‘Breaking India’ Forces At Work In Tamil Nadu: Why Development Projects Are Leaving The State

by Aravindan Neelakandan - Mar 31, 2017 06:25 PM +05:30 IST
‘Breaking India’ Forces At Work In Tamil Nadu: Why Development  Projects Are Leaving The State Student groups showing support for the protest (Prabhu Mallikarjunan/101Reporters)
  • A Marxist-Islamist-evangelist axis is quietly operating against developmental and scientific projects in Tamil Nadu.

Starting with the jallikattu agitation this January, which began with pride and ended in notoriety, Tamil Nadu has been witnessing a spate of protests over development projects.

Soon after the jallikattu protests came the agitation in Neduvasal against the hydrocarbon exploration project, which was opposed tooth and nail by activists. The aim here, it seems, is to obstruct all central government projects in Tamil Nadu.

Fanning the flames in these cases is not just social media but nearly all 24x7 television channels in Tamil Nadu, which almost uncritically project these protests as acts to save the natural resources of the state against the centre.

Case 1: INO

The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) is a particle physics research facility to study neutrinos. The Bodi Hills region in Tamil Nadu is well-suited to study these particles. Exciting possibilities abound in this research. India has earlier had the glory of detecting neutrinos produced in cosmic rays. That was in 1965 at the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF). Naturally, this new installation of the INO would have brought more laurels to the country and made India a proud partner of the global neutrino research community.

However, a baseless rumour, which said that the proposed INO lab would be a nuclear waste facility, spread widely. The project director in a press release (March 2014) regretted that such rumours were being spread deliberately. He expressed dismay at “attempts by certain section of the media and prominent political personalities to continually mislead the public.” Without mincing words, he said such rumour-mongering was “at best poor reporting, and at worst deliberate and malicious”. Now, the science complex which could have made Tamil Nadu a cutting-edge science hub is all set to leave the state.

Case 2: Hydrocarbon exploration project

Then there is the hydrocarbon project. The resistance to it poses a setback to India in energy self-sufficiency. What’s more important is that in the coming years, as China and Japan opt for methane hydrates – a real energy gold, India may be handicapped because of these constant protests. Fear of continued agitation will turn India away from exploring these resources or developing local, geography-based technological expertise. Ultimately, this will give China an upper hand.

Sinister forces at work

The common thread binding these cases is a form of neo-Luddite eco-fascism. There is a liberal mixture of conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism. Islamist organisations in South India have been preaching anti-Semitism to their cadre for several years. There are various cult figures operating in the state to incite the mobs. They cultivate a fear of technology among the locals in a significant way.

An example is ‘Healer Baskar’. He sees the world in conspiracies. Vaccination is a conspiracy. Cartoon channels are a conspiracy. Pharmaceuticals are a conspiracy. Demonetisation is – of course – a conspiracy. Dr Abdul Kalam’s death is a conspiracy. This man has a Youtube channel with 66,600 subscriptions and 1,532 videos uploaded. (No occult conspiracy here.)

In one of his ‘viral’ videos, he speaks about how Israel is actually controlling the whole world while keeping itself insulated. “All Illuminati families come from Israel. In Israel, there is no vaccination. In Israeli TV, there are no cartoons. But they spread all these evils in other nations. In Israel, if you want to start a business, you should prove to the government that you can cheat people. In Israeli schools, children are taught in the art of deceit.” A particular video clip of this talk uploaded by one Muhammad Salim has 22,600 views.

This sustained hate campaign has brought various forces together. Often the euphemistic term used in the left-Islamist circles is ‘corporate interests’. While anti-Brahminism was open and explicit (‘Brahminical forces colluding with neo-Imperialist forces’ is the standard radical slogan in Tamil Nadu), anti-Semitism is becoming increasingly explicit as well. For example, Protocols of Zion was published by a Tamil publishing house (Adayalam) a few years ago, which was till then publishing novels of controversial writer and left-wing activist Perumal Murugan.

So, what one sees today with the neo-Luddite Tamil separatist demonstrations occurring with tacit support of Islamist and evangelist elements is the culmination of a sustained campaign that is both unscientific and filled with hate. Add to this the popularity-seekers and intentional mischief-mongers in Tamil Nadu’s cinema industry.

Mohan C Lazarus has cultivated a team of Tamil cine artists as evangelical weapons. Amir, a young film director, has been a supporter of Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ), a radical Islamist movement. He provided the fundamentalist outfit with inside information whenever he thought Islam was in danger in Tamil media. Today, he is a prominent personality fanning the Tamil nationalist sentiment and raising a voice against industrial projects in the state.

What’s significant is that these well-planned ‘spontaneous’ protests - which are mostly based on rumours, misunderstanding, scientific illiteracy and racial hatred - serve multiple objectives for the ‘Breaking India’ forces. They create a sense of injustice and exploitation among Tamils where none exist, weakening India in global competition by creating hurdles in the utilisation of natural resources, providing a model for other regions as to how the coming together of evangelical, Marxist and Islamist forces can stall any project in India.

Fortunately, not all of Tamil Nadu is Chennai. While these forces can exert influence in the Chennai media and pockets of Tamil Nadu, the vast majority of Tamil population is still alien to this hate campaign.

But that should not be a reason for complacency. Without a vigorous counter to this vicious campaign, Tamil Nadu may become a Luddite fundamentalist haven for the Marxist-Islamist-evangelist axis.

Aravindan is a contributing editor at Swarajya.

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