What is Dravidian nationalism
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To the development of the Dravidian parties
Towards the end of the 19th century, a Dravidian national movement emerged in South India. It was directed against the Brahmanistic caste system, which was felt as the dominance of the "Aryan" north. From this movement emerged the Justice Party under Ramaswamy Naiker, who in the 1940s propagated the establishment of his own South Indian state, but was unable to assert himself against the INC. The social reform wing of the movement appeared under Periyar as Dravida Kazhagam since the 1940s.
His pupil C.N. Annadurai founded the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in 1949, which now represented the interests of the Tamils rather than those of all of southern India. With the linguistic restructuring of the states, it became the most important opposition party in Tamil Nadu. In 1967 the DMK won the elections and Annadurai became Prime Minister.
Party symbol of the AIADMK
When he died two years later, conflicts broke out over the leadership of the party, which led to the split in 1972. Since then, All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has existed alongside DMK. The AIADMK quickly succeeded in surpassing its parent party, and in 1977 its chairman became "M.G.R." Prime Minister. The AIADMK ruled Tamil Nadu until the death of "M.G.R.".
The succession dispute between the widow of "M.G.R." and his lover, former film actress Jayalalitha Jayaram, sparked a government crisis that ended New Delhi by placing Tamil Nadu under President's Rule. The DMK returned to power in subsequent elections, but was also ousted by New Delhi in 1991 when the Tamil Tigers extended their terrorism from Sri Lanka to the mainland. Five months later, Jayalalitha was elected Prime Minister - she had prevailed in the dispute over the leadership of the AIADMK. The personality cult around her knew hardly any boundaries, so it is hardly surprising that she was voted out of office in 1996 after serious allegations of corruption. Since then, Tamil Nadu has been ruled again by the DMK under the leadership of Prime Minister M. Karunanidhi. Numerous corruption proceedings have been ongoing against Jayalalitha since then. After the AIADMK entered the Vajpayee government as a coalition partner in 1998, Jayalalitha regularly threatened to break the coalition in order to depose the DMK government in Tamil Nadu. In the end, she followed up on her threat, withdrew confidence in Vajpayee in April and was thus actually responsible for the new elections in autumn 1999.
The Vajpayee government succeeded in winning DMK as a coalition partner for the National Democratic Alliance for the upcoming elections. Since then, the courts have accelerated the corruption proceedings against Jayalalitha. She has already been sentenced to one year in prison by a special court while investigations into other cases are ongoing. At the national level, the DMK plays an important role, especially with regard to Indian policy towards the civil war in Sri Lanka, as it is a sharp opponent of any intervention in favor of the government in Colombo.
Despite all the conflicts, both Dravidian parties advocate a strengthening of federalism, oppose the establishment of Hindi as the national language and emphasize the role of the state in fighting poverty and as an engine of development.
- Marguerite Ross Barnett (1976): The Politics of Cultural Natonalism in South India, Princeton: Princeton University Press
- Robert L. Hardgrave (1965): The Dravidian Movement, Bombay
- Jakob Rösel (1997): The Shape and Origin of Tamil Nationalism, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot
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