Gnani Sankaran: The Periyarist Who Didn’t Realise The Irony Of Quoting Subramaniya Bharathi
Gnani Sankaran was honest and tenacious, but died a misguided intellectual.
Senior Tamil journalist Gnani Sankaran is no more. A well-known commentator on politics and culture, Gnani, however, would be remembered for his unconventional stand on various issues.
Tamil literary enthusiast, Jataayu captures Gnani’s career as a journalist in an obituary.
This is a translation of Jataayu’s Facebook post:
My tribute to senior journalist Gnani, and my deep condolences to his loved ones over this huge loss.
Ganani was honest and tenacious, but despite this, his voice appeared to support political parties that plotted and worked for their selfish gains. At times, his writings even seemed to strengthen the cause of anti-national forces.
Gnani, who expressed his solidarity for the oppressed class in his popular column ‘O Pakkanagal’, never hesitated to mock the sacrifices of the martyrs of the Kargil war and the movement to build Ram temple at Ayodhya.
He idealised Subramaniya Bharathi, yet in the same breath, sang praises of Periyar, but never realised this paradox.
It is not appropriate to cast aspersions on someone who is no more, but I’m forced to recall his indecorous tribute to M S Subbulakshmi when she passed away, and following an outpour of reader criticisms, he announced he will put a stop to his writings in the publication.
It may be true he is not caste conscious, but he wrote nothing condemning Islamic terror or conversions by Christian organisations. He, on the other hand, severely criticised Brahmins, perhaps, to disown his own Brahmin background. He paid lip service to Periyar ideology and participated in Hindu religious ceremonies. Even when he was involved with the Dravidian party activities, he brought to limelight Periyar’s hatred for Hinduism.
Though Periyar’s enmity with the Dalits was proven in many instances, including the Keezhvenmani incident, Gnani continued to brush it under the carpet.
It is painful to think he didn’t understand the evils of ‘Periyarism’ despite being insulted as ‘paapaan’ by ‘Periyarists’.
Having followed wrong philosophies, he unfortunately died a misguided intellectual.
May his soul rest in peace.
Gnani Sankaran died in Chennai on 14 January at 64 after losing his battle to a kidney ailment.
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