What is Dravida Nadu, the idea for a separate Tamil Nadu?

In the presence of Prime Minister MK Stalin on Sunday (July 3), Croatian MP from Nilgiris, Andimutho Raja, said that if the central government does not give Tamil Nadu greater autonomy, the KDP may be. Forced to revive the request for a separate country.

“Prime Minister is going Anna’s way, don’t push us to Periyar road. Don’t force us to demand our country, give us state independence. Until then we won’t rest,” Raja wrote on Twitter, where he posted a video of the speech. But Raja stressed that “national integration and democracy are important.”

E V Ramasamy “Periyar” (1879-1973) started the self-respect movement to “reclaim identity and self-respect” for Tamils. He envisioned the Dravidian Autonomous Home of Dravida Nadu, which includes speakers of Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada, and launched a political party, Dravidar Kazagam (DK), to pursue this goal.

CN Annadurai (1909-1969) was the last Chief Minister of Madras State and the first Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He founded Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) after separating from Periyar. which eventually chose to slow down the demand for Dravida Nadu independence and instead worked for greater autonomy for Tamil Nadu and better cooperation among the southern states.

Raja’s comments come at a time when the Tamil Nadu state government has repeatedly disagreed with the central government’s policies and accused it of undermining India’s federal structure.

Demand for Dravida Nadu

The movement for a separate country Dravida has gone through several stages and meanings. Agitations in the early twentieth century against the colonial government of Madras (of which it was, along with Tamil Nadu, parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala) often included expressions of territorial aspirations.

The South Indian Liberal Union, popularly known as the Justice Party, founded in 1917 by Sir Petit Thigaraya Shetty, Dr. TM Nair and Dr. C. Natisa Mudaliar, was the first to raise the banner of anti-Brahmanism, and opposed the caste system. That put the Brahmins at the top of the social hierarchy.

At that time, the presence of Brahmins in the Madras government was disproportionately higher than their population in the state, and the PJ demanded opportunities for those lower in the caste hierarchy.

In 1920, the Justice Party won the first elections to the Legislative Council held under the Government of India Act 1919, and formed the government. Congress had boycotted the elections. The AK remained in power until 1926, and then from 1930 to 377.

Periyar, founder of the self-respect movement (1925), was an anti-sectarian and anti-religious. He called for major social reforms, including equality for women in society, and support for birth control for women for their health and well-being. He also opposed the dominance of the Hindi language and emphasized the distinct cultural identity of the Tamil nation.

In 1938, the Justice Party and the Self-Esteem Movement met, representing the merger of the party and the movement. In 1944, the new outfit was named Dravidar Kazhagam. The DK was anti-Brahmin, anti-Congress, anti-Aryan (read North India), and launched a movement for an independent Dravidian state.

After independence, the DK continued to claim Dravida Nadu. Periyar refused to run in the elections. In 1949, Anadurai separated from Periyar due to ideological differences, and his KDP joined the electoral process. The DMK platforms were Tamil social democracy and cultural nationalism, but Annadurai has been silent about Dravida Nadu. In 1967, Annadurai became prime minister.

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Linguistic nationalism

The District Linguistic Commission (or SK Dhar Commission) established in 1948 argued against the linguistic basis for reorganizing states, arguing that it might lead to further division. “When a conflict of interest, real or imaginary, arises between linguistic groups that differ in numerical strength and in mental and moral equipment, it does not take long for the minority to feel that it has no chance against the majority, and find an easy way to resolve the difficulty in wanting to separate,” Commission said.

In 1952, freedom fighter Butti Sriramulu died at the end of a 56-day hunger strike to demand a separate Telugu state. In the face of intense public outrage, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru announced his intention to create a separate Andhra state, and in 1953, the States Reorganization Commission (SRC) was formed under Judge Fazl Ali, historian K.M. Panicar, and parliamentarian H.N. Konzru.

The commission’s report was in favor of the linguistic division of states. He cautioned, however, that “it is neither possible nor desirable to reorganize the state on the basis of a single test of language or culture; it is necessary to have a balanced approach that takes into account all relevant factors”.

The State Reorganization Act 1956, incorporating some of the proposals of the Sudanese Red Crescent Authority, redrawn the states’ boundaries on linguistic grounds, and created the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Mysore and Kerala in southern India. In the process, a major requirement of language movements was fulfilled, and the idea of ​​an independent Dravida Nadu was weakened.

Tamil identity confirmation

Since 1967, with the transition of power between the DMK and AIADMK, the preservation of Tamil culture and language has been a major focus area of ​​successive state governments. The state opposed the trilingual formula, which meant that Hindi would be taught in schools in southern Indian states in 1966, and continued to protest the introduction of Hindi in education.

Annadurai had said in the Rajya Sabha in May 1962: “We are from the south, especially from Tamil Nad, as we sit here, we find the Huns. Although they know English, they speak Hindi and get answers in Hindi. At that time I find a flicker in Their eyes, as if I were saying ‘You people, unless you learn Hindi, should be silent’.

The demand for Dravida Nadu was gradually replaced by the demand for more autonomy in education and cultural practices. In 2018, Stalin, who was then the serving chairman of the DMK and leader of the opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, said that if an application was submitted to Dravida Nadu comprising the southern states, he would support it.

He later clarified that he did not suggest reviving the movement, but added, “Anna abandoned the idea of ​​Dravida Nadu and explained that there were reasons behind its creation. Anna has been proven right, especially now that we have seen how the southern states are being ignored by the BJP government.”

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