Tamil Nadu Politics: Cancerous Church Eats into Dravidian Parties - II
by Radha Rajan on 31 Mar 2011 56 Comments

Non-Brahmin = Anti-Brahmin = Separatism 

While the political trajectory of Dravidian anti-Hindu politics is now better understood, what has so far escaped the notice of political observers and commentators is the picture that emerges when we connect the dots. First, the growing numbers of break-away heresies within the Dravidian fold –


Justice Party 1916 (non-Brahmin zamindars and forward castes) – Self Respect Movement 1925Dravidar Kazhagam 1944 (EV Ramaswami Naicker) – Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 1949 (CN Annadurai, Karunanidhi) – All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 1972 (MG Ramachandran, Jayalalithaa). For the moment, all latter-day heresies which followed the AIADMK in quick succession, including Tamil Muslim and Tamil Christian heresies are left out of the reckoning.


The new heresy around the cult of MG Ramachandran dealt a near-mortal blow to the hitherto unchallenged heresy, the DMK. From 1972 when the AIADMK (ADMK as it was then called) was formed until today, the DMK and AIADMK have successfully played the Bad cop/Good cop routine with the Hindus of TN. The rise of the DMK was marked by physical abuse of Brahmins in public spaces –

-        Cutting off their sacred thread

-        Dragging Brahmin men by their tufts and in several instances even cutting off their tuft (apocryphal stories about Chanakya and the evil Dhananand tell us how King Dhananand gave Chanakya the choice between death and cutting off his Brahminic tuft)

-        Obscene and vulgar depiction of Brahmin men and even women, their customs, traditions and their way of life in Tamil films

-        Public calls to make Brahmin women the common property of non-Brahmin men

-        Increasing shrill calls for seceding from the Indian Union and the beginning of usage of political phrases Tamil People and Tamil Nation which found prompt echo and support in American/Western think tanks and their foreign policy jargon


MGR’s AIADMK departed marginally from what was widely recognized as Dravidian politics in that MGR did not encourage public humiliation and physical abuse of Brahmins; but significantly he did not depart even minimally from the anti-Brahmin and anti-Hindu Dravidian tenets and policies. Nevertheless, the good cop role assumed by MGR triggered a frenzy of covert political activity by the Church in neighbouring Sri Lanka.


Neither the LTTE, nor demands by other splinter Tamil separatist groups for the secessionist Christian state of Tamil Eelam were accidents of history.


The Church, notwithstanding its much splintered body, is one as regards the ultimate political objective; and the Church Hierarchy comprising its Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Pastors, monks, nuns and Christian laity constitute the army of Christ; each segment of the army working within different sections of the target society and nation without losing sight of the goal – Church-control of communities leading to Church-control of the polity followed by Church-control of the state, as in government. 


Conquest of nations by the sword or by the cancer called religious conversion ever remains the sole objective of the Church. When the Church’s dream of Dravidasthan comprising the whole of South India fragmented into Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the Church changed tracks and began to work on the notion of Tamil Nation comprising the whole of Tamil Nadu in India and the North and East of Sri Lanka.


The notion of Tamil People had already been sowed by the Church both in India and in Sri Lanka and had taken root. The Church’s most promising offspring, the violence-prone DMK, had been well groomed as the vehicle for Tamil People/Tamil Nation in India; it was time to deliver a similar creature in Sri Lanka and the emergence of MG Ramachandran in Tamil Nadu provided the perfect backdrop to unveil the Sri Lankan chapter of the Tamil Nation.      


Born in a small town near Kandy in Sri Lanka to immigrant parents from Kerala, MGR’s Sri Lanka connection gave the Tamil Nation idea a personal, emotional edge which ultimately and totally unexpectedly, destroyed the movement, its terrorist vehicle and its sponsors in India; the idea of Tamil Nation itself suffered a serious setback.


At the time of independence in 1948, a peculiar situation prevailed in Sri Lanka where the politically assertive section both among the Sinhala and Tamil people were Christians, a situation which continues till the present day. This was the result of the almost total control of education and state patronage extended to Christian missionary schools and colleges by all colonial powers – Portuguese, Dutch and then the British.


Church-run schools, which received colonial state patronage and government funds, provided education in English as compared to the education in the vernacular languages in Sinhala and Tamil provided by temples and Buddhist monasteries. English education was mandatory for admission to institutions of higher learning which in turn led to employment in government institutions.


The Church in Sri Lanka, in an extension of its rice-bowl conversion in Africa, made admission to their schools and colleges conditional upon religious conversion to Christianity in what may be termed blackboard conversion. The Church in South India targeted the Tamil Nadar community similarly; thus within the same family those who opted to send their children to missionary schools converted to Christianity and were given alien foreign sounding Christian names.


Not surprisingly, in the early years of the twentieth century only those Sri Lankans - Sinhala and Tamil - who were English-educated were employed by the British administration in government jobs and the same section emerged as frontrunners in the country’s polity too. Bandaranaike, Jayawardene, Lakshman Kadirgamar, Chelvanayakam and even Ranasinghe Premadasa, son of Richard Ranasinghe, were all Christians. The Church had never had it so good; except that the notion of Tamil People which the Church had sown in society rebounded on the Church in an unexpected turn of events.


While the Church fabricated the Tamil People/Tamil Nation fiction in India vis-à-vis the Brahmins, its work to plant the cancerous cell in Sri Lanka was made easier because the Tamil language and its culture/people had to be presented as being separate only vis-à-vis the Sinhala language and its culture/people. The fact that both the Sinhala speaking people and the Tamil speaking people were civilisationally, culturally and religiously bound to Hinduism and bound by the umbilical cord to the Hindu bhumi in equal measure was pushed to the margins of their collective consciousness; and identity of language was privileged over civilisational identity.


The Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka, like the non-Brahmins of Tamil Nadu, was a willing customer for Church peddled separatism.


The Church’s invidious propaganda about the separateness of Tamil People from the nationhood of Sri Lanka and about Tamil People being a distinct nationality with a right to their own territory not only worked like cancer in the Tamil psyche, but also reactively in the Sinhala psyche. A brief look at Sri Lanka’s demography is in order to understand how and why the Church’s invidious propaganda succeeded in that country.


Sri Lanka’s demography as per language –

Sinhala                        - 74%

Tamil                          - 12.6%

Tamil of Indian origin           - 5.19% [2]


Religious demography –

Buddhism       - 70%

Hinduism        - 15%

Islam              - 7.5%

Christianity     - 7.5%


Sinhala speaking people are both Buddhists and Christians; Tamil speaking people are Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Except for a negligible percentage of Moors who are Muslims, the majority of Sri Lanka’s Muslims are Tamil-speaking just as all Sri Lanka’s Buddhists are Sinhala-speaking.


After independence in 1948, in a move to assert the Sinhala identity of the nation and stem the trend of what the Buddhist clergy thought was disproportionate numbers of Tamil-speaking people (mostly Tamil Christians and negligible numbers of forward caste Tamil Hindus who did not need the Church’s missionary charity for higher education) in government employment, administration and high-end professions including politics, which the Buddhist clergy correctly attributed to Church-run English medium schools and colleges, the Buddhist clergy prevailed upon the Sri Lankan government to nationalize all educational institutions, impart education in the vernacular languages, and accord primacy once again to Pirivenas or educational institutions run by Buddhist monasteries.


Although the move to nationalize Sri Lanka’s education was formalized only in 1961, the trend towards non-missionary Sinhala and Tamil vernacular schools had already begun in the 1930s; but the government move to nationalize education in 1961 dealt a near-mortal blow to Christian evangelization and religious conversion when the most potent instrument for religious conversion, Church-funded and administered missionary schools and colleges were de-fanged, and unseated from their positions of preeminence. The front-end of the assembly line which was delivering Sinhala and Tamil Christian political leaders at the other end had been permanently disabled, dealing a terrible blow to the Church agenda to control the government.


The Church’s Tamil People/Tamil Nation boomerang turned around and began to fly back at the Church. The Church trained its guns on the Buddhist clergy again, this time by sharpening the division between the Sinhala majority and Tamil minority by taking recourse to extremism in the form of the LTTE. Needless to say, the top leadership of the LTTE was Christian with notional Hindus in the LTTE cadre playing useful idiots to fulfill the Church agenda.


The time had come to give shape to the Sri Lankan vehicle for Tamil separatism to match the rise and growth of the DMK in Tamil Nadu. The measures that the Church took to realize the Christian state of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka and in Tamil Nadu were always well calibrated and in tune with events in both countries. The LTTE burst upon the political scene in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu in 1975; it follows that preparation for the launch must have started at least a few years earlier.


The success of the Church propaganda that the Tamil speaking people of Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu were a separate nationality can be gauged from the fact that while the Buddhist clergy, reacting strongly to Tamil separatism which had reared its head even before independence in 1948, wanted to push the Tamil speaking people of Sri Lanka to the margins of national life, it remained sanguine to the fact that every President that the country elected was Christian; Sinhala Christian. The Buddhist clergy was prepared to accommodate an Abrahamic religion into its conception of Sinhala nationalism, while refusing to reach out to the civilisationally related Tamil Hindus who constituted 15% of the population.


Pitting brother against brother is classic Abrahamic/Christian war tactics going back to the Old Testament.


Christians who constitute 7.5% of the population were tactically distributed among the 74% Sinhala, 12.6 % Tamil and 5.19% Indian Tamil populace, thus giving the Church a powerful leverage among all sections of the language divide.


The Sinhala-Buddhist Tamil-Hindu animosity had very little to do with religion while it had everything to do with language. The Sinhala-Buddhists and Tamil-Hindus alike failed to see the cancerous cell called the Sinhala Christian and Tamil Christian quietly embedded in their respective blood streams and who were the sole beneficiary from the internecine war between the Sinhala and Tamil speaking people of Sri Lanka.


The rise of MGR and the formation of the AIADMK coincided not only with the rise and emergence of the LTTE in Sri Lanka, but also with the rise and emergence of the Sri Lankan communist party, the Janatha Vimukthi Perumuna (JVP). Considering the role of the Church behind the Maoists of Orissa and Nepal, it is tempting to wonder if the Church may not have had a hand in the creation of this new front with cadres drawn equally from among the economically backward Tamil and Sinhala speaking people in its early years. What cannot also be denied is that the Church has always adroitly turned every event, every phenomenon to its advantage. 


The emergence of MGR, the return of Indira Gandhi in 1980 as Prime Minister, the rise of the LTTE and the rise of the JVP, proved to be a direct and four-pronged attack against the Sri Lankan government and an indirect attack against the primacy and power of the island’s Buddhist clergy. The Church was the only beneficiary of the three decades long civil war which tore Sri Lanka apart and which was ended with the determined extermination of the LTTE in 2010. Not only is the Church continuing to harvest Tamil souls in Sri Lanka, but is also harvesting souls in Tamil Nadu’s refugee camps. The protracted civil war in Sri Lanka provided the Church with a bountiful harvest.


Indians outside Tamil Nadu remember the dismissal of the DMK government by Prime Minister Chandrashekhar in 1991. What is almost totally unknown is that the reviled LTTE was armed and trained by the Tamil Nadu and Indian governments in camps set up in Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka where India’s armed forces gave the LTTE full military training including in guerilla warfare.


The well-armed and trained LTTE cadre was then sent into Sri Lanka as deadly terrorists in a move which many foreign affairs experts believe was intended by Indira Gandhi and MGR acting in tandem to force the Sri Lankan government to the negotiating table and draft an equitable national constitution which would protect and guarantee equal rights for the Tamil speaking minority community.


While MGR who became Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in 1977 was playing competing Dravidian politics with the defeated DMK around the core issue of Tamil People/Tamil Nation, for Indira Gandhi, who felt the urgent need to assert her strong-man image which suffered a setback in the electoral defeat in 1977, it was more a move to re-assert her one-woman regional super power status which the creation of Bangladesh had given her in 1971.


Indira Gandhi and MG Ramachandran may have acted for two entirely different reasons when they set up camps in Tamil Nadu and other parts of India to train, arm and finance the LTTE, but they created a Bhasmaasura who turned upon the very people who made the LTTE invincible against the Sri Lankan government in the first place. Indira Gandhi was playing with secessionist fire at home and abroad – she created Bhindranwale and the problem of Khalistan and she created the problem of the LTTE and Tamil Eelam – fires which would soon engulf India, herself and her family.


It was not in the capacity of any state government in TN to militarily arm and train the LTTE without the tacit support and active involvement of the central government. Whoever was advising Indira Gandhi on foreign affairs did not have the nation’s interests in mind, that much is obvious when one retrospectively analyses the events of the critical 1970 and 1980s decade. It is not clear why Indira Gandhi and MGR privileged the LTTE over other Tamil political groups, parties and formations, but it was this privileging and the money, arms and training provided to the LTTE which gave LTTE the brute power and the motive to decimate the leadership and cadre of all other Tamil groups so it could emerge as the sole representative of the Tamil-speaking people of Sri Lanka.


While the frightening growth of the LTTE gave the Tamil secessionist movement in Sri Lanka a phenomenal impetus, it also caused an equally strong reaction from India and the Sri Lankan government. The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi brought to an immediate and full stop all help rendered so far to the LTTE; it also pushed the Sri Lankan government to equip its own army to deal with the LTTE.


Indira Gandhi’s assassination and the subsequent weakening of the Congress party ushered in the era of coalition politics and the huge returns accruing from participation in government in Delhi, and the compulsions of coalition politics, not only tamed the two major Dravidian parties into a semblance of nationalism, but effectively turned Tamil Nadu away not only from the path of secessionism it had been treading for long under the Dravidian parties, but also turned it away from the LTTE.


The Church had to regroup and formulate a new war strategy.


The rise of Brahmin Jayalalithaa within the ranks of the AIADMK and her eventual coronation as Gen. Secretary which shook the very foundations of Dravidian politics, the rise of the BJP in national politics, the fading lure of the idea of secessionist Tamil Eelam and weakening prospects of realizing it even within Tamil Nadu, and the new trend in Indian politics which catapulted both the DMK and the AIADMK to Delhi imposing upon them the primacy of national interests over interests of regional political parties, forced the Church to forge new strategies and lay a new road towards its objective of carving the Christian state of Tamil Eelam.


The following trends emerged in Tamil Nadu more or less simultaneously from around the mid 1990s decade and continues till the present –


-        The Church began to invest in television news channels, schools of journalism and mass communication; the Church also pushed for creating the department of human rights in Tamil Nadu colleges and universities

-        Foreign governments, notably the UK and US through DFID and USAID began to fund NGOs in India, primarily Christian NGOs

-        Foreign Christian funding agencies like World Vision, Action Aid and agencies from Germany, France and the Netherlands began to fund churches and Christian NGOs

-        Tamil Nadu is the largest recipient of foreign funds

-        The Church began to fund television soap operas and also financed Tamil films

-        Christians are entering the Tamil Nadu film industry and the small screen in almost every area – as directors, producers, actors and music directors

-        Tamil films and television Tamil serials routinely make reference to Tamil People and Tamil Nation

-        The Church is buying hundreds of acres of land across Tamil Nadu; this is visible even in overcrowded Chennai

-        Christians are cornering a major chunk of the reservation quota in admission to institutions of higher learning and also in government jobs; there are growing numbers of Christian students in engineering, medical and law colleges and universities

-        Churches and prayer houses are being built in almost every street in Chennai and close to every Hindu temple, big and small

-        Churches are coming up even in the holiest of holy Hindu temple towns and they are being allowed by Dravidian parties to come up close to temples

-        Foreign Christian missionaries from America, Malaysia and South Korea have a free run of the streets in Chennai

-        Instigating fisher-folk communities is the Church’s latest ploy [3]


Every penny and paisa that the Church spends, it spends as investment towards realizing its core objective – control of communities leading to control of polity leading ultimately to control of government culminating in bloody or bloodless conquest of territory. The path to this objective is religious conversion; what was achieved solely through enculturation in the 16th and 17th centuries, through the Church’s missionary educational and medical institutions in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries is now being achieved through NGOs, through an aggressive political discourse in religious freedom and human rights which always work only to the Church’s advantage to facilitate penetration, conversion and conquest.


Investing in political parties is the Church’s latest venture in Tamil Nadu. The Church’s investment, besides the time-tested and highly successful strategy of planting Christians in important ruling families through the love angle or as close confidants to politicians, is three-pronged –


-        Donate liberally and in proportion to expected returns to the two largest Dravidian parties

-        Besides generous donations, also get Christians to become members of every big and small political party – DMK, AIADMK, MDMK, PMK, DMDK so that these parties, with an eye on the Christian votebank are compelled to nominate Christians as office bearers at state and district levels

-        Start new Tamil extremist parties and create more and more Tamil chauvinist outfits to make shrill noises for Tamil People/Tamil Nation, for the LTTE, against the Sri Lankan government, against the central government, even against judges of the High Court and Supreme Court, for human rights, against law-enforcing agencies like police and army; in effect create enough noise and generate enough heat to provoke uncooperative and weak governments to either use force or hopefully to surrender to extremist demands


The ploy has succeeded just as every Church ploy has succeeded because the Church always preys upon vulnerability, ambition, hubris and greed. The state government-central government partnership had yielded phenomenal results for the Christian state of Tamil Eelam but that had ended with Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. Temptations of sharing power in New Delhi had weakened even the verbal call and support for Eelam. The Church’s next move was to weaken the two largest Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu by making them dependant upon smaller parties for survival.


The Church was the only force which saw the advantages of weakening national, nationalist and large regional parties. Tamil Nadu politics had been centered around only two poles for close to half a century. A strong DMK and AIADMK were assets to both the Congress and the BJP not only in state elections but also in national elections. The Church saw how regional parties with no support outside of their states could still influence national policies and it applied the rule with great foresight in Tamil Nadu.


As government support for the LTTE ended and the vehicle was destroyed in Sri Lanka, the Church had to keep the idea of Tamil People/Tamil Nation alive in Tamil Nadu. Even as the Church donated liberally to both the DMK and AIADMK, making both look like subservient agents of the Church, the Church punished both by eating into their varied constituencies through the innumerable splinter parties which mushroomed to coincide with waning government support and interest in Tamil Eelam.


The two largest Dravidian parties were themselves made vulnerable to intra-state coalition politics which diminished their value and leverage in New Delhi. Neither the Congress nor the BJP were strong enough to accommodate the baggage which now came along with the DMK and the AIADMK in the form of their state coalition partners.


The Congress and the BJP would now be subject to pressures not only from Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa but also from Vaiko, Thol Thirumavalavan and Ramdoss; not to speak of the good reverend Father Jegath Gaspar Raj, the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam and the Indian Christian Front. Muslims and Christians not only form political parties which are overtly Christian and Muslim, but also spread themselves tactically in all important political parties for leverage.


The DMK and AIADMK must both realize that only when Tamil Nadu’s non-Brahmin communities, when coastal villages and communities remain Hindu, their own electoral constituencies will remain with them. If they allow Christian donation to their parties to pressure their policies, if they allow foreign money to continue to come on the scale it is now coming into Tamil Nadu, inevitably, inexorably, they will be weakened because the first rule in any business is that all investments must yield profit.


The Church is not going to invest money into their parties and the state only to have Karunanidhi and family, Jayalalithaa and baggage to enjoy the fruits of power. The Church wants the whole of Tamil Nadu and a large part of Sri Lanka. If the DMK, AIADMK and the BJP do not see this even now, it may well spell their doom. The Congress in Tamil Nadu is recruiting Christians into the party at all levels – educated, poorly educated, as leaders and as cadre.


If because the DMK and AIADMK have already been weakened and if because the BJP in Tamil Nadu is still clueless about what is happening in the state, the Congress resurrects itself, it will resurrect as a Christian party whose Christian content will not be immediately seen or felt. It will either wear an encultured face like it wears now in Delhi and wore in Andhra Pradesh under Y Samuel Rajasekhar Reddy or it may even opt for a temporary idiot Hindu face.


Sri Lanka’s Tamil Hindus can be protected and Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu protected from the predatory Church only if India’s polity, Tamil Nadu’s polity and the Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka wake up to the Church’s agenda for India, Sri Lanka and Asia.





2] Indian Tamil people are indentured labour from the erstwhile Madras presidency forcibly transported to Sri Lanka to work in British owned tea-estates.


3] South of Cuddalore every fishing hamlet along Tamil Nadu’s vast coastline is almost 100% Christian. The Church wants fisher-folk to be given the status of Scheduled Tribes where even Christian converts are eligible for reservation quota; and that is why the Church is not asking for Scheduled Caste status. The Church is playing a covert role in getting Tamil Nadu’s fishermen to regularly intrude into Sri Lankan waters, not only to pressure the state government and New Delhi to confront the Sri Lankan government, but also to provoke the Sri Lankan government into using force to deal with trespassing fishermen. The idea is to vitiate Tamil Nadu/India-Sri Lanka relations.




The author is Editor, www.vigilonline.com

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