~By: Saeed Naqvi
Muthuvel Karunanidhi’s passing away has brought back disparate images of my five unlikely years in Chennai as regional editor of the Indian Express. I use the term “Unlikely”, because someone born in Mustafabad, raised in the Urdu ambience of Lucknow would generally be expected to expire from culture shock in the four storeyed office in which every forehead was decorated with vertical, horizontal even circular designs. It was a riot of vermillion, ashen and turmeric. The sight stoked my curiosity but it did not repel me.
Karunanidhi, an atheist like his gurus, E.K. Ramaswamy Periyar and C.A. Annadorai, had an amusing take on “namams”. So long as Brahmins were busy with the shape of Namams on the forehead of the temple elephants, the Dravida movement had nothing to worry about. In his gruff, theatrical voice what he had drawn my attention to was a 200 year old litigation on what should be the shape of the namam on the forehead of the elephant at Kanchipuram (Devarajaswamy) temple. One set of Ayyangars (Vaisnavites) called Vadagalai insisted on the U design. But the Thengalai sect would invite the elephant to walk over them unless it was a Y. If the lower court permitted one design, the opposite side would throw a ginger fit. The case zig zagged from one court to the next, but it was not resolved. Eventually the matter went to the Privy Council.
If both the sides were defying court orders, why were they or their office bearers not sent to jail? As De Gaulle told the cabinet considering sedition charges against Jean Paul Sartre for supporting freedom fighters in Algeria – “No” boomed De Gaulle, “you don’t send Voltaire to jail.”
Likewise, all the judges including the ones on the Madras High Court bench hearing the case in 1976, refrained from punishing religious ardour. How can anyone complain against the UP police for showering rose petals on the rioting kawarias. “Aastha” is “aastha” after all.
For Karunanidhi all of this would be amusing. The things he felt strongly about he proceeded to take up as themes around which he wove his transformational politics. The way Karnanidhi burst upon the political scene in 1953 required political imagination. He pulled together several ideas that were dear to him and which moved the people to their core. The slogans were: my land is sacred to me and no one will appropriate it; my language will not be supplanted by another; capitalists from the north should be resisted if they come with hegemonic intent.
Karnanidhi put his finger on the pulse. When industrialist Ramakrishna Dalmia set up his cement factory, he sought to change the name of the town ito Dalmianagar. Students led by Karunanidhi came out in large numbers. The town reverted to its original name. Kallakudi. Brian Friel wrote Translations, a powerful play on a similar situation in Ireland in the 19thcentury.
This agitation set the scene for the much bigger agitation in 1965 against the imposition of Hindi. Two year later, the DMK came to power and soon abolished the three language formula – Tamil and English would suffice.
It was only proper that he should have found a resting place beside his mentor “Anna”.
Relations between Karunanidhi and M.G. Ramachandran were strained since “Anna’s” death in 1969. Karunanidhi’s much greater organizational control was being undermined by MGR’s cinematic glamour.
I never got to know either well: my inability with Tamil stood in the way. But with journalists MGR was both inaccessible and vindictive, if crossed. Meeting him, however, was both, a gastronomical treat and psychedelic show. The interior of his residence was a series of criss crossing, cavernous passages until you came to what in racing terms is called the “straight”, a 30 feet dimly lit narrow hall, at the end of which, like a deity, sat MGR, with his trademark cap and dark glasses. He gestured that I sit on the sofa beside him. Suddenly a trolley materialized which heralded the beginning of elaborate hospitality, an endless procession of delicacies which served a twin purpose: they titillated the palate and discouraged conversation.
For me, raised on different aesthetics, MGR remained an enigma. And yet, by every yardstick, he had shot into the charismatic stratosphere by projecting an inexplicable persona. Jayalalitha performed the impossible: she amplified charisma which had already reached the nethar regions.
We have seen the mess the AIADMK, the two charismatic leaders mindlessly left behind. DMK, however, has always more real in its politics. Not only was Karunanidhi more intellectually agile, he had his feet firmly on the ground. The cadres are in place. The next line of leadership, (Stalin for instance) have been in the drill for quite some time. But the transition may be problematic.
The MGR-Jayalalitha charisma had obscured the Dravida movement’s earlier anti Hindi, anti north, anti Brahmin edge. In the absence of Karunanidhi’s hardnosed pragmatism, the second line of leadership may fall back on more radical regionalism indeed, parochialism, to score points over each other.
Lal Bahadur Shastri Jayanti 2023: History, Date and Significance
Shastri was a freedom fighter and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. He played an important role in India’s independence movement.
On 2nd October 2023, India also celebrates the birth anniversary of another great leader, Lal Bahadur Shastri. The day holds special significance as India remembers the legacy and life of the man who served as India’s second Prime Minister. Lal bahadur Shastri was born on October 2, 1904 in Mughalsarai, Uttar Pradesh. He is a symbol of dedication and selfless service to the nation.
Shastri was a freedom fighter and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. He played an important role in India’s independence movement. He was sent to the prison several times by the British government. After India got its independence in the year 1947 he served in many important ministerial positions in the government of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was born into a lower middle class family. His father’s name was Sharda Prasad Srivastava who was also a teacher. Ram Dulari Devi was a house wife. He was born with the name Lal Bahadur Srivastava. He earned the title Shastri due to his academic excellence. He was commited to education during his entire life. He went on to become not only a leader but also an academic and an activist.
Lal Bahadur Shastri showed unwavering dedication to the Indian National Congress political party. He served as the second Prime Minister of India from 1964 until his death in 1966. His tenure as Prime Minister marked a significant progress and change in India.
He held many important positions which included Minister of External Affairs and Railways. His tenure had many notable achievements which included signing of the Tashkent Agreement. The Tashkent aimed to ease tensions between India and Pakistan.
This diplomatic respect earned him respect on the global arena. Lal Bahadur Shastri gave the slogan Jai Jawan Jai Kisan which means hail the soldier and hail the Farmer. The slogan means emphasizes on the vital contributions of farmers and soldiers to the country’s prosperity.
Rahul Gandhi visits Amritsar, offers sewa at Golden Temple
Rahul Gandhi went to Amritsar for personal and spiritual visit, as per Punjab Congress leader.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited to the Punjab’s Golden Temple today. Rahul Gandhi participated in kar sewa after making prayers at the Golden Temple. He was observed washing dishes alongside other party members and volunteers from the Gurudwara.
He will stay the night in the city, according to a representative of Congress.
Let’s respect his privacy because this is a personal and spiritual visit from him. Request that none of the party’s employees show up in person for this visit. Amarinder Singh Raja Waring, the head of the Punjab Congress, wrote earlier in the day on X, formerly known as Twitter. He also added, you all can express your support in spirit and see him the next time.
The arrest of MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira has caused a rift between the Congress and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is why Rahul Gandhi is in Amritsar.
Sukhpal Singh Khaira, a Congress leader, was detained by the Punjab police last week on suspicion of taking part in money laundering and narcotics trafficking.
The Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and the AAP have both been called thirsty for blood by the Congress leader. He said, he won’t be shocked if he gets me physically eliminated as well.
According to the AAP government, Khaira was arrested as a result of fresh evidence in a 2015 case.
The national leadership of the AAP and the Congress may support the INDIA alliance, but Khaira’s arrest has exposed regional rivalries that may make it challenging for the two to cooperate.
The release of the video coincides with Rahul Gandhi expanding his network of supporters in advance of the Lok Sabha elections. The Congress leader was recently spotted performing the part of a farmer and engaging in crop transplantation. Later, he tried the coolie and even tried his hand at carrying passengers baggage on his head. Most recently, he even gave carpentry a try as well.
Bihar government releases caste survey report, 27% backward classes, 36% extremely backward classes
Union Minister Giriraj Singh mentioned that the caste census will do nothing more than spreading confusion among the poor and public of the state.
Nitish Kumar led Bihar government released a caste-based survey report on Monday. The report indicated that 36 per cent of the state’s population are from Extremely Backward Classes, 27.1 percent are from Backward Classes, 19.7 per cent are from Scheduled Castes and 1.7 per cent are from Scheduled Tribes. The general population accounts for 15.5 per cent.
Among the OBCs, Yadavs comprise 14.26% of the surveyed population, Kushwaha 4.27% and Kurmi 2.87%. The release of the caste based survey data comes at a time when the Supreme Court continues to hear petitions challenging a Patna High Court’s judgement that paved the way for this controversial caste-based headcount.
Speaking about the caste survey report, Union Minister Giriraj Singh mentioned that the caste census will do nothing more than spreading confusion among the poor and public of the state. He added that the Bihar government should have given a report card that Nitish Kumar ruled the state fr 18 years and Lalu Yadav ruled the state for 15 years but they did not develop the state.
Earlier today Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said he plans to call all nine parties that are part of the ruling coalition, including Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, to discuss next steps, which could include dealing with decisions to increase OBC quotas at 27 per cent.
Reports said that around 2.64 lakh enumerators fanned out across the state, documenting the details of 29 million registered households on 17 socio-economic criteria, ranging from employment, education, marital status, land holding and property ownership and caste. Enumerators will have to choose between 214 pre-registered castes that have been allotted to individual codes.