The Dravidian Movement

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The booklet, The Dravidian Movement, is the English version of the inaugural address, delivered in Tamil, by the Hon'ble Professor K. Anbazhagan, the Minister for Education, Government of Tamilnadu, in the University of Madras on 27th April 1998. In course of his long speech, the Hon'ble Minister endeavors to analyses the dynamics of the Dravidian movement. The general theme of his talk is that the Varnashramadharma, which was introduced by the Aryans into the fabric of Tamil society after their migration into the Peninsular India, destroyed all the glory and the splendors of the Dravidian civilization. Hence the downfall of the Tamils and their language. Eventually the ethnic blend that took place between the Aryans and the Dravidians culminated in the transplantation of the Vedic culture in the soil of the Tamil country. As a corollary, the Sanskrit language was given undue importance, replacing the Tamil language in all spheres of life. The pernicious Varnashramadharma, which condemned the Tamils as Shudras and their language as neechapasha (mean language) gave the Brahmin of South India a predominant position in the social hierarchy.

AS a profound intellectual and Tamil savant, the Speaker vividly presents how Tirukkural, a treasure house of entire wisdom of the humanity, portrays the pristine purity of the Dravidian culture, in contrast to the culture that Bhagavad Gita represents. The learned scholar traces the various factors leading to the Tamil revivalism in the beginning of the 20th century and the subsequent political development preceding the birth of the Justice Party under the dynamic leadership of Dr. T.M. Nair and P. Theagaraya Chenttiar in 1916.

The speaker, being a Self-respecter himself, elaborately deals with the principles of radical Dravidian ideology to which Periyar E.V. Ramasamy gave a shape in the name of Self-respect movement. He regrets very much that rationalism which is considered as the cardinal principle of Dravidian movement has been marginalized by the followers though several Dravidian political parties came into existence in the latter decades of the 20th century. He succinctly draws a comparison between the leadership of Periyar and that of Anna. To quote his views, "the thoughts of Periyar were as strong as diamond but the brightness of diamond was found in the heart of Anna". He is of the firm opinion that only because of the great leadership qualities of Anna, the Dravidian movement blossomed out as a movement of the people and as a democratic force. When he took over the reins of administration as the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu the well-cherished ideals of the Dravidian movement begins to bear fruits over which Periyar himself rejoiced.

To substantiate his views the scholar cites evidences which is the unique characteristic feature of this work. Though this monograph is slender in size it contains very valuable information about the Dravidian movement, which hitherto no scholar who has done research on this theme has brought to light. In short, this work is a substantial addition to the literature on Dravidiology.

We owe our sincere gratitude to Dr. P. Rajaraman, Retd. Principal, for his meritorious efforts in translating this speech.


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