Karunanidhi’s Shenanigans

via Dr. Vijaya Rajiva published on June 29, 2010

As a young man Karunanidhi of the DMK took it into his head that his name given by his parents Dakshinamurthy was Sanskrit and hence as a good Tamilian he should change it to Karunanidhi. Ofcourse, he was unware of the fact that his new name was also Sanskrit. Karuna in Sanskrit means Compassion and nidhi means Treasure.

He went from one disaster to another, led chiefly by his ego, rather than any devotion to the cause of Tamil. His latest effort at the Tamil Conference held recently ended with showcasing his family. His granddaughter who had learned to play the veena, gave concerts in Carnatic music which traditionally extols Hindu gods.

Alas, the self proclaimed atheist and despiser of Hindus, and Hinduism, has come full circle. All this could be seen as harmless egocentrism and imbecility had it not been coupled with a cunning political agenda which,according to reports, seeks to balkanize the Indian subcontinent, under the concept of Tamil Elam.

The Jain Commission had indicted him on his support for the Tamil Tigers, led by the now dead Pirubhakaran. It also charged him with complicity with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Ofcourse, since then, quite puzzlingly, even Rajiv’s family(according to one commentator) has abandoned him. Priyanka Gandhi, his daughter was seen last
year visiting one of the accomplices in the assassination ( Nalini Sriharan ) who is currently in jail. What transpired is not known but rumours abound.

The unholy alliance of Karunanidhi’s DMK with the Congress is itself revealing, since one would imagine that the Congress Party would want to distance itself from someone who has, at least in the public imagination, been seen as being linked to the Rajiv assassination.

But what should trouble Tamils and Indians in general is his ongoing sponsorship of Tamil as a language that is not connected to the rest of Bharat. And followers of the Tamil Tigers have taken to organizing themselves as anti India. This expresses itself unfortunately in the world of academia where noted individuals such as Iravathy
Mahadevan ( a former civil servant turned self taught Tamil scholar) and Asko Parpola a Finnish scholar of Tamil, are seemingly engaged in using the Tamil stick with which to beat a pan Indian identity. Mahadevan is reported to have said: I am not a Hindu.

Parpola, ofcourse, is Finnish and and most likely does not identify with the word ‘ Hindu.’ This is also true of writers/activists such as Arundhati Roy in whom there is a great inner hollowness regarding Hindu and Hinduism.Being baptized a Christian, and brought up both in that milieu and subsequently a deracinated secularism, it is natural for her and others like her to look for any and every opportunity to beat Hindu India, since it is this majority that has carried the
Bharatiya tradition handed down from time immemorial (Did she not famously say:India is run by upper caste Hindus ! with emphasis on the word Hindu). The last time the present writer looked, India was being run by an Italian Catholic and her coterie of Christian and Islamic converts and their sycophants in the various states.

And do not the Christian evangelicals continuously assert(for conversion purposes) that the Vanavasis are not Hindus but Nature worshippers ? This in stark contradiction to the great worship of the celestial, atmospheric and terrestrial forces of Nature which are central to the Rig Veda !

Tamil, as is well known, is a Dravidian language. But it is not as ancient as the traditional sacred language of Hinduism : Sanskrit. The earliest literary works, the Sangam literature can be dated to a few centuries before the Christian era. The antiquity of Sanskrit goes back to 5,000 years if not more. All talk of proto Dravidian is a construct.

Both Mahadevan and Parpola are trying to get around this problem by putting forward
the thesis that Tamil or an earlier form of proto Dravidian is the language of the Indus
Valley Civilisation dated at 3,000 B.C. The Indus ValleyCivilisation is now more appropriately called the Sarasvati Sindhu Civilisation owing to the discovery of the Sarasvati River, mentioned some 72 times in the Rig Veda as a mighty river. This river subsequently disappeared owing to natural causes such as tecthonic shifts etc. and it is only in the last two decades that satellite photography and the diligent work of archeologists have discovered the dried up river bed of the Sarasvati. It dried up around 1,800 B.C. Hence, the Rig Veda could not have been composed later than 1,800 B.C. Some scholars date it much earlier than that period.

Secondly, the ongoing archeological work has unearthed a larger number of sites on
the Sarasvati, rather than the Sindhu(Indus, the word given by the Greeks to the river).

As is well known, the script of the Sarasvati-Sindhu civilization has not yet been deciphered, since it is in the form of symbols. In the 1920s the linguist Sylvain Levi argued that the language of this civilization is Munda, the language of some of the Vanavasi tribes. Still others such as Asko Parpola, the Finnish scholar and Iravathy Mahadevan have tried to prove the Dravidian origin of this undeciphered language. Unsuccesfully, one might add.

Dr. S. Kalyanraman, Director of the Sarasvati Research Centre(Chennai) has done considerable work on the subject. He is influenced by the changes brought about by the debunking of the Aryan-Dravidian theory according to which the Aryans entered India circa1,200 B.C. and defeated not only the existing Indus Valley Civilisation(as the colonial scholars called it) but also the southern Dravidian peoples. In the last two decades, Indian scholars (of whom Dr. Kalyanraman is one) have argued that this is a myth.

There was no Aryan invasion; the Sanskrit speaking peoples, were an indigenous people who spread from India outwardly, not vice versa.

Further, they mingled with the contemporanoues tribes and people, of whom the Vanavasis and the Dravidians were an important segment, and the various languages influenced each other. The Sarasvati Sindhu civilization did not die out
but continued as a rich tapestry of various cultural and iconic continuities which today
is known as the Hindu civilization.

This is not only a plausible theory presented by Dr.Kalyanraman, but is one that all Indian citizens should look at carefully. It is the opposite of the Karunanidhi project. Indeed, there are many Tamils now who follow, not the Karundanidhi divisive project, but the pan India project, simply because of the continuity of their Hindu tradition.Tamil, like many of the other Indian languages, from the Himalaya to Kanyakumari and from east to west , has been the source of an enriched tradition for India.

Fortunately, therefore, the malignant Karunanidhi project will not succeed.

(The writer is a Political Scientist who taught at a Canadian university)

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