Who Is R S Bharathi, DMK Leader Behind Controversial 'Even A Dog Can Get BA Degree' Remark

Swarajya Staff

Jul 05, 2024, 04:57 PM | Updated 04:59 PM IST

R S Bharathi
R S Bharathi
  • The senior DMK leader has a history of controversial remarks.
  • R S Bharathi, a senior leader and organising secretary of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), recently made the controversial remark that 'even a dog can get a BA (Bachelor of Arts) degree' due to the Dravidian movement.

    Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president K Annamalai said the remark was insulting to the student community.

    However, Bharathi is no stranger to controversy. He has made many such statements in the past.

    He once said Governor R N Ravi was like a ‘pani puri seller’ from North India and that if the people of Nagaland, who eat dogs, had driven him out of there, the Tamilians, who eat salt with their food, were even more gutsy.

    He was once arrested for suggesting that the elevation of judges from the Scheduled Castes was an 'alms' given by the DMK government under former chief minister M Karunanidhi.

    Some of his other comments include calling journalists 'real scoundrels', saying they run debates like red-light areas in Mumbai, where people would do anything for money.

    He has also said people in northern India are fools who do not have brains.

    Who Is R S Bharathi?

    Bharathi is a lawyer and former Rajya Sabha member. He, along with senior advocate P Wilson, are often the ones who send defamation notices on behalf of DMK leaders.

    He belongs to the Mudaliar caste, which is one of the dominant land-owning castes that formed the core support base of the Justice Party, the predecessor of the Dravida Kazhagam (DK) and DMK.

    After the death of K Anbazhagan, who had served as the DMK's general secretary for decades, Bharathi was considered a frontrunner to be his successor.

    This was for two reasons — his stature in the party and the fact that the post of general secretary had until then been held by people from the Mudaliar caste. (C N Annadurai, V R Nedunchezhiyan, and Anbazhagan were all Mudaliars.)

    A political commentator who spoke with Swarajya attributed Bharathi's language to this background.

    “Bharathi, in my opinion, represents the microcosm of what the DMK stands for and is made up of. The top echelons of the DMK are filled with such people — those from land-owning dominant intermediate castes who have a Zamindari feudal mentality, which makes them believe that whatever they are doing is some kind of favour being extended by them to society.

    "They are known for their strong dislike of Brahmins and routinely use derogatory terms while speaking about them. It is this anti-Brahmin and feudal mentality which is getting reflected in his speeches," the commentator said.

    He continued, "This is not just a one-off incident or an off-the-cuff remark that can be taken lightly. Bharathi keeps making such remarks every now and then."

    Closeness To DMK First Family

    Asked how it is that Bharathi seems to get special treatment from the party leadership, unlike say Sivaji Krishnamoorthi, against whom the DMK took action after much outrage, the commentator said, "That is because he is close to the first family of the party from the time of Karunanidhi and K Anbazhagan. Anbazhagan, too, belonged to the Mudaliar caste. So, there is a natural affinity.

    "If it were any other leader, he (Bharathi) would probably have been sacked by now. But Bharathi doesn't even get a rap on the knuckles due to the status he enjoys.

    "This is just the latest episode and I wouldn't be surprised if he soon makes another controversial remark," he concluded.

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