The true ‘religion’ of Dravidian politics

Dravidian politics, Dravidian parties, Annadurai, Periyar, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, J Jayalalithaa, M Karunanidhi, MK Stalin, the federal, english news website
Dravidian politics is not anti-god and anti-religion.

On a searing summer afternoon in April, DMK president MK Stalin passionately defended his party's stand on god and religion. "The DMK is not anti-Hindu or against any religion, caste and god," a visibly upset Stalin told a motley crowd in Tirunelveli, where he was addressing an election rally. The reason behind Stalin's anger was the BJP's "deliberate attempt" to project the party as anti-god and anti-Hindu.

While commentators and critics have long argued the Dravidian parties' stand on god, the Dravidian movement is by and large perceived as anti-god and anti-religion because of its rationalism. But, that is not always the case. On the contrary, Dravidian politics possibly unlocked the mystery of religion and embraced god wholeheartedly, if one were to go by the discourses of either CN Annadurai, the founder of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), or his successors. There will, of course, be counter-arguments to this narrative. However, the Dravidian political discourse has given enough indications that they were for a ‘just’ religion.

DMK veteran M Karunanidhi’s famous dialogue in the 1952 film ‘Parasakthi’ underpins this attitude. “I said no to a temple not because a temple is not wanted, but because it should not become the abode of evil-doers.”

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