Tamil Nadu

Dravidian majors wary of ‘spiritual politics’

The concept of “spiritual politics”, as mentioned by actor Rajinikanth in his plan to launch a political party, does not seem to have excited either of the Dravidian majors in the State.

Office-bearers of the DMK as well as the AIADMK, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the concept may not be of much relevance now as atheism and rationalism are no longer the fulcrum of the State’s politics, despite the two parties still projecting themselves as followers of rationalist leader Periyar E.V. Ramasamy.

Several members of the two parties subscribe to theism and the tag of “anti-god or even anti-Hindu god” cannot be attached to either of the organisations. Many leaders, at least while in power, have taken part in religious events.

In fact, in the DMK, which once had the image of being harsh on Hindu religious customs and practices, the party leadership has been increasingly careful, in the recent years, about not getting involved in any controversy concerning the Hindu religion.

When it comes to the AIADMK, its founder M.G. Ramachandran and his successor Jayalalithaa have come to be seen as “believers”. Many of its current leaders visit prominent temples, point out office-bearers.

However, K.S. Narendran, State BJP vice-president, has a different take. He contended that over the years, the people of the State have become frustrated with the “approach” of the DMK and the Dravidar Kazhagam, in treating matters of faith concerning Hinduism differently from those of other religions.

Expressing hope that there will be takers for Mr. Rajinikanth’s “spiritual politics”, he said this could be gauged from the support that the BJP got five months ago after it came down heavily on those accused of having provided a malicious interpretation of the Kanda Sashti Kavasam, a compilation of Tamil hymns in praise of Lord Murugan. “It was only after the row that our party came up with the Vetrivel Yatra, which is a success story,” Mr. Narendran said.

Asked whether the concept was not contradictory, given that “spiritualism,” as understood in Tamil literature, pertains to detachment from the materialistic world, Tamilaruvi Manian, overseer of Mr. Rajinikanth’s proposed party, said the actor’s concept was akin to that of Mahatma Gandhi. He said: “Only a true spiritual person will not indulge in personal aggrandisement. Through love and affection, he or she will bring under his or her fold people of all religions. This is in tune with the personality of Mr. Rajinikanth.”

Notwithstanding divergent views on the actor’s concept, M. Rajendran, former Vice-Chancellor of Tamil University, said it still remains to be seen whether Mr. Rajnikanth meant the concept to be one that transcends the barriers of religion, emphasising humanism and respect for all living creatures, which is what Tamil society has always stood for.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 9:12:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/dravidian-majors-wary-of-spiritual-politics/article33244607.ece

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