For more than six decades after the independence, the politics of Tamil Nadu has revolved around the Dravidian parties. The primary ideology of Dravidian parties revolves around Atheism, anti-Hinduism, anti-Hindi, and anti-North Indian ideals. However, despite the six decades of state-sponsored assault on Hinduism, the Dravidian parties like DMK have not been able to eliminate Hinduism from the state.
However, with the resurgence of Hinduism and Nationalism across the country in the last few years, the influence of Sanatana Dharma is on a rise in Tamil Nadu once again. BJP has revolved its pitch around Hindu Nationalism in the state, be it through Vel Yatra or other Hindu festivals, and other parties are following the suit.
In the manifesto for the 2021 assembly election, DMK promised to provide assistance of 25,000 rupees to 1 lakh rupees to the people visiting major Hindu temples for pilgrimage. Moreover, DMK promised an allocation of Rs 1000 crore towards the renovation and consecration of Hindu temples.
The party is trying its best to shed its anti-Hindu image. A few weeks ago, Stalin visited the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam near Trichy in Tamil Nadu, much to the annoyance of senior party leaders. DMK has traditionally been known for taking an anti-religion stand and especially ridiculing Hinduism and Hindu Gods. DMK patriarch Karunanidhi has been known in the past for making all kinds of Hindu-hating statements on a regular basis in the past. This is one of the major reasons why the DMK has slowly gone down in popularity.
Moreover, a few months ago, a video surfaced in which Hindu priests were seen reciting shlokas (hymns) at the patriarch’s residence. Apart from this, Stalin’s wife Durga was spotted visiting temples before the Tamil Nadu assembly elections in May 2016.
Both major parties of Tamil Nadu – DMK and AIADMK, originated from Dravida Kazhagam, whose founder EV Ramaswamy Naicker ‘Periyar’ had called god-worshippers fools. The DMK by its very nature believed in staunch atheism and of late, the party’s atheism was more or less centred around anti-Hindu propaganda. Karunanidhi had, again and again, come under the scanner for making objectionable remarks against Hindus.
However, it seems now that both major parties of the state have not only made peace with Hindusim but have also started embracing Sanatana Dharma. AIADMK has ended its conflicts with Hindusim and even donated to Hindu temples from the state treasury, and now DMK, which has been outside the power for the last ten years, is doing the same.
In an attempt to remove the ‘atheist’ tag of the party, Kanimozhi, the DMK candidate from the Thoothukudi constituency chose to launch her campaign from the temple town of Tiruchendur. Moreover, Stalin is making tall remarks in a public rally, saying that he is not against Hinduism and further added that his wife goes to temples and he does not stop her from doing so.
Given the fact that all major parties have not only made peace with Hinduism but their leaders are on temple run, it can be argued that the era of Dravidian politics has ended in Tamil Nadu. The DMK and AIADMK now follow the Dravidian ideology only in the name, and the elections are now more about competitive populism.