By S. Sivathasan –
Youth of Tamil Nadu in ferment in March 2013, was in revolt in January 2017. It achieved a victory unprecedented in the State of Tamil Nadu and momentous at the Centre in Delhi. Within days, legislation was passed in Chennai, approved by the Governor and endorsed by the President, all at the instance of the youth. This historic act legalized jallikattu. Above all it acknowledged youth power as a reality behind political movement.
New Party in the Offing
Two million youth united to a single purpose, came to the fore and established their credentials. They spoke for the community of young, 20 million strong. The latter has thrown up on Saturday 4th of February 2017, a coherent group of resurgent youth into the realm of leadership. Quite appropriately it has named itself ‘Tamil Nadu Party of Youth’. In perfect consonance, a ‘Raging Bull’ is the chosen logo. Selection of logo denotes sentiment following jallikattu triumph. Party name is a revolutionary departure from the tentacles of ‘Dravidian Maayai’ which had befuddled Tamils and had taken their aspirations astray.
Dravida Maayai (Hallucination)
Periyar founded the Dravidian Party in 1944. It had traction with the masses. Every offshoot since then wanting to partake of its fund of goodwill included ‘Dravida’ in its name. Dravida Munnetra Kalakam (DMK), Anna DMK, Marumalarchi DMK and Desiya Mutpoakku Dravida Kalakam or DMDK followed by Amma DMK in the offing. Thus 6 in a row wanted a share of the Dravida pork barrel or political clout. Was there concern for the Tamil people? For no less than 80 years, the word Dravida was opium to the opiate, never failing to have its paralytic effect on the Tamils.
Veering from this word of people’s hate, ‘Tamil Nadu Party of Youth’ having fullest confidence in itself and enormous trust in the people, has opted to fight in its own turf. These Young Tamils have a parallel with the ‘Young Turks’ targeting resurgence in Turkey a century ago. What is awaited now is a churning process in Tamil Nadu. Those who are perched up above with no legitimacy will be pulled down and trampled under foot. People in their mass will confer authority to youth to ascend to the top, to clean up the swamp and to regenerate the land.
For far too long from the fifties, Tamil Nadu was mesmerized with words – rhythmic cadence in platform oratory and alliterative prose in political literature. They fired the youth and enchanted elders. Such times are past. Those who now strut about have neither wit nor words nor the power of speech. Thought about the land and its people is lost to the last shred.
To the people who alone matter, with sovereignty residing in them, those on top have turned out to be no more than the scum. What moves them is the lure of filthy lucre. Corruption which grew year after year now grows by the day. The quantum traded is in tens and hundreds of millions. Half a century has recorded devious diversions in Rs. trillions into unlawful hands. Since 1967, two parties shared power in alternate terms. Time is now to end this alternation of cheat and chicanery. To terminate this social contract.
Very conscious of negative voting, they hit upon subsidies miscalled welfare. When that was found wanting, freebies were conjured up. DMK came up with 100% free electricity for agriculture. Yet votes dwindled and free Television sets covering over 80% of households were distributed. Wasteful expenditure on TV exceeded Rs. 30 billion. At the 2011 elections DMK was wiped out.
With this lesson learnt, AIADMK chose carpet coverage with numberless freebies. Fans, mixies, grinders, gold for weddings, sarees, verties, bicycles, free lunches, free breakfast, free food in temples, Mayor directed to open 1000 idly shops in Chennai and an endless list to make people listless if not indolent. With such incredible waste money went down the drain, but to discharge flood waters no drainage was built. Chennai got drowned in December 2015 and yet no beginning is made. Tamil Nadu became anemic but the lady CM got deified.
Challenges Calling for Resolution
Challenges encountered by Tamil Nadu are enormous and numerous. To cite the most explosive one, unemployment is high and graduate unemployment makes the situation intractable. Good governance conducing to quality education will produce graduates demanded by the market. But this is not to be because the political high command in Tamil Nadu has inane priorities. Secondly high levels of investment are needed for job creation. But corruption thwarts it. Regarding ease of doing business, Tamil Nadu ranked 18th state in a recent survey. Yet the lady CM used to proclaim ad nauseam that she will make the state numero uno in India. The unemployed in their lakhs know well and truly the dishonesty behind these pronouncements.
The patience of the young in their multitude is at an end. The peaceful wait is over. They have got on to the threshold of taking power into their own hands; may not be immediate but when the appropriate hour strikes. The mafia of usurpers certainly dreaded the Jallikattu mass movement surging menacingly against it. It was assuming a different form with a more militant objective. In a preemptive strike on the students on Monday 23rd January, the mafia set out to overawe the students through an unwarranted violent lathi charge. Against what? Against an impending upheaval of the students to prevent an illegal capture of political power. The conspiracy has unraveled over the last two weeks. What is yet to unfold, this week will tell. Vast inflow of information and quite a protracted reflection over the last two weeks lead to this conclusion.
A Glaring Default
The ferment of ’13 and the revolt of ’17 had the same shortcoming – lack of a well-crafted organization with a geographical spread and an acknowledged leader for two-way communication. Current thinking seems to be to set this fault aright. A leader of proven credentials, comprising unswerving character and uncompromising integrity has been identified in the personage of U. Sahayam IAS. What Subhas Chandra Bose did at age 25 in not accepting ICS, Sahayam can be expected to do at age 55 in relinquishing IAS. He has an obligation to respond positively to the wishes of his compatriots.
May it be appreciated that the students have thought out well and clearly. They have set aside tainted veteran politicians. Dravida maayai is correctly eschewed. The cinematic glamour has lost its spell with the students. Money power is treated as tinsel. What Tamil Nadu needs is a break with the recent past. Premium value has to be on plain honesty. Let the leader lead by sheer example.
We Tamils have a repository of learning. If China has her Confucius, the West her Socrates, Plato and Aristotle and the US her Founding Fathers, then Tamils have their Thiruvalluvar and Subramania Bharathy with their sheet anchor of moral norms and ethical values. Let them compose the fount of Tamil politics.
*The writer, an SLAS officer is Rtd. Secretary and a former Advisor to President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga
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