D.M.K RISE AND CONTRIBUTION - FOREWORD
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It is unlikely that there is any other political party in the whole world with not only a political but also social, cultural and linguistic agenda like the DMK, found in 1949 by our sagacious leader Arignar Anna in order to liberate the Dravidian race from the shackles of superstition and religious dogmas, to revive and restore the ancient heritage of Tamil and TamilNadu, and to protect Tamil language from imposition of other languages and lately to strive for State autonomy and federalism at the Centre. The history of the DMK is the history of rational and reformist movement in Tamil Nadu. It is the history of Tamil renaissance and the compilation of continuous struggle and concrete efforts taken by a political organization to preserve the identity of a civilization par excellence.
The launching of the South Indian Liberal Federation, popularly known as Justice Party, in November 1916 by Sir Pitti Thyagarayar and others to promote social, economic and political interests of the non-Brahmins, was the nucleus of the Dravidian movement. Our great leader Thanthai Periyar in 1925 formed the Self Respect Movement which was later transformed into a liberation movement called Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) in 1944, from which the DMK sprouted with a political agenda too and partook in electoral process, so as to win political power to give immediate relief to the people and achieve the ultimate goal of creating an equitable society.
From its inception, the DMK continued to carry the mission set by Periyar in social reforms and dedicated itself to eradicate jointly and individually the social evils through constitutional methods. Anna declared that DMK and DK would function like a double-barrelled gun. Committed to achieve our goal only through fair and legitimate means, Anna trained his cadres to adhere to the three principles dear to him, namely Duty, Dignity and Discipline. The DMK developed into a mass movement and emerged as the ruling party within a short span of 18 years which no political party could achieve.
The people of Tamil Nadu overwhelmingly voted DMK to power in 1967 Assembly election. The DMK won 138 seats to the State Assembly and captured all the 25 Lok Sabha seats it contested thus creating a unique record in Parliamentary election and Anna became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Though the tenure of Anna as Chief Minister was very short, his achievements were far-reaching. Some of his history achievements were incorporating the name of Tamil Nadu in the map of India, legalizing Self-Respect marriages with retrospective effect, introducing the two-language formula (Tamil and English) in schools and conducting the Second World Tamil Conference in Chennai with splendor.
To continue the legacy of Anna's ideals, to develop the DMK organization and to safeguard the interests of Tamils, the burden of leadership of the government and l°ai4y was placed on my shoulders. Under the successive DMK rules since titian, Tamil Nadu reached new heights in various fields. To eradicate poverty and to 'see God in the smile of poor', priority was given to the weaker and downtrodden sections and for the first time by any government, pioneered new welfare schemes, which have now not only come to stay but also improved and developed further into many more and adopted by other parties in different states and the Centre.
Consolidating the DMK's position in the State, we elevated it to the national level and made it one of the decisive forces shaping the destiny of India. The policies of the DMK like reservation, decentralization and devolution of power to the States - are few shining examples for recognition and acceptance by national parties now.
Since the dawn of coalition era of governments at the Centre from the year 1989, every alliance we chose to support and participate as a constituent National Front, United Front, National Democratic Alliance and United Progressive Alliance, has resulted in rich contributions to the pride of Tamil language and to well-being and prosperity of Tamils.
In 1989, the DMK participated in the National Front government formed under the Prime Ministership ofV.P.Singh, a crusader of social justice. On the insistence of DMK, 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in the services of the Government of India was implemented as per the recommendations of the Mandal Commission. The Cauvery River Tribunal was constituted to resolve the Cauvery water dispute. DMK's participation 3n NDA, paved the way for the establishment of secular state and embedding of religious harmony and economic development in India.
"Welcome to Indira's daughter-in-law and victory to India's impeccable daughter" - DMK's slogan reverberated in all eight directions in 2004 Lok Sabha election. The UPA under the guidance of Tmt.Sonia Gandhi formed the government to establish secularism and religious harmony. The world acclaimed the feat of the UPA winning all the 40 seats in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. The DMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu and the UPA at the Centre were returned to power in the 2009 election with added strength. In the last six years, the UPA government scaled historic achievements and Tamil Nadu could realize its long cherished dreams of classical language status for Tamil and Sethu samudram canal project besides a number of benefits in an unprecedented scale.
The status and significance of DMK's contribution to national polity and its constructive role in maintaining political stability at the Centre and in upholding democracy and secularism, have naturally aroused interest of the people all over India and abroad that they want to know firsthand history of the Party and its contributions. It is in this context that this book 'DMK - Rise and Contribution' authored by renowned historian and academic Prof. A.Ramasamy, is most timely and relevant. He has made an exhaustive account of the history of the Dravidian movement and its genuine political party, the DMK. He has taken pains to collect relevant and authentic materials and collate them into this book. His painstaking efforts have to be appreciated and applauded.
Historians can be categorized in two genres, conventional historians who chronicle events mainly around kings and rulers giving least concern for people and society during various periods. The other of genre of progressive historians who look at events and developments of various periods from the prism and perspective of people and society of contemporary times. Prof. Ramasamy belongs to the second category as we observe from his earlier works in English and Tamil. In this book the author extensively deals with the struggles, agitations launched by the Party and conferences in which very large number of cadre and people participated. Moreover the fact that he is not just an academician but also a spirited social activist and a responsible writer lend credibility and objectivity to his writings.
I wholeheartedly wish Prof. A.Ramasamy success in his endeavor and hope this book will gain very wide readership.