Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections | How can I form an alliance to get rid of corruption, asks Seeman

Naam Tamilar Katchi chief Seeman gestures during an interview at Alapakkam in Chennai on March 23, 2021.   | Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

Naam Tamilar Katchi co-ordinator, Seeman is contesting in his second Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, and it will also be the party’s third election alone in all 234 Assembly constituencies. While the party secured 1.1% votes in the 2016 Assembly elections, it garnered 3.9% in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The party is once again contesting alone with a view to becoming the alternative to the Dravidian parties, particularly the DMK. Mr. Seeman spoke to The Hindu about the logic of contesting alone, social justice, Dravidian ideology, thoughts of Hitler and Mussolini and his young supporters believing in conspiracy theories.

Excerpts:

This is your third election where you are contesting alone. How long do you plan to contest alone? Are you not feeling tired of spending resources without winning seats?

Why would I feel tired? Is victory in elections everything? When Vaiko split from the DMK, there was an uprising and fizzled out when he joined an alliance. Vijayakant had a similar uprising when he contested alone and then it fizzled out after he joined an alliance. Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Banerjee contested alone and lost twice. Didn’t she become Chief Minister twice after that? I want to get rid of corruption, how can I do that by aligning with these parties? Why do I need to align with Muslim parties? I will give seat to a Muslim in my party.

Do you not have any points of convergence with the Dravidian movement and its ideas? You have opposed the Dravidian ideology and the parties vehemently.

The Aryan-Dravidian divide is a fake, fictional history. (Tamil poet) Navukkarasar says ‘Aryan Kandai Tamilan Kandai’, not Dravidan Kandai. Tamils are a race, Aryans are a race. Who are Dravidians here? The South Indian languages came from Tamil. Dr. Ambedkar says Nagas were originally present in the subcontinent and that the language spoken by his ancestors was Tamil. Caldwell labelled the languages that came from a language as Dravidian. The Brahmins who came to South India are called Dravidians. Yet, they (Dravidian ideologues) keep saying over and over again that they are opposing the Aryans. When did they oppose the Aryans? They have simply surrendered to them. I am being constantly asked: Who are all Tamils? Can they explain who these Dravidians are? M.K. Stalin said ‘Tamil Kudigal’ in the Tiruchi public meeting. Why didn’t he say Dravida Kudigal? He says 75% of the jobs will be reserved for Tamils. Why didn’t he say Dravidians instead?

What is your view of the Dravidian ideology?

Dravidian ideology was put forward to enable non-Tamils live in Tamil Nadu with prosperity and rule in Tamil Nadu. None of the Dravidian party leaders are Tamils. Edappadi K. Palaniswami has become CM now and we have to wait and see if he can emerge as a leader. Why didn’t Kannadigas, Malayalis, Telugus accept they are Dravidians? Dravidian is not an ethnic identity, it doesn’t have a language.

If every language and linguistic group comes from Tamil, why do you have to identify them as separate?

I am not doing it! We, Tamils, are not humanitarians. We love all of what constitutes life. A Purananooru poem states, ‘Yaadhum Oorey Yaavarum Kelir. Theedhum Nanrum, pirar thara vaara’. Tirukkural says ‘Pirappokkum Ella Uyirukkum, Sirapovva Seithozhil Vetrumaiyaam’. Does the Kural state ‘Pirappokkum Ella Manidharukkum’? It says don’t discriminate against someone based on his profession. Bharathiyar sings ‘Kaakai Kuruvi Engal Saadhi’. Malayalis, Marathis, Telugus, Gujaratis (and others) have a land for themselves…Tamil Nadu is the only home I have.

We may soon have Tamil-origin leaders occupying powerful positions around the world. It is a real possibility that someone like U.S. VP Kamala Harris could one day become POTUS in United States…

My politics is for all life, my party is for everyone, but leadership is only for Tamils. In Kattabomman’s army, our ancestors Sundaralingam and Vellaiyathevan were generals. Likewise, my army will have every one, you can be Generals but I will be the King. When Tamils get elected in foreign countries, it is an accident. It happens once in a while. But, in Tamil Nadu, it has become the rule and fate. Karunanidhi is followed by his son and then his son.

However, you say you accept Tamil uppercastes but identify some backward and Dalit castes as non-Tamils?

A section of them are still fighting for using Tamil in temples among themselves in Kanchipuram, right? He is one of my people. I am not saying Brahmins are all Tamils. Bharathi and U. Ve. Swaminatha Iyer have contributed a lot to Tamil. How can we say they are not Tamils? There are many examples. Often, they (Dravidian ideologues) say ‘where can we go, it has been 400 years since we came here’. But, Brahmins have been here for longer. Where will they go? The Brahmins must accept the Tamil identity completely and dissolve into the society. In my party, I have given seats to Kannadigas, Telugus…Brahmins. They come to me saying they are Tamils.

Dravidian ideologues claim that Tamil Nadu would not have social justice if not for the Dravidian movement…

I have given 16 seats to Muslims. Out of them, 9 are women. What have they done for the minorities? I have given 21 seats to Christians but I know they will vote for DMK (laughs). I have given more than 25 seats to Vanniyars when PMK has been allotted only 23 seats (by AIADMK). Paraiyar community candidates are contesting in 16 seats in general constituencies when Thirumavalavan has settled for 6 seats in the DMK. Paraiyars will contest in close to 60 seats. I have given seats to candidates from Kuyavar, Navidhar, Vannar and other smaller communities. I am the one actually implementing social justice in my party, but they will keep talking about how they are saving social justice. They can’t even appoint Anbil Mahesh as youth secretary.

You have also criticised DMK and AIADMK for corruption. Isn’t corruption a common issue throughout in India?

The administrative decay is the reason for corruption. It wouldn’t happen with me. I would kick them out. People will behave like the king. It is the leadership that makes sure that money is paid to them every month. They encourage corruption. This is not my biggest issue. I am more concerned about resources being plundered. Who has given them rights to exploit sand and mountains? I can regrow the forests by planting trees but I cannot create mountains. How can we term it development when this would affect future generations?

Aren’t these policy decisions that can be reversed by the next Government?

I am asking, why they haven’t done it already. Are they going to come here and do it? How can we get rid of corruption without getting rid of these two parties? Kamal Haasan invites Congress to his alliance, whose enormous corruption was the reason that paved the way for BJP.

You seem to be attacking everybody in politics. Don’t you see anyone as an ally?

Am I opposing Mamta Bannerjee? You should look at why I am opposing someone. Edappadi K. Palaniswami said that farm laws are good for the farmers. How can I not oppose it?

Would you put Dravidian parties and Congress and BJP on the same page?

I oppose their economic policies - privatisation, free market and globalisation. The country becomes a market and people become sheep. I want self-reliant economic policies. I have been talking about it for 10 years and Modi began speaking self-reliance because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But, he is privatising everything. What would remain as property owned in common with the people of this country? Cuba is a small country – but there, education, health care, transport all are state owned.

Cuba is mired in economic crisis. Would you like to live in that country in that political and economic set up?

That should be decided by the Cuban people. This is the solution I am giving for my people. The Union government in India should decentralise its power for growth.

How do you view Modi as a Prime Minister?

PM Modi is just a tool for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Even if Nitin Gadkari becomes the PM, he would be like Modi. The ideology that they have subscribed to is like that.

You have spoken fondly of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini in the past. Why do you keep quoting them in your speeches?

It is important to see what I am taking from Hitler and Mussolini. What is Mussolini saying? Ask me that. He says, ‘There are no rights without duty’. He says, ‘Live dangerously, the enemy should fear you’. I like these thoughts. Hitler says, ‘What are you looking for? A path? Just walk; it will become your path’. All revolutionaries will think alike. When you make fruit juice, do you take everything? You peel the skin, take away the seeds and then after you juice it, you filter it before serving. Take what is good in them and leave the rest.

There has been criticism about your statement that you would be a ‘benevolent dictator’.

An honest person can only be a dictator. Hitler was not a dictator, but a tyrant. We need dictatorship to save little of what is left of democracy. Athletes run inside a track. We have laws in a society. Benevolent dictatorship is nothing but mother’s love. Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore’s late Prime Minister) was a benevolent dictator. How did he change it into the country that it is today?

Can you clarify your comments that you wanted to explore the possibility of bringing AMMK and AIADMK together with Sasikala?

I didn’t ask her. When I met her, she expressed her sadness that AMMK and AIADMK should work together to be strong. I suggested that she speak with them but she said it is not working out. I understood how she felt. Then, I said that I will try to speak to him (Edappadi K. Palaniswami) with a view to offer support. She said okay. He (CM) didn’t give me time and I left it at that. I was also involved when TMMK split and tried to prevent it. But nobody talks about that (Smiles). I am not going back on my criticism on Sasikala.

Young NTK supporters constantly talk about the existence of secret societies such as Illuminatti and other conspiracy theories. What is your view on it?

I accept that Illuminatti exists. Jews will do such things. And they turn the world into a hunting ground for a few families. If you read John Berkin’s Confessions of an Economic Hitman, you will start believing in it too. At the same time, you shouldn’t think that everyone who speaks like this is my supporter. There are people who spread fake news in my name as well.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 6:21:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/tamil-nadu-assembly/seeman-interview-how-can-i-form-an-alliance-to-get-rid-of-corruption/article34143886.ece

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