02 March, 2021

The Periyar Sun Has Set…Or Has It? Finding The Afterlife Of Dravidianism

Dravidian ideology is in regression. And the Hindu Right is moving into the gaps

In 1974, Dravidar Kazhagam organised a Ravana Leela on the grounds of its Chennai HQ
The Periyar Sun Has Set…Or Has It? Finding The Afterlife Of Dravidianism

The president of the Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP, L. Murugan, is a lawyer. Soft-spoken and determined to make a dent in the electoral constituency of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), he has spared no effort to undermine the credibility of that party and the Dravidian movement in general. As vice chairman of the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes, he even heard ­allegations put forth by a BJP member against the Murasoli Trust. Umbilically linked to the DMK, the charge is that its ­office stood on Panchami land, assigned to Dalits in the last quarter of the 19th century. The matter is before the Commission presently.

Murugan has also opened his party’s doors to malcontents in the DMK and at least two important party functionaries have availed of his hospitality. Further, Murugan has been in the forefront of a campaign to affirm the worship of Murugan—that is, the all-Tamil god Murugan, even as a group of young people, with strong Periyarist leanings, had sought to criticise a well-known hymnal chant that addresses the god. Members of the...

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