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Anti-Hindu remark returns to haunt Karunanidhi


K S NARAYANAN | New Delhi, April 20, 2013 15:23
Tags : M Karunanidhi | Hindus | Anti-Hindu remark | Thief remark | Madras High Court |

After eleven long years, the Madras High Court has finally issued a notice to the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and DMK supremo Muthuvel Karunanidhi on his alleged controversial statement describing the term 'Hindu' meant 'thief'.

Last week, Justice N Kirubakaran of the Madras High Court issued a notice on a petition seeking registration of a case and fair investigation into the matter.

A criminal complaint was lodged by B R Gouthaman, Director, Vedic Science Research Centre, Mylapore, South Chennai with the city police against the DMK supremo for Hindu bashing statements.

The City Police at first did not register a first information report, then he filed a petition in the high court. On November 17, 2005, the high court asked the police to register a case if a prima facie case is made out.

Accordingly, police registered an FIR on January 6, 2006. However as the Karunanidhi was in power there was little progress in the case so far.

Justice Kirubakaran will hear the matter on April 23.

What did Karunanidhi, the architect of atheism from down south say? "Do Hindus have a religion? Who is a Hindu? If you ask some right thinking people they'll say that Hindu actually means a thief. I do not consider that to be a despicable thief, but a thief who has stolen the hearts," Karunanidhi had stated while addressing a public meeting in 2002 organized by minority outfits to protest the anti-conversion ordinance of the then Jayalalithaa Government. The reference even embarrassed some minority leaders sharing the dais, pointed out media reports from Chennai then.

However, Karunanidhi clarified that he had merely quoted from a Hindi Encyclopedia published from Varanasi. "It had defined a Hindu as cruel, servant and bandit. Nevertheless, I chose to ignore that definition and softened it to mean as thieves of hearts," he said.

There is nothing surprising in the statement made by Karunanidhi. Karunanidhi has not only been carrying the political mantle of DMK founder C N Annadurai but also steered the party to power in the state for five times during 1969-1971, 1971-1976, 1989-1991, 1996-2001 and 2006-2011.

A well known script writer for Tamil Cinema and who has written screen plays for hundreds of plays, films and television serials knows script too well for Dravidian politics.

When Karunanidhi is alleged to have made the statement his party was out of power. We have little idea what prompted him to make the statement? One easy guess is that it was a political frustration and being ruled by arch rival AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa.

Though law will take its own course, DMK's party we must understand has its firm foundation in anti-Brahmin rhetoric and attacking Brahmins and their institutions. Over the years it has acquired other dimensions as well.

In fact the Dravidian Movement has always espoused rhetoric of anti-Sanskrit, anti-Hindi and anti-North as these were associated with Brahmin community. The Dravidian movement and later DMK saw southern Brahmins and Northern Indian as Aryans. At one point of time Dravidian Movement had advocated seceding from India as well.

Often DMK supremo Karunanidhi evokes the anti-Hindu sentiments thus reflecting the core ideology of E V Ramasamy, popularly known as Periyar. In light of Sethusamundram controversy a few years back Karunanidhi had challenged that Lord Ram is not a historical persona but a figment of human imagination.

He not only invited BJP leader L K Advani for a public debate on Ram’s historical status but also – advised him to read Valmiki’s Ramayana carefully.

Karunanidhi's anti-Hindu uttering has deeper roots. Take for instance the Anti-Superstition Conference at Salem, the steel city convened by none other than Periyar during early 70's which saw an effigy of Lord Ram taken out in procession and was beaten by sandals. The effigy was finally publicly burnt. It catapulted DMK to power with 184 seats out of 234 seats in the Tamil Nadu Assembly election and 17 seats out 32 Lok Sabha seats in the General Elections in 1971.

In their opposition to Brahmin community in the state, DMK has turned into anti-Brahmin, anti-Hindi, anti-Sanskrit, anti-North and also anti-Hindu depending on political contingencies of the day.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017