After the departure of Telugu Desam Party from the NDA, DMK Chief M. K. Stalin voiced his idea of a sovereign Dravida State. Although this isn’t his original idea, considering DMK was founded on similar ideologies. Stalin not only welcomes this idea of a sovereign nation, but firmly believes that it will happen soon.
The idea of a sovereign nation compromising of all southern states, namely, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, is not new. It was conceptualized by E. V. Ramasamy ‘Periyar’. Periyar focused on Dravida national identity. This was before the linguistic division of states had taken place. Periyar is known for his anti-Brahminical stance and the stories of Aryan subjugation. Periyar used to claim that Aryans (read North Indians) had a secret conspiracy to destroy Tamil identity. His ideas soon turned into hate for the North, which is well visible in his speeches. In the 1940s, in a proposition to re-establish the self-respect of Tamils, he founded his party Dravidar Kazhagan, with separatism and anti-Aryanism as one of the founding principles. He believed that the Aryans were the invaders who pushed Dravidians from their original lands. Today we know this isn’t true as DNA mapping shows both the Dravidians and the Aryans to have similar ancestors.
After Nehru had secessionism declared illegal, the DMK had to drop its ideology of Tamil separatism. While Periyar is loved by many, we must not forget that he wanted to divide India into three pieces for three identities. During the 1940s, he spoke in favour of a trifurcation of India, of dividing the geographical region into Dravida Nadu in the South, Muslim India (Pakistan) in the West, and Aryan Land elsewhere. He was no better than Jinnah, focusing on the needs of the few, while ignoring the bigger picture completely. Ideas such as these, even when brought about for the good of some, fail to address the good for all Indians. The overall development and rise in the quality of life is possible for us only if we stand under a united India. This fact is irrefutable.
Today, Stalin has raised the same idea once again—a demand of cutting off more pieces from the Indian Union. He is looking forward to breaking more of our country. The idea of a sovereign Tamil Nation goes against the idea of a United India. If this cannot be termed as anti-nationalism, then what can?
India is the most diverse country in the world linguistically. It has an unbelievably diverse culture. The countries of Europe separated themselves on regional identities, but soon realized that a union was required. There are over 15 languages spoken in the state of Jharkhand alone. Imagine if each community or tribe demanded a separate nation- there would be no India. Unity paves the way for globalization. Regionalism leads to individualism, and in elemental form, selfishness.
When a Tamil feels cheated because people from Uttar Pradesh pay less taxes but receive more funds, he is focusing on himself, on individualism. This is contradictory to ethical development, according to which, it is the moral duty of the developed to help the underdeveloped. This is the reason why developed countries provide resources, funds and grants to the underdeveloped countries. The developed are not obligated. The developed are not responsible for the underdeveloped country’s poverty, just like a South Indian isn’t responsible for the development of a North Indian. Yet, the developed countries provide resources. Why? A moralistic view of the society warrants you to look beyond your identities.
Regional development is unstable and only global development holds meaning for our species. We as humans need to extend our empathy beyond our line of sight, beyond our cultural and linguistic identities.Focusing on the development of your community is fine as long as you also have empathy for every human on the planet, starting right from your neighbouring communities and states.
It is important to understand that the political leaders who demand a separate nation, demand it only for their political benefits. Did Jinnah really think that the Muslims of British India wouldn’t be safe in a secular country? (Hindus are wiped out in Pakistan, while the Muslim population percentage has increased in India.) He saw the Muslim League failing to obtain power. He saw his dream of power-grabbing dying, which made him voice separatism. Any leader voicing separatism is there for the power grab, nothing else.We must denounce all such leaders without exception. “If you want to divide my motherland, you don’t get my vote”—this should be the reply to all such anti-nationals and tukde-tukde-gangs receiving funds from sources salivating for India to break.
Instead of focusing on the real issues of the land, Stalin is attempting to gain votes through separatism. Politicians before him have tried and lost relevance very quickly and so will he, but we must never let our guards down. Being proud of your cultural identity is a good thing, but it should fall short of your pride for the nation. We must remember- united we stand, divided we fall. Jai Hind.