We need a ground to fight the battle for our rights – politically. No doubt or second thought about that. We have been victims for decades together for politicians of any party without discrimination. While we are the majority of the people in Tamil Nadu on the whole, the fact that is frightening and embarrassing is that no power is vested in Devendrar community. And what every Devendrar takes to their hearts and remember is that wee need a political party that organises our scattered community, fights for our rights, and voices our indomitable presence, and that we have to grab the political power without which we remain to be what are now. Until or unless we make our voice heard and our presence and influence felt in the political arena, our neglected keeps on being a neglected one. Then what is to be done? Stop being ladders and start becoming leaders, and what should be done now must be done now.
It becomes inevitable to have at least a slight idea about the political parties to understand which party on the whole is really is for Dalits, particularly for Devendrars. Congress and Bharatiya Janata party in the national level and DMK and ADMK in the state level have been the prominent and omnipotent parties, ruling alternatively and respectively. Communist parties – both Marxist and Indian, otherwise simply known as right and left – ‘seemed’ to have grown the third largest national level party, and DMDK in the state level. Nothing harm in that. But what we Devendrars should know – and of course it is time to know – is what are the political privileges we Devendrars are given and are enjoying. The answer will be a simple” no or nothing”.
Coming first to national-level parties, congress knows the art of exploiting the Dalits for its sake and continues to caste the impression of a party that strives to the rights of Dalits and minorities. A century-old party started by an English man names A.O.Hume under the leadership of an Italian women, Sonia Gandhi, it indirectly involves in anti-Dalit campaign, but under the banner of the only sole supporting party of Dalits and minorities. Let us leave this as the congress disguises to be. But how many of us know that the congress-led government presented an act in the parliament to be passed in the last December, which, though under the pretext of providing Dalits quota in employment, really prevents us from enjoying the existing ones. [For more details, read the article written by Ravi Kumar MLA in Junior Vikatan under the title “New Untouchability of congress Government.] How many Devendrars or Dalits on the whole are the central ministers in the present Congress government? Above all, does the Congress have the courage to announce a Dalit for the prime ministerial candidature?
Next national party of importance is Bharathiya Janatha Party, which is synonymous with Brahmins Janata party. It is because everyone with a little knowledge about politics knows that it is a party for Brahmins. Thought it seems to work with the intention of uniting all Hindus without discrimination of castes, it is pellucid from the facts of the past that it is the putting upper-caste Hindus alone, notable Brahmins, in the political forefront. Bangaru Lakshman might be an exception for this, and this is because to get rid of the image of Brahmins’ party. Above all, the fact that it bears the stamp of a party that supports upper-caste Hindus, particularly Brahmins, is not without a valid reason. Who can forget the voices during its regime between 1999 and 2004 for repealing the acts such PCR that alone serves as a fort to all Dalits of every corner of the nation to at least protect from the upper-caste Hindus. Such is the stand of BJP at the national level. Does it have the gut to at least utter a name with Dalit background for the prime ministerial candidate?
Communist party of India and Marxist deserves not that much mention as the above-discussed two parties, as it with its chameleon-like characters does everything just for its political identity and business. Taking the issues that are sometimes not concerned with them, coming to streets for agitations and blowing them out of proportion are what their meanings of doing politics. What they have achieved with issues in places like Utthapuram? No doubt, they will be at wherever there are problems for Dalits) and sometimes creating and/or being the problems themselves) and take them at their hands for agitations, but just for making into votes. We Devendrars should awake, arise and stop being victims for such parties.
Of the total six parties at the national level so far, I have discussed in brief the three parties in the news often. Next to the national-level parties gaining importance are the state-level parties, particularly the three – DMK, ADMK and DMDK – which except DMDK are ruling the state alternatively from 1967. DMK supermo Kalaigner K. Karunanidhi is indeed the Chanakya of the second half of the 20th and the 21the centuries. Personified himself as the saver of Tamil race all over the world, he knows the art of dividing the people and ruling the state. Apart from becoming the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for five times, what he has done for the welfare of Devendrars so far. Being famous as the builder of memorials (Manimandapams), why he has not even thought of erecting one for Immanuel Sekaran yet. M.K.Stalin, the chief ministerial candidate of DMK, has visited Sivaganga to pay homage Muthuramalinga Devar at Devar Jeyanthi, but not to Immanuel Sekaran. Paramakudi is not located within the demarcation of Tamil Nadu. And why it is so? Of the total 96 MLAs representing DMK, how many Devendrars are being the ministers under the regime of Karunanidhi. Let us leave the number in the ministry and come to at least how many Devendrars are holding the post of district secretaryship. What and why happens this so despite the fact we are the majority of people in Tamil Nadu? Simply this is because not of the fate, but of the fact we are divided politically, geographically (by geographically, I mean we are scattered in several parts) and other factors, and because of the lack of efficient leadership among us.
There is no need to give much importance to AIADMK, as it is, as everyone knows, a Brahmin-led party with the background of Devars. Be that as it may be. Owing to the fact that AIADMK is a party of/for Devar community, it is embarrassing to note that of the total 41 constituencies reserved for Dalits, 23 have been won by the AIADMK. But what is the representation the party has given for Dalits in general and Devendrars in particular? Casting a single vote from our race to AIADMK is wittingly wasting it.
Another party of growing importance is DMDK, owned by the actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth, his Premalatha and his nephew L.K.Sutheesh. A nayakkar party under the guise of the party for all, it is all the way to grab the power. It is vivid form the recent events in certain districts like Nagercoil that it becomes the party dominated by the people belonged to its supermo’s caste. Above all, Vijayakanth could find time and energy to pay flowery homage Muthuramlinga Devar at his party office, but for Immanuel Sekaran, he couldn’t. To nip such party in the bud is prevention better than cure.
The rest of the state-level parties that deserve mentioning in a line are the Vanniyar-led PMK under the head of Dr. Ramadoss and the nayakkar Vaiko’s MDMK, a party that is in all the way to exist only in name without men.
Then the question may rise naturally in the minds of us that why should not take Puthiya Tamizhagam headed by a Devendrar Dr.Krishnasamy into our consideration. The answer for it is to seek and to be in a party that at any cost should not loose, instead voice, our identity. How can a Devendrar of the bear Dr.Krishnasamy’s speech praising the fasting of the Devar’s party supermo, Jeyalalitha on 9 March, 2009 on Tamil’s issue in Srilanka? What has the party sacrificed for the upliftment and benefits of Devendrars so far? Switching over parties for electoral alliance just for the sake of seats will not do any particular good to Devendrars. Krishnasamy should no longer be an icon of representing Devendrars and must not be too. It is no use blaming other political parties, if the party that calls itself the representation of Devendrars in the political arena continues to fail to fight for our rights and begs parties for seats. No wonder, he himself and his party lost the elections of 2001.
I am clear that you will get confused at the end of reading this essay about what party, then, should Devendrars be in and vote, which, considering the length of the essay, I intend to discuss in the next.