The ‘Dravidian model’ government in Tamil Nadu has been at the forefront of implementing and realising the ideals of B.R. Ambedkar enshrined in the Constitution, Chief Minister M. K. Stalin said on Tuesday.
He was speaking at the launch of The Dalit Truth: The Battles for Realising Ambedkar’s Vision, a book written by former bureaucrat K. Raju, at a function organised by the Scheduled Caste Wing of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee.
Mr. Stalin said, “There is a chapter in the book that talks about the issues in the realisation of Dr. Ambedkar’s dreams in India. In comparison with other States, whenever the DMK forms the government in Tamil Nadu, it has implemented Dr. Ambedkar’s dreams. I assure you that the Dravidian model government in Tamil Nadu has been realising and will continue to realise the dreams envisioned in the Constitution by Dr. Ambedkar.”
Pointing out how the DMK government had implemented transformational schemes for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes over the years, Mr. Stalin said the DMK had fought for social justice to these communities even when it was in the opposition. “The DMK government in 1971 increased the reservation for the SCs in education and employment from 16% to 18%. Kalaignar’s (former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s) government set aside 1% for the STs in 1989 in education and employment. In 2009, the DMK government provided 3% internal reservation for the Arundhathiyar community. The DMK government also created Samathuvapurams in all districts. The DMK also created Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing and Development Corporation Limited (TAHDCO), the Puthirai Vannar Welfare Board, the welfare board for sanitation workers and the Scheduled Tribes Welfare Board.”
Noting that Chepauk-Triplicane MLA and his son Udhayanidhi’s next film Nenjukku Needhi (a remake of the Hindi film Article 15) would speak about the atrocities faced by the Dalits and propagate Ambedkar’s ideals, Mr. Stalin said, “This is a film that speaks about the atrocities faced by Dalits and propagates Dr. Ambedkar’s ideas and the rights enshrined in the Constitution. In the age of religious forces propagating religious polarisation, I appeal to directors to make films that speak about our rights through rational ideas.”
Mr. Raju said Mr. Stalin had won the confidence of the Dalits in Tamil Nadu since he came to power in 2021 by inducting qualified Dalits as ‘Archakas’ in temples and by implementing the ‘Samathuvapuram’ project.
Earlier, at a panel discussion, Congress leader from Gujarat Jignesh Mevani said the challenge before the entire nation, not just Dalits, was whether the nation could survive as a democracy. “The fundamental issue is that we somehow have failed to come up with a concrete blueprint for annihilating the caste. In the absence of a blueprint, we have to look at Periyar, Ambedkar, Narayana Guru and others. What is lacking is an economic and class perspective — on public health, education, employment and land rights. We need nationwide land reforms,” he said.
He urged Tamil Nadu not to allow the ‘Gujarat model’ and the BJP and the RSS to take root in the State. “Cherish Periyar, not Savarkar,” he said.