Friday, March 18, 2016

Caste and "Honour Killings" in Tamil Nadu: Dravidian Parties are encouraging caste violence

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books One of the many myths surrounding Tamil politics is that the Dravidian Movement launched by the Justice Party and later taken over by E V Ramaswamy Naikkar was a progressive and socially inclusive movement. Nothing is further from the truth. Like the Nazi Movement in Germany, the Dravidian Movement too targeted one ethnic group, the Brahmins for sustained persecution. During the course of nearly a century of Dravidian rule, Brahmins have been virtually eliminated from public life. There is no Brahmin MP elected after R Venkataraman. Even the election of Dr Subramaniam Swamy was due to the support of the AIADMK. The domination of the BC caste which are essentially land owning and socially opposed to SC assertion is reinforced by the politics of Tamil Nadu which is controlled by the Dravidian parties whose social base consists of the Vanniyars, the Mukkolothor, the Yadavas and the like. The Sc communities, the Pariahs and the Pallans do not find space in this coalition. In fact, the SC leaders tend to adopt the same strategy to reach out to their constituents as the mainstream Dravidian parties: adoption of an exaggerated sense of devotion to the imagined community of Tamils and their pristine past and their great classical heritage. By espousing the cause of Tamil Language and its alleged "antiquity"the Dravidian parties succeeded in gaining political legitimacy and electoral acceptance. The same strategy is being adopted by the parties which aim at the protection of SC rights and constitutional status. The killing of the Dalit man, Shankar who had married a Tevar girl has sent shock waves all over Tamil Nadu. This killing comes close on the heels of the murder of Elavarasan who was murdered for marrying a Vanniyar girl in Dharmapuri nearly 2 years back. Another Dalit man, Gokulraj was killed for having an "affair" with a Gounder girl near Tiruchegode in Salem District. After these killings we have the brutal hacking of Shankar by a five member gang which attached the couple after they stepped out of a shopping complex in Tiruppur. the garment capital of Tamil nadu. Apparently the girls family had opposed the marriage but the girl went ahead and married Shankar. In spite of repeated calls to the police no protection was offered to the young couple. There have been several instances of Brahmin girls marrying dalit boys and also other social groups. It is a matter of record that there has not been a single instance of "honour' killing in such cases. While the family m,ay not be very enthusiastic about the marriage, the Brahmin families show much greater tolerance. It is clear that caste violence is generally practiced by the Back ward castes and such acts of violence are generally not investigated. The Dravidian parties by encouraging the ideology of caste are in a state of denial as their politics breeds violence just as the Nazi ideology remained inherently genocidal. Indian liberals are somehow avers to accepting the link between caste based political assertion of identity and honour killing in India.

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