S. Murugavel Rajan, founder of Makkal Viduthalai Katchi, said Dravidian parties failed to organise or conduct anti-caste marriage as a movement

Dravidianist politics based on caste majoritarianism had resulted in caste becoming a rigid and unavoidable ingredient in the political discourse, and to annihilate caste it was pertinent to use Ambedkarism as a tool, said S. Murugavel Rajan,former MLA and founder, Makkal Viduthalai Katchi.

He said this at a meeting held on the occasion of EVR Periyar’s 39th death anniversary on Monday here where prominent social activists, writers, ambedkarites, marxists, periyarists, maoists and Tamil nationalists in the city who had done inter-caste/anti-caste marriage gathered together to express solidarity and debate on the recent socio-political developments happening around inter-caste marriages.

Mr. Murugavel Rajan, belonging to a scheduled caste, had married a member of intermediate caste. He said that the Dravidian parties failed to organise or conduct anti-caste marriage as a movement.

Barring a few efforts, it was not done as a movement and only by taking concerted efforts to have such marriages caste could be annihilated. He also called for Dalit unity and said that efforts would be made to bring Dalit outfits under a single umbrella.

Mee. Tha. Pandian, Tamil Nadu Panpattu Kazhagam, said that during the last six months, some caste-based organisations had been propagating against anti-caste marriages as they found it polluting their caste purity. Now, these organisations with the support of a party like Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) were demanding the annulment of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

John Moses, State secretary, Tamil Nadu Janata Dal (Secular), said that Dalit parties should join democratic forces and fight against these measures and should not fight alone.

Aruna said that it was highly illogical and absurd to state that Dalit youth had an agenda to marry girls of a particular caste, and it also reduced girls to a state that they could not think on their own and choose their partners.

Writer A. Jaganathan said that the Dharmapuri anti-Dalit violence was a result of the failure of Dravidianism and this topic should be put into debate.

Writer Stalin Rajangam said that even as early as 1987, when fighting for reservation for Vanniyars, S. Ramadoss led Vanniyar Sangam was involved in protests targeted against Dalits.

However, in the next few years, he started his party, PMK, and moved towards Dalit-Bahujan concept and tried consolidating numerically large Dalits and Vanniyars.

These efforts were more political than social and hence failed to bring any solidarity between these castes but still he was hailed as a crusader for social justice and the crucial aspect was that this got the sanctity of progressive intellectuals. This resulted in a ‘constructed image’ of him, which was exposed after the November-7 Dharmapuri violence.

Congress rule in the State had done much to the benefit of Dalits than the Dravidian parties during whose tenures the middle castes benefited in a large way and the accrued social capital saw them suppress the Dalits.