The Eccentricities of Tamil Nadu Politics| 10/4/2012
THE ECCENTRICITIES OF TAMIL NADU POLITICS
The Eccentricities of Tamil Politics
'There is no God. There is no God. There is no God at all. He
who invented God is a fool. He who propagates God is a
scoundrel. He who worships God is a barbarian.'
These were the words of agitator and social reformist E V Ramaswamy Naicker (father of the
Dravidian movement in Tamilnadu), more commonly known as Periyar.
Electoral politics in India presents one of the most unique yet diverse paradigms of political
operations all over the world. Yet, even in the unique world of Indian politics, there lie subsets
that are exclusive to themselves. From as far back in time as 1925, when The Self Respect
Association was launched by Periyar to work for the social and cultural advancement of all
Dravidians, Tamilnadu Politics has occupied a distinctive space in the paradigm of Indian
politics. From then till today, not much seems to have changed as far as its exclusivity goes.
In general, throughout India, religion has always played a huge role. To the extent that Sumit
Ganguly, Professor of Political Science at Indiana University comments that “Religion is part
and parcel of political life”. Here too, Tamilnadu presents a picture that is different from the rest
of the country in that religion has not really had an impact on the politics of the state. The
Dravidian movement lies at the core of the political ideology of most parties in the state and as is
made evident by the quote at the beginning of this article, atheism is one of the founding
principles of the Dravidian movement.
The most striking difference when compared with other states has been the regionalization of
party politics in Tamilnadu. At a time when ethnic forces were working hard to gain a foothold in
other parts of the country, in Tamilnadu they were already at the helm of electoral politics. This