Dravidian movement in Tamilnadu
The Dravidian movement started with the formation of Justice by C.Natesa Mudaliar, T.M.Nair, P.Theagaraya Chetty on 20 November 1916.
Dravidian movements consist of:
- Abolition of Devadasi System
- Self Respect Movement
- Justice Party
- Dravidar Kazhagam
- DMK and ADMK
To know about the Dravidian movement in Tamilnadu, it is important to know about its history.
Compared to the rest of India, Tamil Nadu has good administration and political culture, and stable economic life. The Madras Presidency was formed in 1801 AD.
The Madras presidency consisted of the Present states of Andra Pradesh, the Malabar region of Kerala, Southern Karnataka, the Southernmost part of Odisha, and the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.
Madras Presidency politics in the early 20th century was dominated by Brahmin and Non-Brahmin conflicts.
By understanding the conflict between Brahmins and Non-Brahmins is necessary to understand South India Politics and Society.
Very few people of Non-Brahmin Caste groups got employment in industries, commercial enterprises, etc.
A significant part of non-brahmin groups has migrated to urban, to ascertain their identity as Tamil and Dravidians challenged the monopoly of Brahmins in Politics, administration, and society.
The word ‘Dravidian’ was used by scholars and non-Tamil to identify non-Aryan Tamil-speaking people.
At the same time, Brahmin was identified as Aryans and the custodians of Sanskrit civilization.
Non-Brahmins were considered as Dravidians and the custodians of Tamil Language, culture, and civilization.
The emergence of the Dravidian movement in Tamilnadu
The Dravidian movement was started in order to protect and promote the Tamil identity, culture, socio-political and economic interest of non-brahmins.
Dravidian and Non-Brahmin Identity
Madras Presidency was formed by the British regime as a multilingual province in 1801.
Madras presidency had people of various languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, and Tulu.
The diversity of India can be noticed from the political developments of the Madras Presidency.
In North India and in Bengal, Sanskrit and Vedic centred Indian culture was promoted and Indo-Aryan or Indo-German groups of languages were promoted.
Cultures other than Vedic and languages other than Sanskrit were not given recognition.
James Principe deciphered Brahmi script in 1837, Ellis in 1816, and Caldwell in 1856 researched South Indian Languages and established that Indian culture was not homogeneous.
Francis Whyte Ellis
Ellis, a Tamil lover praised by Tamil enthusiasts. He had done research on Valluvar, Kural, and so on. He tried to show Valluvar as Jain and tried to promote the “Thomas Myth” in India.
He was born in the United Kingdom on 7th May 1814 and died in Kodaikanal, British India on 28 August 1891.
In India, Dravidian and Buddhist traditions existed. The Madras Presidency, which has multilingual people, particularly the non-brahmin has asserted the Dravidian Identity as a result of a Dravidian group of languages theory and Dravidian cultural heritage.
In India, Brahmins claimed superiority over the Non-Brahmins and Brahmin monopolizing educational and employment opportunities, this made Non-Brahmin transform to the Dravidian Identity.
Mahatma Jyotiba Rao Phule in Maharashtra launched a Non-Brahmin movement, similar to Dravidian in Madras Presidency.
The non-brahmins of the Madras Presidency thought that nationalist leaders never worked for the Non-Brahmin Issues.
Gangalu Lakshmi Narash expressed this grievance, broke up the British Indian Association, and formed a new association named Madras Native Association.
Non-brahmin leaders fought for social reforms rather than political reforms.
After the Minto-Morley reforms in 1909, the non-brahmin started to protest for inadequate representation in education and employment.
Sir Alexander Gordon Cardew, a member of the Governor’s Executive Council submitted statistical details in 1913, to prove that the Brahmin who are 3% of the population have taken most of the opportunities.
Self Respect Movement
The self-respect movement is a political movement in Tamil Nadu. It is the iconic movement of the Dravidian movement that aimed at achieving equality, Women’s Rights, Equal rights for backward castes, etc.
Salem Conference, 1944
In the Salem conference held under the leadership of Periyar, in 1944. A Historic resolution passed, that the name of the Justice Party was changed to Dravidar Kazhagam (DK).
Periyar then organized the Dravida Nadu conference and demanded an independent nation for Dravidians.
He pronounced a slogan, Dravida Nadu for Dravidians at the conference. He also announced, Dravidar Kazhagam wanted to establish a casteless society, condemning religious rituals, traditions, and superstition.
Dravidar Kazhagam went very popular in many rural and urban areas, many non-brahmins and students have changed their names reflecting Tamil Identity.
By Article 313 of the Indian constitution, Hindi was made the official language of the Indian Union on 26 January 1965.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)observed 26th January 1965 as a “Day of Mourning”.
Tamil Nadu witnessed a large Anti-Hindi Agitation.
The Anti-Hindi agitation gained momentum among the students and the congress party lost its base and support in Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile, DMK had withdrawn its demand for “Dravida Nadu” and concentrated in electoral politics, and became a ruling party in the state.
Dravidian Movement during the Second World War and after:
In 1939, Congress resigned from the ministry after the governments involved India in World War II.
In Madras, Presidency Rajaji resigned the post, but Periyar raised the demand for Dravida Nadu on the ground that Independence prior to socio-cultural equality would be injurious to Tamil Interest.
Dravidar Kazhagam was splitted Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was formed in 1949. In 1951, the Supreme Court struck down the communal reservation in higher education.
Periyar launched an agitation to restore communal reservation.
Thereby the first constitutional amendment act passed in the parliament in favor of reservation for socially and educationally backward classes.
Dravidian Parties Rule
Dravidian Movement is incomplete with mentioning the Dravidian parties rule, that shaped Modern Tamil Nadu. The rule of DMK and ADMK has made Tamil Nadu top in various aspects such as Economy, Health, Education, Social Welfare, etc.