We're all grateful for living in a world where expressions of racial or ethnic hatred is not only frowned up but is also punishable.
Nevertheless, I'd implore you to look at Tamil Nadu where we recently found a journalist tweet explicitly anti-Semitic messages and in his own perverse way made a comparison between Brahmins and Jews. And the alleged crime for which this journalist singled out Brahmins and Jews? They lined up to get their Covid-19 vaccines and took the jabs in very large numbers!
The journalist who goes by the name ‘Varavanai’ Senthilkumar was previously with Anantha Vikatan, a once famous weekly Tamil magazine that has since descended into being a mere cheerleader of the Dravidian political forces.
Senthilkumar later joined and continues to be on the rolls of Kalaignar TV, a channel named after the late Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader, Muthuvel Karunanidhi.
He used the term ‘Parpanar’ to refer to Brahmins - a term used with reverential tones in ancient Tamil literature in reference to Brahmins.
You'd expect universal condemnation and such but what we saw was quite different. Senthilkumar was promptly supported by many of his ideological co-travelers. One of his supporters bandied the term 'cow-urine'. One David Raja commented that both the groups were 'camps of poisonous germs'.
Yet another journalist, it's difficult to say what kind of a journalist, added that while Brahmins recommended cow urine for others they were lining to take vaccinations themselves. He added that while Shankaracharya would forbid women going to jobs, Brahmin women would be the first to apply.
These anti-Semitic, anti-Brahmin tweets, that would qualify as ones fanning ethnic/racial hate anywhere else in the world, have received hundreds of likes and retweets so far.
This, unfortunately, is the nature of the Dravidian worldview. You see, these are not nameless trolls but journalists actually working in media-houses.
But if one thinks this is just the obscene nature of mere foots soldiers, then one should see some of the recent tweets by Dr.P.Thiaga Rajan. He is the Minister for Finance and Human Resources Management in the present DMK government of Tamil Nadu.
Look at his response on Twitter when somebody accused him of being an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and hence disqualified from contesting polls here. The minister promptly came back with a cow urine jibe and made a reference to 'filtered idiots'.
For political observers in Tamil Nadu the present Finance Minister's uncouth language and manners is a let down considering the ancestry of the said minister.
The minister's ancestor Sir Ponnambala Thiaga Rajan (1892-1974), was an Oxford graduate; he was aligned to the pro-British Justice Party, and is remembered as a cultured gentleman with pious spiritual tendencies.
Readers of Swarjaya magazine know that in 2018, this portal mentioned the contribution of this family to the Sabarimala temple.
The minister's father was a formidable DMK minister. He was in-charge of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department for sometime. He was also deeply immersed in the Hindu spiritual tradition.
That today the grandson of Sir Ponnambala Thiaga Rajan and son of Dr Palanivel Rajan is using cow-urine jibes as a means of derogating Hindus is an immeasurable tragedy and decline.
Of course, posterity would remember the PTR family for their contribution to Sabarimala and Meenakshi Amman temple by the grandfather and father, and not for the uncouth remarks of the present minister.
On the whole, whether it is the anti-Brahmin/anti-Semitic tweet of the media persons associated with the DMK or the uncouth tweets of the ministers, there is a degree of consistency in the hatred exhibited.
It should be remembered that the Dravidian movement saw Hinduism as a Brahminical conspiracy and imagined Brahmins as similar to Jews. The anti-Brahminism of the Dravidian movement has its roots in the colonial hatred of missionaries for the Brahmins.
The anti-Semitism that we see has its theological roots in the Christian hatred for Jews. Anti-semitism, with its two thousand years of institutionalised history, resulted in the Holocaust and vast human suffering.
The anti-Brahminism of the Dravidianist variety is two hundred years old. Let us hope it does not inflict even a fraction of the harm that its Christian cousin inflicted on the world.
Aravindan is a contributing editor at Swarajya.
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