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When Will the Hate Narrative of Brahmins and Dravidians End?

The recent attacks on Brahmins is a senseless act and rooted in iconoclasm, writes Ramanathan S. 

Updated
India
3 min read
When Will the Hate Narrative of Brahmins and Dravidians End?

By Ramanathan S.

In the past couple of days, reports have emerged of at least four persons from the Brahmin community in Chennai being attacked by men belonging to the Dravida Viduthalai Kazhagam (Dravidian Freedom Federation), a little known group based in Tamil Nadu claiming to be followers of Dravidian stalwart EV Ramasamy Naicker. Naicker is popularly known as Periyar and is notorious for his anti-Brahmin movement.

Six men of DVK have been arrested, and it is unclear if these men had direct links with Dravidar Kazhagam, founded by Periyar in 1944.

A Brahmin victim after a recent attack. (Photo: TheNewsMinute)

Such attacks, targeting Brahmin priests specifically while exhorting Periyar’s ideology, are not new to Tamil Nadu. Throughout the Dravidian movement, there were sporadic incidents of Brahmins being attacked.

In the DMK regime between 1989 and 1991, similar attacks were reported in Thanjavur where Brahmins, and even a journalist, were attacked by members of parties belonging to the Dravidian fold.

A symbolic attack on the Brahmins by politicians and ideologues goes back to the days of Periyar. Periyar was an admirable iconoclast. His contribution to the social upheaval and political awakening of the Tamil society remains unparalleled.

In words and actions, he was bold. But he was also open in his calls for attacks on Brahmins. The famous quote, “If you see a snake and a Brahmin, kill the Brahmin first” is attributed to him. He also destroyed idols of Hindu gods during his protests.

This symbolic attack on Brahmins as the perpetrators of the caste system has carried on till today.

Two years back, when DMK Chief Karunanidhi was asked tough questions about the 2G spectrum scam, he responded by saying that it was a Brahminical conspiracy against A Raja, the then telecom minister who is a Dalit. In the past, DMK has accused the media of being too critical of the party on account of being dominated by Brahmins.

In the days of Periyar, there was huge political capital in such demonstrations. Periyar believed in giving ‘shock treatment’ to the society to create awareness and gain momentum for his movement.

Today, Tamil Brahmins are politically non-existent, and far less socially powerful than the OBCs who dominate politics and industry. There are some rich Brahmin businessmen, but the community at large remains toothless.

Why do Dravidian parties still indulge in this pointless rhetoric and violence against the Brahmins then? As Ganapathy, the journalist who was attacked by DK members 25 years back told me, these are cheap stunts to gain publicity.

This is the Draviadian ideologue’s default defence on a weak wicket. What the fringe elements are indulging in today is rooted in Periyar’s legacy, but the activities are pointless and a sign of an ideology gasping for breath on its deathbed. GC Shekar, a journalist and observer of Tamil politics concurred.

These elements should not be taken seriously. They do it when they want to grab attention.
– GC Shekar, Journalist

Today, with OBC groups which dominate Dravidian political parties being the main perpetrators of caste atrocities against Dalits, its a bit rich of them to attack Brahmins.

All I can say is this is funny. It is humbug. Sixty years back people would have believed them, now nobody does. Dravidian parties are the ones who encourage the caste system now.
– Dr. Krishnaswamy, leader of a Dalit outfit

The struggle against caste system is still alive and needed, but the OBCs who dominate Dravidian parties are now the perpetrators of the caste system. Periyar is to be admired, and a true Periyarist would not be in bed with any of these Dravidian groups today.

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Read more from The Quint:

Five Arrested for Attack on Two Elderly Brahmins

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