Tamil Nadu

Stalin to launch book on Dravidian Movement

The book offers insight into formative years of the movement

The book offers insight into formative years of the movement

The Dravidian Movement, a pioneering book by Robert L. Hardgrave Jr, which offers insight into the formative years of the movement, is ready for a fresh release after a gap of 57 years. 

The book was based on material he gathered in India for his 1962 Master’s Thesis. First published in 1965 by Mumbai-based Popular Prakashan, the book has been out of print for many years. The Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation has acquired the copyright for it. 

“Chief Minister M.K. Stalin will release it soon,” said Sankara Saravanan, deputy director of the corporation.

Mr. Stalin, who has written a preface for the book, said: “Strange it is that Robert Hardgrave, a young student from thousands of miles away from Dravida land and a stranger to its experiences/struggles, was so drawn to the philosophy and economic commitment that lay at the heart of the Dravidian movement, the streams of the DK and the self-respect that fed it and its triumphant emergence holding the imagination of the populace for so many decades.”

Dr. Rajan Kurai Krishnan, who teaches at the School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University Delhi, in his afterword, pointed out Hardgrave should be credited for the prescience of the concluding lines of the book which has been borne out by the unfolding of history.

“Rather than a threat to the unity of the Indian Union, a self-consciously participant society — even when it operates in terms of caste and linguistic identification — offers the possibility of a meaningful pluralism as a base for viable democracy,” he had recalled Hardgrave as writing.

Professor Hardgrave is Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor Emeritus in the Humanities, Departments of Government and Asian Studies, University of Texas, Austin.

In his foreword to the new edition, he said “ The Dravidian Movement was my entry as young scholar into the world of Indian politics.”

“I was fortunate to meet several leaders of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. They became my guides into the life of the political party and invited me to conferences, arranged interviews with party luminaries, and provided me with a plethora of pamphlets and publications on the Dravidian Movement from its roots in the Non-Brahmin and Self-Respect movement to the formation of the Dravidar Kazhagam and its splinter off-shoot DMK,” recalled Mr Hardgrave, who later published his Ph D dissertation as, The Nadars of Tamilnadu: The Political Culture of a Community in Change.

He said though he had visited India for a wide range of projects, “the foundation of my academic work will always remain in Tamil Nadu and with The Dravidian Movement.”

Mr. Stalin reiterated that “the monumental documentation of the unique social reform movement proves beyond doubt that the Dravidian Movement is an invaluable gift to humanity and universal brotherhood in Tamil Nadu.”

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2022 11:06:00 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/stalin-to-launch-book-on-dravidian-movement/article65546103.ece