Dravidian Model for eradication of Sanatana Dharma

  • By Jayasree Saranathan
  • September 6, 2023
  • Know about the intricacies of Tamil Nadu politics and DMK’s anti-Sanatana Dharma views, packaged under the title ‘Dravidian Model’.

On Saturday, 2nd September, Udayanidhi Stalin, son of the DMK supremo and the Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development of Tamil Nadu stirred a hornet’s nest by calling for the eradication of Sanatana Dharma in his address to the ‘Sanatan Abolition Conference’ convened by the Progressive Writers and Artists Forum, in Chennai. Coming closely on the heels of the just concluded meeting of the opposition I.N.D.I.A. alliance in Mumbai, this outburst by a prominent member of a constituent party of the alliance garnered national attention.


While his speech was seen as a call to incite genocide of believing Hindu groups, the same utterances were excused as a right to free speech by the DMK supporters. The local TN Congress leaders were quick to pitch in to support Udayanidhi; Karti Chidambaram drew our attention by his tweet that ‘everyone who is batting for “SD” (Sanatan Dharma) comes from the privileged segment who are beneficiaries of the “Hierarchy”’, forgetting that he is married into the so-called privileged segment.


That the local Congress cadres had their own compulsions to support Udayanidhi’s indefensible verbal assault on Hindus by his attack on Sanatana Dharma, can be seen from the manner in which Congressmen outside Tamil Nadu objected to his speech. The Maharashtra Congress Chief Nana Patole told ANI that the Congress party ‘neither comments nor believes in hurting anyone’s religious sentiments,’ and added that they ‘can’t take onus for someone else’s statement’.


While official responses from other alliance partners are awaited, it goes without saying that Udayanidhi has added salt to the injuries already inflicted by his party on North Indians, particularly the people of Bihar, UP and Northeast. Not long ago several migrant workers from the North fled from Chennai and Tiruppur, the textile hub, following hostile propaganda against Vadakkans (northies). In the forefront was Udayanidhi, inciting anti-Hindi slogans while he had no qualms in buying rights for Hindi films through his Production and Distribution company, Red Giants.


Biharis are particularly are in the line of attack of the DMK headed by Udayanidhi’s father M.K. Stalin, who views the Bihar-born Tamil Nadu Governor, R.N. Ravi, as a villain. Nothing can be more atrocious than the scorn spit by the DMK leader R.S. Bharati in an indirect dig at the Governor when he said that those who sell Soan Papdi and Panipuri don’t know the pride of Tamil Nadu.


The arrest of a Youtuber, Manish Kashyap, further deepened the crisis which reflected in the opposition to M.K. Stalin’s visit to Bihar in June 2023, to attend a meeting of the Opposition parties convened by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The Twitterverse was buzzing with the hashtag #GoBackStalin with the tweet of T.R.B. Raja, DMK minister for Industries and son of T.R. Balu, going viral on social media. With Stalin’s Bihar visit facing resistance from people on Twitter, the minister deleted his 10-year-old tweet of 2013 which read, “Sounds Racist BUT looking at what Mins & Bihari #Rapists are saying… problem IS IN THE ENTIRE UP/BIHAR etc Society and not just individuals.”


Us versus Them: Dravidian Model  

The attack on Sanatana Dharma is not new and is a continuing ‘Model’ to keep the DMK support base united. The trend started from pre-Independence days with E.V. Ramasamy Naicker (Periyar) spouting anti-Brahmin sentiments. This original agenda of Christian Missionaries that aimed at displacing the temple culture to gain conversions, was adopted by the Dravidian parties. For long, the DMK harped on Aryan vs. Dravidian ideology in which Brahmins of Tamil Nadu were Aryans and the rest were Dravidians. Stalin’s father, M. Karunanidhi, followed a peculiar formula of identification by which his bête noire, Jayalalithaa, was an Aryan, but his friend Sonia Gandhi was a Dravidian, if we go by his eulogies on her as the Tamil Epic character, Manimekalai.


Not satisfied with calling all Tamil Brahmins as oppressive Aryans who sneaked into the country through the Khyber Pass, the DMK dynasts started labelling Hindu Gods as brutal Aryans who suppressed the indigenous Dravidians. In their reasoning, Rama was a despotic Aryan while Ravana was a good Dravidian. Vishnu’s avatar, Vamana, was a cruel Aryan while Mahabali was a benevolent Dravidian. Karunanidhi had a liking for Mahabali and compared himself with Mahabali in a meeting at Vellore in April 2011, claiming that like Mahabali he was stopped by inimical forces from doing his good deeds to the poor. When his partyman Andimuthu Raja was implicated in the 2G spectrum scam, Mahabali came to his rescue when he claimed that like Mahabali, Raja was punished for doing good.


The love for Mahabali continues generationally as we found Karunanidhi’s son, M.K. Stalin, invoking the ‘Dravidian King Mahabali’ in his Onam message to the people of Kerala, which said that he was cunningly defeated. He took objection to celebrating Onam as Vamana Jayanti, least realizing that the poem he quoted in that message from the Tamil Sangam text explicitly referred to the birthday of Sri Vishnu. It shows his level of knowledge of Tamil texts.


With time, the Arya vs Dravida dichotomy is irrigated with newer ideas. Opposition to Manu and Manu Smriti is a byproduct of this narrative. Manu Smriti is easy to flag against Brahmins and through them, all Hindus. An extension of this is the slogan “social justice”. Least realizing that the ancient Chola kings swore on Manu Neeti with a claim that they descended from Vaivasvata Manu, the Dravidian ideology keeps harping on Manu as an external Aryan who came to oppress the Dravidian people. In the past few decades, Manuvadi vs. others has been doing the rounds, with emphasis on caste differences. Claiming to strive for a casteless society, the DMK has accentuated caste consciousness. The DMK leaders can even be heard calling their colleagues by caste names.


Inevitably, the DMK rechristened the fight against Manuvadi as a fight against Sanatana Dharma-a word Stalin initially struggled to pronounce. This fight against Sanatana Dharma was outsourced initially to people like Thirumavalavan, chief of Dalit Panthers Party (aka VCK) who showed extraordinary zeal in abusing Sanatana Dharma at every opportunity. At a Christian Book launch in December 2022, he said that this “land (India) was plagued with Sanatana Dharma, (and) it did not have liberty, equality, and fraternity. Sanatana Dharma is entirely based on discrimination, and Manu is the one who turned that discrimination into law. Discrimination is the basis for both Sanatana Dharma and Manusmriti”.


The so-called fight against Sanatana Dharma is articulated as a fight for ‘Social justice’ with Stalin coining the term ‘Dravidian Model’ of governance, ensuring equality and equal opportunity to all (except Brahmins) and opposition to ‘oppressive forces’ with caste and religious identities. This was revealed by Stalin in his speech at the 200th anniversary of the struggle for the upper garment in March 2023 in Nagarcoil, at a meeting where Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, was also present.


He made Sanatana Dharma as extraneous to Tamil people, causing them to suffer when he said, “While the Keeladi civilization showcases the regal living of the Tamils, the ‘sanatana dharma’ divided people based on caste and treated the ‘oppressed caste’ like slaves and animals. We are indebted to the social reformists, including Col. Munro, Ayya Vaikundar, Periyar and the Christian Missionaries, who ensured equality in the society… Since we continue this social justice and ensure equality in the ‘Dravidian Model’ rule, it is being opposed by the religious and caste fanatics.”


Born in a Telugu family with questionable grooming in Tamil literature, Stalin has clearly exhibited how little he knows of Tamil culture; the celebrated Tamil Sangam age Grammar book Tholkappiyam speaks about Varna system; it divides the society into seven varnas including the well-known four varnas. The poet Thiruvalluvar also subscribes to the view of differences in people when he said that though all are born alike, there are differences due to the jobs they do.


These are not part of the curriculum in schools, with the result that no Tamilian knows of them. Similarly, the version of Tholkappiyam on types of words in Tamil which includes Sanskrit (Vadasol) also as part of Tamil language, is not taught in school. Only selective portions of Tamil grammar excluding these are found in textbooks. Varna system is not alien to Tamils. The demarcation of works for different Varnas being part of Tholkappiyam, how can one blame Sanatana Dharma as playing havoc with the regal living of Tamil people?


Karunanidhi as a better-informed person in Tamil literature, must have known about the Varna system in Tholkappiyam, but he chose to whip up sentiments against Varnas by his anti-Hindu stance. The probable reason is to nurture his vote bank on religious lines! With the rise of Narendra Modi in central politics, anti-Hindu means anti-Modi and anti-RSS. With the Godhra issue doused by court rulings, newer issues need to be invented. And so Udayanidhi excelled in diatribes against Modi.


Anti-Modism of unimaginable proportions is being whipped up ever since Modi became the Prime Minister. Udayanidhi was in the lead in spearheading this anti-Modi attack. He went to the extent of saying in an election campaign in the last Assembly elections, that Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj died because of Modi. He said, “There was a leader called Sushma Swaraj. She passed away because she couldn’t take Modi’s torture. There was a leader called Arun Jaitley. He also passed due to Modi’s torture.” That election gave a resounding victory to the DMK and its partner Congress, mainly by stoking an imaginary fear of Modi – ‘Modi will enter Tamil Nadu if you don’t vote for us’.


The DMK has no qualms in thanking the minorities for helping them to come to power. During the Centenary celebrations at St Paul’s seminary in Trichy in July 2022, the Speaker of TN Assembly, Appavu, acknowledged that the DMK government was created by them. In the same speech he also claimed that Tamil Nadu would have turned into Bihar, had it not been for Christian missionaries.


In April 2023, when BJP MLA Vanathi Srinivasan raised an objection to the resolution to grant reservation to those converted to other religions from Hinduism, the Speaker Appavu expunged her version that such reservation indicates caste differences and untouchability in those religions too.

 Appreciation for Christianity and Islam vs. hatred for Hinduism is time and again exhibited by the DMK chief and his son. The Dravidian ideology against caste discrimination, ridicule of religious customs and appropriation of religious places applies to Hinduism only, and not to other religions. The worst kind of expletives are always from Udayanidhi. He didn’t spare the President of India either, when he claimed that she was not invited for the Parliament Opening ceremony because she is a widow. Oddly, his grandmother (Karunanidhi’s wife) was nowhere to be seen during his swearing-in ceremony. What could be the reason?


The truth behind Udayanidhi’s diatribes against Hindus can possibly be linked to the faith he professes. Speaking at a Christmas celebration in his constituency in December 2022, he said he is a Christian. Married to a Christian, he proclaimed himself a Christian and said he was delighted to be part of a Christian event.


As a minister who took his oath of office on the Constitution of India, Udayanidhi did not even feign concern for people of all religions, but has the audacity to abuse Hindus and their faith. For him and the DMK, an attack on Sanatana Dharma means anti-BJPism. They are unconcerned about the impact this will have Hindu feelings, because so far, Hindus have not retaliated through the ballot box. Whenever they failed to win an election, it was due to corruption charges or by the overwhelming image of MGR or Jayalalithaa. Never have the Hindus of Tamilnadu punished for anti-Hindu abuse.


Perhaps this is why a respected person such as Palanivel, father of Veera Muthuvel, Project Director of Chandrayaan-3, expresses admiration for the DMK. In a recent interview, he recalled joining the railway strike in 1974. While Indira Gandhi issued a stricture to arrest the striking railway employees, Karunanidhi instead asked the State Police not to arrest them if not given a written complaint. Palanivel thus escaped arrest and turned into a loyal DMK supporter.


The DMK enjoys a supporter base generationally, but that alone is not enough for an electoral victory. So, they are doing their best to rope in minorities into their support base. They feel this is best done by taking anti-Hindu stance. That is why Muslim wedding functions and Christian events become occasions for expressing disdain against Hindus.


But politics requires fresh fodder always. So, to play a victim card, Udayanidhi dared the Centre to arrest him for his comments on eradicating Sanatana Dharma. His father claimed glory all these years as a non-existent MISA detenu during the Emergency. As successor to the throne, Udayanidhi needs to show some kind of ‘sacrifice’ for a cause. He will be glad to be challenged and arrested and thus gifted a “martyrdom” for the cause of social justice of the Dravidian Model.


The DMK strongmen are unconcerned about the impact this tirade against Sanatana Dharma could have on the constituent parties of the fledgling I.N.D.I.A. Alliance. Tamil Nadu is their turf, and they are determined to retain it at any cost. Their partners in the opposition camp must realize that the DMK is more a liability than an asset in their phenomenal fight against Modi.


First published www.vijayvaani.com and Here  

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