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Radical Views
M C Raj
Jayalalithaa has left; It's time to ask, what legacy she has left behind 08 December, 2016
MGR and his bete-noir Jayalalithaa are symbols of how Brahmins can invade Dravidian resistant movements and corrode them from deep inside. This happens with every movement of the oppressed people throughout history.

Today, many dominant caste groups are trying to legitimize the achievements of Jayalalithaa as a ruler of Tamil Nadu by camouflaging the destructive role she and her mentor played in the Dravidian movement of the backward caste people of the South. The Dravidar Kazhagam started with the highly rational and cultural movement of Periyar that rang the death knell of the irrational religious movements based on Brahminism.

It was also simultaneously constructed with linguistic chauvinism of the Dravidians who raised the banner of revolt against the imposition of Hindi on South India. Incidentally, that seems to be the last resistance that the Dravidian parties put up. Riding on the success of that resistance, some leaders of the Dravidian movement were emboldened to pursue the political path. Periyar stuck to his cultural path whereas the political path was assiduously constructed by Annadurai and Karunanidhi.

They used the medium of film to propagate their politics. Karunanidhi was the script writer of the Dravidian resurgence in the political scenario. In the course of time, MGR became a hero of the screen and captured the emotions of the Tamils. He fed into the high emotions of Tamilians cutting at the roots of the rationalism that Periyar assiduously built up. It was a serious mistake on the part of the Tamil leaders to have inducted a Kerala born MGR.

MGR’s political agenda, either conscious or subconscious, became clear when he broke the DMK and started his ADMK. His ever green heroine Jaya lent a solid support to him for reasons other than Dravidianism and politics. Being from Karnataka she did not vouch for the cause of the Tamils. The terrible combination of MGR and Jaya struck at the roots of the rational movement and made Tamil Nadu a maddeningly emotional state. No other state in India can be swayed by emotions as does Tamil Nadu. This swaying has also led Tamil Nadu into an irrational belief in gods and rituals.

Brahminism started croaking from rooftops of its victory over Dravidianism. Tamilians have been defeated wholesomely by this terribly successful Brahmin duo riding on the naivete of the Tamils.

There is no doubt that Jaya was an epitome of success and woman power. So are many Brahmin women in India who have used the techniques of patriarchy to defeat men at their own games. She was an exceptionally courageous and talented woman. Looking at her only as a woman, one would be stunned to see her tremendous capacity and tenacity. But, was she only a woman?

There is no doubt that she has carved a niche for herself and has become an essential part of the galaxy of women leaders India has produced. That she thrived on the freebies in governance clearly indicates that policy based governance mattered much less to her.

Her courage may come in for high praise. But what did she fight for? Can anyone identify a cause for which she fought except fighting the DMK? Can we absolve her of plundering state resources and only giving back part of it in the form of freebies? Can this charity by a state leader absolve her of the culture of theft of state resources? That the DMK also does the same cannot legitimize the daylight robbery by these two parties.

The most unfortunate thing in this churning of emotions is the loss of political rationality in Tamil politics. Tamil Nadu has not shown the courage to fight against corruption under the emotional spell of the Amma phenomenon. She fought against the corrupt DMK regime. But did she become less corrupt in any way?

Jaya has left. It’s time to ask what legacy she has left behind. Tamil Nadu will not see another Jaya in the near future because of the exceptional charisma she wielded. Kamaraj left a legacy. Annadurai left a legacy. Only time will tell whether Jaya has left a legacy. I can only see the crushing of the past legacy under her aegis. She stood tall and Tamil Nadu was dwarfed in the political horizon of India.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
M C Raj is a human rights activist and award-winning author of more than 18 books. He has initiated a national campaign for proportionate electoral system, popularly known as CERI, in India. He is deeply involved in Climate Change issues.
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