Don't Be Shocked By EVR Words, Here's More On What He Thought Of India's Unity

K Balakumar

Dec 13, 2023, 01:56 PM | Updated Dec 14, 2023, 06:10 PM IST

Dravida Kazhagam founder 'Periyar' E V Ramasamy.
Dravida Kazhagam founder 'Periyar' E V Ramasamy.
  • Congress doesn't need enemies when its friend DMK is around.
  • The Congress may be feeling like a dad who is constantly arraigned before the school principal because of the bad behaviour of his son. But in the case of Congress, it is not the ward, but an ally who relentlessly seems to put it in a spot of embarrassment.

    Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Congress's alliance partner in Tamil Nadu, has discombobulated it with sickening frequency.

    It started with the 'eradicate Sanatana Dharma' jibe from DMK dynast Udhayanidhi Stalin. Even as Congress hurriedly sought to distance itself from the vile comment, its southern partner doubled down on the comments, making it (Congress) to squirm.

    A week ago, DMK's Dharmapuri MP D N V Senthil Kumar tastelessly branded Hindi heartland to be 'gau mutra states'. Again, the Congress was forced to claim that it wasn't endorsing the idea put forth by the Lok Sabha member of its alliance partner.

    Even as the relationship between the two members of the inchoate INDI Alliance teetered uncomfortably, another DMK MP has queered the pitch for the Congress.

    Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, DMK MP M Mohamed Abdulla, on the debate on Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, whipped up an unholy controversy by quoting Dravidian demagogue E V Ramasamy (EVR) on self-determination.

    An aghast Jagdeep Dhankhar in the Chair had to adroitly move and expunge what were extremely problematic lines. Another DMK MP Tiruchi Siva made bold to defend his colleague. 

    That there is a clear regional chasm in the Congress was made clear by the fact that Mallikarjun Kharge and K K Venugopal attempted to defend its alliance partner, but later its MP and its communication in-charge Jairam Ramesh, on the floor of House, declared "I want to say it clearly, the quote which has been used, we don’t support that quote.”

    There is confusion within the Congress on how to deal with the repeated no-balls from the DMK that are proving to be a free-hit to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

    Meanwhile, the DMK, as it has become customary, has again stuck to its guns, with both M K Stalin and Udhyanidhi Stalin tweeting in support of that provocative quote from EVR.

    EVR Had No Faith In Democracy

    EVR, who is the presiding deity of the Dravidian pantheon, never really bought into the idea of India. When India attained Independence in 1947, EVR wrote in his Tamil news outlet Kudiyarasu, "this is a day of sorrow. It is a day of shame for the nation and all of mankind".

    Before that, he pleaded with the British to not leave India and pledged allegiance to them asking the Madras Presidency to be ruled from London. He even went to the extent of demanding a separate Dravida Naadu and had met Mohammad Ali Jinnah regarding the same.

    This is the man whose words the DMK wants to be heard. 

    EVR's antipathy to India was well underlined, but the problem is very little known by the current generation. While many of us in Tamil Nadu have read him and his controversial politics, the Dravidian bulwark has hyped him to be a firebrand ideologue, and that narrative seems to be gaining traction, especially in the last two or three years.

    Yesterday (12 December) too, Stalin doubled down and said that they would continue to spread the words of EVR.  As it happens, the DMK and its cohorts should know what it is wishing for.

    EVR Had No Love Lost For DMK Or Its Leaders

    Of course, EVR had no love lost for the DMK (which was hived out of DK), and the Dravidian leader constantly sniped at the DMK leaders like C N Annadurai. In fact, the diatribe got so silly and sordid at one point that Annadurai slapped a defamation case against his one-time mentor.

    This was after EVR made an intemperate remark insinuating that Anna was plotting with others to kill him. It was only after EVR sheepishly backtracked from his earlier comment that Anna was persuaded to withdraw his case from the court.

    EVR's relationship with the other DMK leaders like M Karunanidhi was also mostly frosty, but bending to the compulsions of politics, the DMK began to prop him actually after his passing.

    Even so, the party carefully elides mentioning EVR's utterances on Tamil and Thiruvalluvar (he had no good opinion on them). If anyone dares speak about Thirukkural and Tamil the way EVR did, the DMK would actually hit the streets in violent protest.   

    Stalin and company are also clever by half when they think that they are batting for democracy with EVR on their side. EVR was no admirer of democracy.

    His actual words: "India should never go anywhere near democratic principles. The reason is 90% of our population are fools and 97% of them are persons of low birth. How will their rule set right our country?" (These are not made-up quotes, but ones you can find in Periyar’s writings compiled by Pasu Gowthaman.)

    He also had no good opinion on Dalits. But he is sought to be built as some kind of champion of the oppressed section.

    Basically, the man had no faith in judiciary, democracy, Tamil, and anything India. But the one thing that really defined him was his antipathy against Brahmins. And yes, EVR was also decidedly anti-Semitic.

    It is a tragedy of our times that such a man is pitchforked into the middle as a paragon of liberalism.

    Couple of days back, it was the birth anniversary of one of Tamil Nadu's greatest sons, Subramania Bharathi. He was a true reformer poet, a social iconoclast in his own way but still understood the values of tradition and culture of the land. He is the hero that Tamil Nadu needs the most.

    But the DMK and its ilk shun him on the grounds that he was born a Brahmin. So even as EVR is projected as a cult hero, the humanism of Bharathiar is elbowed out.

    When hate is the ideology, only false gods get worshipped.

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