[A statue of a leader, who's dead and gone, carries primarily a symbolic
value, apart from artistic, if at all any.

Nevertheless, desecration or destruction of one goes beyond symbolic.
It tells us of the ideology driving the act and the socio-political
policies that it portends.

<<Periyar was a staunch atheist. One of his main aims was to eradicate
religion and religious beliefs. “There is no god, there is no god, there is
no god at all,” he once famously said. “He who invented god is a fool. He
who propagates god is a scoundrel. He who worships god is a barbarian.”>>]


What explains the BJP’s animosity towards Periyar and his statues?
Periyar said that those who worshipped god were barbarians.
What explains the BJP’s animosity towards Periyar and his statues?

Periyar Book House via Facebook

5 hours ago

Vinita Govindarajan

A threat to bring down the statues of social reformer Periyar in Tamil Nadu
has caused outrage among various political parties espousing the Dravidian

Hardly a day after a statue of Russian Communist leader Lenin in Tripura
was toppled after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election victory in the
state, two men were arrested for vandalising a statue of social reformer EV
Ramasamy, also known as Periyar, in Thirupattur near Tamil Nadu’s Vellore,
local media channels reported. The two accused are believed to have pelted
stones at the statue.

Earlier in the day, the BJP had found itself embroiled in yet another
controversy as party leader H Raja said that after Lenin’s statue was
bulldozed to the ground in Tripura, the next target would be the statues of
Periyar, who founded one of the first dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu, the
Dravidar Kazhagam. In a Facebook post, the BJP national secretary said:

“Who is Lenin? What is his connection to India? What is the connection of
Communists to India? Lenin’s statue was destroyed in Tripura. Today Lenin’s
statue, tomorrow Tamil Nadu’s EVR Ramaswami’s [Periyar’s] statue.”

Following the post, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam announced protests
against Raja and the BJP in many parts of Tamil Nadu, reported The News
Minute. While the DMK leader MK Stalin demanded that Raja be arrested under
the Goonda Act, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Vaiko warned
that anyone who touched Periyar’s statue “would have their hands chopped

Raja later deleted the Facebook post. The BJP spokesperson Tamilisai
Soundararajan said that Raja was expressing his personal opinion, reported
The Indian Express.

However, Tamil Nadu BJP spokesperson Narayanan Tirupathi told News 18 that
Hindutva outfits had been demanding that Periyar’s statues be removed for a
long time.

But why does the BJP harbour such animosity towards Periyar?

Party foundations
Archival photographs of Periyar depict an elderly man with a flowing beard,
round rimmed spectacles and benevolent smile. But it was the radical
philosophy of this mild-looking man that laid the foundational principles
of rationalism and social equality in Tamil Nadu’s politics, that trickled
down to the various Dravidian parties that were protesting against the BJP
leader’s statement.

Born in 1879, EV Ramaswamy joined the Indian National Congress, after
resigning from various public posts he held in Erode municipality, where he
was born. But within a few years, he quit the party, disillusioned about
its ability and willingness to voice the concerns of backward castes.

Stones can be broken. Ideas can’t be. #PeriyarStatue

— Abdul Matheen (@matheen_Matthu) March 6, 2018

This was when he joined the Self-Respect Movement, that worked towards
establishing social and gender equality by eradicating the societal
structure that placed one class or caste above another. Periyar later
headed the Justice party, which was formed in 1916 to represent the
interests of non-Brahmin castes both in politics and society, which were
under the influence of the powerful upper caste. He withdrew it from
electoral politics and turned it into a social reformist organisation, the
Dravidar Kazhagam, based on the principles of rationalism, women’s rights
and eradication of caste.

The Dravidar Kazhagam was the mother organisation of the state’s two most
influential political parties – the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra
Kazhagam and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, as well as various splinter
groups such as the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, Thanthai Periyar Dravidar
Kazhagam and Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam.

Ideological differences
Periyar was a staunch atheist. One of his main aims was to eradicate
religion and religious beliefs. “There is no god, there is no god, there is
no god at all,” he once famously said. “He who invented god is a fool. He
who propagates god is a scoundrel. He who worships god is a barbarian.”

This is one of the main reasons why the BJP and Periyarists would never get
along in any respect, said A Marx, a writer and human rights activist. “The
BJP and Periyarists are natural enemies,” he said.

While the BJP is a pro-Hindutva party, with an ideology that seeks to
establish Hindu primacy, Periyarists advocated a secular state. The
Dravidar Kazhagam denounced the basic tenets of Hinduism. In 1957, Periyar
and 3,000 Dravidar Kazhagam volunteers were arrested for burning the Indian
Constitution, arguing that it preserved caste order, and therefore,
untouchability. “He was not happy with the fact that caste and religion
were not abolished in the Constitution,” said Marx. “He felt that if some
people are allowed to express their religious beliefs, some people will
assert superiority based on caste. So he said, no one should claim their
caste legally.”

#Periyar pic.twitter.com/pGQcPxGVbw

— Manuraj S (@manuraj1983) March 6, 2018

Periyar also supported the idea of a separate nation “DravidaNadu” to
establish a society free of caste or religious discrimination, as opposed
to the fervent nationalism exhibited by pro-Hindutva forces. “It is not
because we lack in patriotism or clamour for agitations that we seek this
separation (of Dravidastan), but it is for our self-preservation and
self-respect,” said Periyar.

Periyar rejected the Indian State and nation – which cannot endear him to
its ideologues and rulers. He also consistently identified nationalism with
political Brahminism; further he was fiercely critical of nationalism, and
even his campaign for a separate Dravidian nation was on account of his
opposition to caste, to what he called the Brahmin-Bania Indian
nation-state and not because he was committed to a romantic ideology of a
resistant Dravidian nationalism.

— S V Rajadurai and V Geetha, "Periyar and his Ideas"

But despite these differences in ideology, other BJP leaders in the past
have never tried to stir up such controversies, said writer D Ravikumar of
the Dalit party Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi. Many have even embraced
their Dravidian identity, he said. But the BJP leader H Raja is provoking
everybody, he said, from actors like Vijay to poets like Vairamuthu. “By
instigating violence, he is trying to get some political mileage,” said
Ravikumar. “No leader in Tamil Nadu speaks like him, inciting hate and
violence. This is very abnormal in Tamil Nadu politics.”
Peace Is Doable

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Green Youth Movement" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email 
to greenyouth+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com.
To post to this group, send an email to greenyouth@googlegroups.com.
Visit this group at https://groups.google.com/group/greenyouth.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

Reply via email to