MK Stalin has once again brought up the recurring idea of forming a new nation with the five southern states. “Dravida Nadu” he calls it. The proponents of this Dravida Nadu present rather confused explanations for the segregation from India. Let us organise their implausible suggestions into two arguments:
1) The “Dravidian identity” that all south Indian states supposedly share.
2) How the rest of India ‘enjoys the massive taxes paid by southern states’.
But to understand this notion of “Dravida Nadu”, we must know the history of Dravidian politics. It all began with the Justice Party in 1916. This party fundamentally stood for non-Brahmins (which to them meant “Dravidians”) to abandon the “superstitious” Vedic culture practised by these “North Indian outsiders” and stay true to their origins by adopting the rational Dravidian thought.
Brahmins were labelled as “Aryan colonialists” and very often assaulted. The central theme to Dravidianism, in their eyes, was atheism and Dravidian culture was the backbone of the entire movement. This movement got stronger by the day. At one point in 1937, the Congress government decided to make Hindi compulsory, which triggered anger because the party felt that “Aryans were trying to colonise them again” and that marked the beginning of the Dravida Nadu country movement.
In fact, EP Ramaswamy (famously called Periyar), asked for help from Mohammad Ali Jinnah to get a separate country. Jinnah only had sympathies to offer with his own different motives. In simple words, he presented none of the support that Ramaswamy hoped for but a nominal support. Eventually, by 1962, the Dravida Nadu movement withered away because of growing Sino-Indian tensions and a constitutional amendment, invalidating any advocacy of secessionism (supporting the withdrawal from the Indian state).
Yet, time and again, the DMK (which is an offspring of the Justice Party), found themselves bringing it up depending on the opportunity they found. As the AIADMK were very subtle with the Dravidian notion, the DMK has constantly brought it up to uphold their own stance, and taunt their counterparts for “forgetting Dravidianism”.
Obviously, this love for “Dravidian culture” stems from the Aryan Invasion theory. Therefore, do not forget that the Aryan Invasion theory began only as a linguistic concept in the early eighteen hundreds, with no mention of culture, or race, or identity. That then became a literary division, which, much later became a very contradictory racial theory and the latest shape it has taken after being thrown into the mixer, is a political tool that suggests there is a different language, writing, culture, religion and therefore identity. But eventually, the historical, scientific and genetic evidence against the theory got so strong, that even the most vocal supporters and historians (the likes of Romila Thapar) had to call the bluff. Yet, we have an MK Stalin cheerleading his paradise of Dravida Nadu, where he becomes the “founding father of a country” and is treated like Jinnah is in Pakistan.
But whether you speak Tamil, Punjabi, Marathi, Assamese or Hindi, your identity is Indian in terms of both, genetics and principle; and that stands no matter who contends with it.
The second contention of these enthusiasts is that the south in part funds the north with its taxes. They claim that south India contributes massively towards India’s economy and therefore, by becoming a different country they will be happier. It was reported that O.Panneerselvam criticised those who opposed the Dravidian concept, by calling it “fallacious propaganda against the Dravidian rule”, in his budget speech. He had apparently even given ‘comparative data’ to prove Tamil Nadu’s economic influence in India. Siddaramaiah, the Chief Minister of Karnataka too said that south India pays higher taxes than it gets back and “subsidises the north”.
The proponents of Dravida Nadu therefore, claim that the Indian government is somehow ‘using’ southern states for its own benefit and that they can do better on their own; but the argument fails for many reasons.
It is not hard to observe that even though the economy of the southern states may be “booming” now, the cost of setting up an entirely new country will get it into a serious deficit. The costs of various fields such as Social Security Administration, National Defence, Transportation, Labor, Education, the State, Justice, Independent Agencies, Energy, Commerce, The Judicial Branch, The Legislative Branch (assuming Dravida Nadu will be democratic) and various other areas, while setting up the country will crumble an economy. Let me also remind you of Pakistan’s situation post-partition (which involved larger payments from the Indian state than Dravida Nadu could ever get, under colonial pressure). Pakistan still faced a tremendous lack of industry, entrepreneurs and civil servants, and large transition costs. They had no progress terms of sustainability, stability, and equity outcome of the growth process. Is that what is expected of Dravida Nadu? Are people who are living a comfortable life in India supposed to leave it all to live in a shackled country?
Besides, since when did states leave countries because of their affluence? Let us, for sake of argument go by that irrational train of thought. Let us assume then, that being a big contributor to a country is a good enough reason to leave it. So today, we grant Dravida Nadu. Tomorrow, if Chennai becomes a massive contributor to Dravida Nadu’s economy, can it ask for independence too? The next day, Marina beach is doing very well in Chennai; can it ask for a new country?
I ask Mister Stalin a simple question: where does this end? If we go on to grant new nations on such nonsensical grounds, our world will become a circus with no solidarity.
In conclusion, this ridiculous suggestion of Dravida Nadu has no principle behind it. That is mainly because proposing a common “Dravidian Identity” holds no water in an informed India. Politicians who divide and play on people’s emotions must know that these methods of anti-national divisive politics shall not work in this country. Along with banking on a myth, Dravida Nadu has zero practicality to it as it fails the simplest tests it is put through. While I realise that ‘Divide and Rule’ may be Mister Stalin and his party’s best bet in the run up to 2019, people cannot be paying a price for that.