Tracing the Jinnah connection
Periyar sought his support for the cause
It was the idea of Pakistan, articulated by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, that served as a precursor to Periyar reiterating his demand for Dravida Nadu. He even led a delegation to Bombay [modern-day Mumbai] in 1940 to meet Jinnah.
He had gone to Bombay on an invitation from the non-Brahmins there and was accompanied by his lieutenants P. Balasubramaniam, T.A.V. Nathan, Thiruvasagamani K.M. Balasubramaniam, T.P.S. Ponnappa, C. Panjatcharam and C.N. Annadurai.
Periyar would meet with B.R. Ambedkar and Jinnah. But Annadurai was not present when the delegation met the leader.
According to R. Kannan, the biographer of Annadurai, the former Chief Minister was not interested in the delegation simply meeting Jinnah as a matter of courtesy, and pleaded with Periyar to have a definitive plan and seek Jinnah’s support.
While Annadurai said the delegation returned with bitterness, Periyar touted the meeting as a success, assuring that there need not be fear among anyone that they—Jinnah and Periyar—had entered into an ‘alliance’.
‘As populous as England’
“On 7 January 1940, at a public meeting in Dharavi, Bombay, Periyar maintained that Tamil Nadu was as populous as England and as large as Germany, and that with Jinnah’s and Ambedkar’s help, he would establish its freedom,” Mr. Kannan said in his book.
The difference of opinion over India’s independence and Periyar’s marriage to Maniammal led to the creation of the DMK in 1949. Annadurai was vociferous about his demand for Dravida Nadu and dropped it in 1963, in the wake of the 16th amendment banning secession and its advocacy.
The DMK also dropped the idea of separation from its constitution, settling for a closer political and cultural union between the southern States.
In the 1970s, this was again changed to limit the party’s aims to striving for a closer cultural association between the southern States.