“Power does not corrupt people. People corrupt power.”
It began with the establishment of South Indian Welfare Association in 1916, whose name was changed to Dravidar Kazhagam in 1944 by ‘Periyar’ E.V Ramasami. The party was split in two in 1949 due to differences between its leaders – E.V Ramasami and C.N Annadurai. The latter left the party to form the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(DMK), who was later succeeded by M. Karunanidhi. Both parties lobbied hard between 1940’s and 1960’s to form an independent state called Dravida Nadu which failed to find supporters outside of Tamil Nadu. The movement further lost its sheen when the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, that divided the states based on languages was passed.
The DMK stormed to power in 1967, riding high on the wave of agitations against Hindi being declared the national language. Annadurai became DMK’s first Chief Minister and Karunanidhi took over in 1969, after Annadurai’s death. The DMK was the first party to oust the INC in State Assembly elections with a clean victory. Later, M.G Ramachandran(MGR) challenged Karunanidhi’s leadership which led to the birth of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or AIADMK, and thus began the infamous rivalry of the two parties and their struggle for power.
Another factor that has largely shaped the politics in Tamil Nadu is the Indo Aryan-Dravidian divide. Although people living on every large piece of land have their own geographic and cultural differences, this divide is believed to be an ideology propagated by people driven by political motives. There is no valid proof of the two ‘races’ being different. On the contrary, there are various connections between the north and the south Indians that cannot be overlooked. Worshipping of the same deities, pure Sanskrit names of people, similar caste divisions and religious practices, among many, are examples that prove the north and the south were connected by many links and separated by none.
Caste based politics has been on the rise in this state for over a decade. This is not a good sign for a state that is developing fast. The TMMK derives its strength from the muslims and the PMK from the Vanniars, VCK and PT from dalits. SDPI is another party that is popular among the muslim youth.
This election, let us vote against caste divide and for development. If we don’t, who will?