The Dravidian Movement is looking to spread its wings to other parts of the country. Colonial sepoys like Dilip Mandal help them in their journey by amplifying their propaganda. But what really happens in Tamil Nadu that could help other states emulate it in establishing social justice and equality?
DMK always makes a hue and cry about social justice in other states, especially the BJP-ruled ones. It claims to have brought self respect to the lives of Tamils by abolishing the caste system and proposes to do the same for non-Tamils who are taken over by the illusion of a communal ideology aka BJP. The party has taken the help of the likes of Dilip Mandal to spread their propaganda in Northern states. But are they giving the real picture on the ground in TN or just painting a rosy picture? Let us see in this article.
Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy, who should be a role model to the young generation in teaching self respect, spoke about women who take free buses in a deriding manner. While talking at a public event, he said, “(It is) for you only.. Rs. 4000 per (ration) card. Did he (Stalin) give or not? You received it right? Open your mouth and say. You got Rs. 4000 right? How are you going on the bus today? If you want to go from here to Koyambedu or anywhere, you are going for free. You are going on a free bus“. When confronted, he tried to brush it off as colloquial speech.
DMK had promised in its election manifesto to waive the ticket fare for women in government buses. When it came to power, it was one of the most anticipated promises people were looking forward to. But the DMK government restricted it to old, broken local buses. There were allegations that ticket fares for men were raised to compensate for the loss. But the minister acted like it was a favour done by the DMK and used the word ‘free‘ in a belittling tone to deride the poor women who are the beneficiaries of the scheme.
He had made a similar belittling remark earlier in May saying, “Where did you come from? How did you come here? For free..you can go to Villupuram and come from there for free. Now you don’t have to ask for money from your husband. You can go and come for free..and you are traveling two times”. He implied that women take buses more times that necessary because it is free.
In Pollachi near Coimbatore, a septuagenarian woman had refused to travel in a government bus for free and demanded a ticket. The video of her arguing with the conductor to accept the fare went viral on social media. Following this many media reports and videos emerged of women alleging that they were treated badly by public transport staff and that they don’t stop buses at many places. Instead of taking action against the minister and concerned government staff, the government booked the old woman and some others alleging that it was the work of the main opposition AIADMK.
A copy of the Daily Situation Report (DSR report given to the media has details of cases booked by police the previous day) went viral on social media. As it drew criticism on social media, police scrambled to deny it saying that the DSR copy was fake. A DMK member had filed a complaint against the people who “tried to bring disrepute to the government”. Based on it the person who shared the video first was booked for “spreading communal hatred”.
It didn’t stop there. He asked about a panchayat union president’s caste in front of everyone in a public event. Even as he was extolling the “achievements of Dravidian Model” in empowering women, he pointed at the Panchayat President of Mugaiyur in Villupuram and said, “Even your panchayat union chairperson is a woman from an oppressed community. See who’s the chairman of this village? You are from a downtrodden community right? You are an SC right?”.
KN Nehru, Minister for Municipal Administration, Urban and Water Supply and a prominent leader of the party, had belittled Chennai Mayor Priya at a press conference. DMK made a lot of hues and cry about electing a ‘Dalit woman’ as the mayor and even Christian portals jubilantly reported it(they claimed that Priya is a Christian). But she was humiliated and treated like a child by KN Nehru who didn’t even use respectful words to address her.
Raja Kannapan, another DMK minister, had abused a government employee based on his caste. A Block Development Officer(BDO) working in Ramanathapuram had accused the minister of calling him an “SC BDO” 6 times while abusing him, saying that he is unqualified and threatened to transfer him. After the BDO revealed the abuse the minister was divested of the Transport, Nationalised transport and Motor Vehicles ministry held by him and given the department of Welfare of Backward Classes, the Most Backward Classes and Denotified Communities.
The Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, KKSSR Ramachandran, was also found to have abused and practiced untouchability against the members of an ST community. He made the representatives of the Kuravar community and an SC MLA stand while he sat cross-legged on a sofa in his residence. He also reportedly made them wait for more than 3 hours, making his help say that he has left for work sleeping in the house all the while.
The Commune Magazine, which reported the incident in detail, says
“Recently, the Government of India decided to include Kurivikarar alias Narikuravar community in the list of Scheduled Tribes that is set to benefit around 30,000 people of the community who have been having difficulties in getting government identification documents birth certificate, Aadhar card, ration card, etc.
However, a small party named Vanavengaigal led by one Iraniyan has opposed the move saying that the Narikuravars/Kurivikarars trace their origins to Gujarat and have been confused and included with the Kuravar community of Tamil Nadu. The people of Malayadipatti village in Virudhunagar district and Iraniyan’s party have been protesting against the Tamil Nadu government and the Centre stating that it would affect the representation and concessions given to the native Kuravar community of the state.
Upon coming to know of the protest, DMK MLA from the region Thangapandian met with the protestors to pacify them. Later, the leader of the Vanvengaigal party was assured of a meeting with Minister KKSSR Ramachandran who also hails from the region. He was told that the Minister would help in setting up a meeting with CM Stalin to express their concerns.
On 23 September 2022, Iraniyan went to meet the DMK Minister at his residence in Greenways Road, Chennai. Dhanushkumar, the DMK MP from Tenkasi (who is also a Scheduled Caste) had also come to meet the Minister. Despite having empty sofas around, Iraniyan was not asked to sit. He gave his petition and had explained to the Minister the purpose of his visit.
However, the DMK Minister reportedly blurted back saying “Is the CM your neighbour to come and see him as you please?”. He also asked them their caste and put his legs in cross upon hearing that he was from Kuravar community. When Iraniyan had come forward to turn the pages of the petition to explain the problem in detail, he was asked to maintain distance. The Minister later rubbished his petition and was told that it had no merits and nothing can be done.”
In the recent DMK general council meeting convened to elect office bearers, TR Balu, a Loksabha MP and a senior leader, was seen making a cadre bring his slippers and put them on his foot on the dais. He was elected as the Treasurer unopposed.
CM MK Stalin lamented in the meeting that senior leaders were bringing him trouble and he was becoming sleepless. He literally said that he dreads waking up every day to find what new controversy DMK leaders stir up. He is believed to have meant the likes of A Raja, Ponmudy, KKSSR Ramachandran and Raja Kannapan. But Ponmudy was seen laughing merrily when Stalin was almost crying and TR Balu had made the cadre bring his slipper on the same stage.
It is to be noted that Stalin didn’t condemn them or ask them to act properly. He just felt bad that he has to deal with all this as a CM and the chief of the party. Dravidian stocks might defend him saying that he is not a ‘casteist’ like the ministers and others. But Stalin himself had once asked for the caste of an elderly party cadre when the latter came to visit him. He asked the man, “Where are you from?”. When he replied that he is from Hosur, Stalin asked, “Gowda ah?”. Gowdas live in majority in and around Hosur, a town adjacent to the Karnataka border.
This character of such leaders in DMK, thinking of and treating others as below their status, comes from the feudal mindset of lording over people during the British era as landlords and zamindars, which is prevalent in all societies across the world in the form of class divide. But Dravidian stocks attribute it to Hindu Dharma and demonise Hindus for practicing the jati system. But how is their behavior towards backward and downtrodden people after claiming to have abolished caste discrimination through the Self Respect Movement?
It was always about securing the interests of elitist clans of landed communities by demonising Brahmins and turning SC, STs against them. Now the reality is for everyone to see. And this is the real face of the Dravidian Model that the likes of Dilip Mandal would never show to the rest of Bharat.