“Do not push us to demand for a separate nation,” DMK MP A Raja said to the Union government, while speaking in a meeting held at Namakkal, on Sunday, 3 July. Demand for a separate nation - Dravida Nadu - was a long standing demand of the party supremos Periyar and Anna. However, it was dropped in 1962 after secession was deemed illegal by the then Jawaharlal Nehru-led government.
While the demand for federalism has been put forth frequently by the DMK party, it is this meeting that has stirred up the Dravida Nadu topic again. Raja was speaking in a meeting held for DMK local body representatives in Namakkal titled "Mathiyil Kootatchi, Maanilathil Suyatchi" (roughly meaning federalism at the Centre, and autonomy for states). This was the idea of former CM M Karunanidhi, which has stuck with the party till date.
Raja recalled the history behind the emergence of the concept and traced its way back to the split of Pakistan. “Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that Hindi should be the only common language in India and Hindi is needed to unite the country. Will a language unite the country?,” he asked. “Soon after Pakistan was born, the nation’s father Jinnah went to Dacca - in East Pakistan - and was speaking in Urdu, when a young boy stood up and said they knew Bangla, and not Urdu. Despite this, he continued to speak in Urdu that led to the split of Pakistan,” he points out.
The MP further said that naming India as a ‘Union of States’ was a difficult task for Dr BR Ambedkar, because the then ruling Congress was not willing to even accept the phrase. He also quoted Ambedkar’s statement that “the word ‘Bharatham’ was inculcated into the Constitution by force, without my willing”.
Pointing out that the Constitution provides three lists of powers - Union, state and concurrent, Raja says that the Union government has the most powers.
“When Kalaignar wanted to install a statue of King Raja Raja Cholan in Thanjavur temple, he couldn’t do that because the temple was under the control of archeology, which was controlled by the Union government”, he says and adds that while initially the demand of Dravida Naadu was put forth, the then CM Anna had to drop it in 1962 due to the law brought in to curb the demand for secession.
“Speaking about it in parliament Anna said that he knew it was brought to control the demand of Tamil Nadu and added, ‘It is a painful backlash to bring a law to curtail our rights, not in an antagonist manner but protagonist manner’”, he recalls.
Further stating that states don’t even have small rights, even after talking and writing so much about it, he sought the Prime Minister and the Home Minister not to ‘force’ to start demanding a separate state. “The Prime Minister Narendra Modi says all states are to be seen the same, and the Home Minister Amit Shah says if you want unity, learn Hindi. The party’s founding father Periyar, till death, demanded for a separate state. But we (DMK) kept aside that demand for our democracy and national integrity. So, I am saying this with the utmost humility possible. Our CM is traveling in Anna’s path so far, do not push us into following Periyar’s path. Do not make us revive our demand for a separate state. Give us state autonomy,” he said.
Further, according to reports, the Chief Minister MK Stalin, speaking at the meeting had warned the elected local body representatives that they will surely face severe repercussions, if they do anything that might disrepute the DMK government or the CM.
(Published in arrangement with The News Minute)