all point towards the influence of Lord Murugan in the cultural evolution of the state. 3


So Tamil Culture and Language are synonymous with Lord Murugan.

The unprecedented and massive people support for the recent “Vel Yatra” by Tamil Nadu BJP President L Murugan happened as this emotional connect was unlocked. This was a campaign or “yatra” to visit the abodes of Murugan. The Six Abodes of Murugan (Tamil: Āṟupaṭai vīṭu) are six temples situated in the state of Tamil Nadu. Each of these temples has a unique history and different reason to worship Lord Murugan. 4

The six abodes of Murugan as mentioned in the ancient Tamil Sangam literature are Thiruparankundram, Tiruchendur, Palani, Swamimalai, Thiruthani and Pazhamudircholai.

Murugan Temple, Palani.

Can Modi win over Tamils?

Karuppar Koottam, YouTube channel group made a controversial video with derogatory remarks against Lord Murugan. DMK was charged as being behind Karuppar Koottam but DMK denied it.

It is clear that a “sashtang namaskar before ram lalla” moment is waiting for Modi in Tamil Nadu. 


If Modi starts his outreach to Tamils from Thiruchendur Murugan Temple (one of the Six Abodes of Murugan located on the sea-shore near Tuticorin), with a Vel (a divine javelin spear associated with Lord Murugan) chanting "Tamil:Vetrivel! Veeravel!" (Victorious Vel, Courageous Vel), the ancient battle cry of Tamils, it may change the political dynamics of Tamil Nadu altogether. 


This temple is special. It is the temple that commemorates the place where Murugan won a decisive victory over evil demon Soorapadman after worshipping Lord Shiva. This is a symbol of ultimate victory of good over evil.


This singular act will imprint Modi as someone who stands for Tamil Culture and Language in the minds of Tamil people. No opposing media campaign can mask this symbolic message. This powerful message tells, here is someone willing to take-up the cause Tamil Language and Culture.


Tamil Nadu is a rich state both politically and economically. Winning over Tamils backing can expedite national progress. But connecting with Tamils requires a desire to understand their language and culture. Can Modi bring his wisdom, knowledge, and appeal to the Tamil people? Only time will tell.


Author provides business and financial insights. He also shares his ideas on economics, politics, and culture for renewal of India.  

Also see

1. Pics Murugan Thiruchendur Temple

2. Pics Murugan Palani Temple

3. Pics Murugan Swamimalai Temple

4. Pics Murugan Temple Madurai

5. Detailed Tamil Nadu Temple Tour program






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