How Tamil Nadu’s regional nationalism, ordinary secularism of a plural society in Kerala halted BJP’s march on the South
This is the essence of how regional nationalism defeats Hindu nationalism in Tamil Nadu, or how the DMK defeated the BJP and its allies within the current elections. Last week’s anti-Hindi noise that adopted the DMK victory appeared to have been engineered as a loud follow-up warning to the BJP on the Centre that so long as the state is happy with its socio-cultural identification, the occasion higher watch out. The rhetoric that many upcountry observers, freelance bigots, and the BJP-supporters learn as Tamil versus Hindi was, the truth is, a easy Tamil Nadu model regional versus nationwide pitch.
It was additionally in all probability a message to different southern states, in addition to West Bengal, on easy methods to tackle nationalist politics.
In neighbouring Kerala too, the BJP was decimated with about 85 p.c of the voters rejecting the occasion, however there was no such anti-Hindi sentiment. Neither was there a regional versus nationwide debate. It was a unique story of pushback towards the BJP.
Historically, the insurmountability that the BJP faces in south India arises primarily from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, however their tales of resistance — the politics, the underlying ideologies, and the circumstances — are fully totally different from one another. One is strongly primarily based on self-respect and counter-nationalism whereas the opposite relies on the ordinary secularism of a plural society and age-old Centre-Left politics.
Despite their elementary variations, each are efficient in blocking the rise of the BJP and they’re unlikely to vary for a very long time. What makes them fascinating is that they provide the important thing to a probably profitable technique towards the BJP when the Opposition events throughout the remainder of India are clueless. In truth, West Bengal chief minister Mamta Banerjee’s opposition towards the BJP has components of each.
Tamil Nadu’s regional nationalism stems from its self-respect motion anchored in rationalism and the beliefs of the Dravidian chief EV Ramasamy, popularly generally known as Periyar. Broadly, Periyar’s socio-political philosophy had two traits. One was the idea that religion and faith-based discrimination was elementary to all types of inequality. He was towards Hinduism as he believed that it inherently fostered social discrimination and therefore he requested individuals to reject God, respect themselves and imagine solely in humanity.
Periyar additionally requested individuals to be rational and imagine in science. He burned the Manusmriti and Periyapuranam — a sacred textual content of Saivites breaking Hindu idols and preventing for rights that conflicted with non secular beliefs. This is precisely reverse to the concept of political Hinduism and therefore Periyar’s ideology remains to be the state’s bulwark towards the BJP.
As lengthy as Periyar and the Dravidian politics are on their thoughts, individuals gained’t simply fall for the BJP. Not that they’re non-believers, however they’re educated on easy methods to separate one’s non secular religion from one’s political one and by no means to combine each. Whenever this precept is below menace, all it takes is a reminder to defend their self-respect. Tamil, their language, is a logo of this self-respect and saying no to Hindi is its assertion.
The resistance to Hindi as a socio-political ideology has stood the take a look at of time. The anti-Hindi agitations which started means again within the 1930s continued by the 1940s and the 1960s and so they get revived at any time when there is a menace to their regional satisfaction. The identical sense of regional determine united them on the Sri Lankan Tamil situation, Cauvery, Mullapperiyar water disputes, Jallikkattu, NEET, GST and towards the comment by BJP leader H Raja when he mentioned all statues of Periyar needs to be introduced down when Lenin’s statues were destroyed in Tripura.
This ideological wall is sort of impregnable. In the current Lok Sabha elections, the BJP did attempt to achieve a backdoor entry by taking management of the AIADMK and sugarcoat itself with Dravidianism, but it surely additional helped the DMK as a result of individuals detected the trick and gravitated in the direction of the latter to exhibit their Dravidian affirmation.
In Kerala, it was a textbook resistance by a plural society and Centre-Left politics. The first wall of safety is the state’s demography. Statewide, solely 55 p.c of its inhabitants is Hindu and the remaining are minorities — largely Muslims and Christians — and therefore it is onerous to polarise them as a result of the numbers won’t be adequate.
There are regional variations from this common composition that make the state of affairs just a little conducive for the BJP, however even in such circumstances, the second wall of safety, the Centre-Left politics, mechanically takes priority over every thing else. For occasion, constituencies resembling Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Palakkad, and Thrissur have an above-average composition of Hindus, however even at these locations, the BJP couldn’t drive a victory as a result of when the state’s secular credentials appeared to have been below menace, individuals instinctively backed Centre-Left politics.
Finding an efficient various to the BJP is essential for the survival of democracy in India, but it surely is probably not by one other nationwide occasion, however by regional politics just like that in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. These two are longest operating pilots that different states can study from. Andhra Pradesh, though not as overtly defiant as these two states, can also be a extremely profitable regional instance.
The ongoing battle between Mamata, who has deployed each regional satisfaction and secular politics, and the BJP can be an fascinating case-in-point to study from.
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