In the recently held Tamil Nadu State assembly election 2021 for which the results were announced yesterday, the people of Tamil Nadu voted in favour of the Secular Progressive Alliance against the Hindutva forces. At this juncture, it is important to look at a leader who remains largely excluded by the Brahmanical media houses. By electing his party in two general constituencies apart from the two reserved constituencies, a message has been clearly delivered to the ‘sanathanis’ that the people of the land of Periyar stand with this Tamizh Nationalist leader. Thol. Thirumavalavan strongly stood for Social Justice Politics. Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi’s (VCK)’s victory in 4 out of 6 seats is once again a reminder to the Brahmanical forces that Thozhar. Thirumavalavan cannot be excluded from electoral politics by projecting him as a caste leader or just another leader anymore by restricting him to a specific community.
It should be said that rather it is a hard-earned victory which Thol. Thirumavalavan and his cadres managed to pull. It is not an overnight victory. This is the result of a long arduous struggle over many years and decades. Firstly, a few months before the assembly elections were announced, a doctored video was circulated by the Hindutva forces showing Thirumavalavan’s old speech on Manusmriti as a speech against the modesty of ‘hindu’ women which also projected DMK and its allies as anti-Hindus. This was an attempt made by the Hindutva forces to weaken DMK and its alliance. A lot of BJP followers and Hindutva leaders in the state came out against Thol.Thirumavalavan. During this difficult situation, rather than defending himself or by bowing down for the sake of electoral politics, he chose to challenge the Brahmanical forces. He chose to be a student of Dr.Ambedkar and Periyar, by leading the struggle against the Hindutva forces in the state. Thol. Thirumavalavan clearly explained why and how manusmriti is against women, why it is casteist and argued why it should be banned.
Secondly, his decision to choose an independent symbol for his party to contest in all the six seats that were allotted by the DMK. His party took a difficult path to get recognized and to create an identity of their own. Contesting with the DMK symbol might have been easy, given the fact that the Rising Sun symbol is already an established symbol in the state of Tamil Nadu. But choosing an independent symbol for VCK, shows his will to not lose their individuality for electoral gains. It was more challenging also because the independent symbol of ‘pot’ was allotted only 14 days before the election. They overcame the challenge of taking this symbol to the people in the state within this limited period and made it popular.
Thirdly, when it came to seat-sharing in this election, there existed a situation where DMK restricted most of its alliance partners to 6 seats, which VCK cadres are not ready to accept as they considered it was not enough. There were also attempts made by the third fronts like Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Neethi Maiyam (MNM) to have VCK in his alliance.
Thol.Thirumavalavan stood strongly with the secular forces and convinced his cadres that the fight against fascists forces is more important than the seats. His role as a uniting force against the fascist forces needs to be recognized and this shows him as a leader beyond electoral politics.
Beyond electoral politics, the leader Thol. Thirumavalavan’s role is important in bringing different communities together through building solidarities. Thol. Thirumavalavan has always extended his solidarity towards the minorities. During the Anti-CAA Movement, he not only extended solidarity to the Muslim community but he himself organized protests across the state of Tamilnadu. He saw this citizenship amendment act as both anti-muslim and anti-constitution. He called for the Ambedkarite parties across the Indian union to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act(CAA) as their moral responsibility. It should be mentioned here that during the movement against Manusmriti, he and his cadres received threats of violence by the Brahmanical forces. The leaders who stand by Dravidian ideologies extended their support to Thol.Thirumavalavan’s fight against ‘sanathanis’. Here, it is essential and important to understand though Tamil Nadu is a progressive land because of its Dravidian politics and Social Justice policies, the society of Tamil Nadu is still divided by caste and regressive ideas.
It is very well known that Pattali Makkal Katchi’s (PMK)’s hate politics deceives some Vanniyar community youngsters by inciting violence against Dalits in the Northern part of Tamilnadu. The atrocities committed against Dalits in Dharmapuri in 2012 stands example of this. In this context, solidarities between the parties and forces that stand for social justice are essential to uphold the ideologies of Dr. Ambedkar and Periyar in this society. One among them is Thozhar. Velmurugan’s support to VCK and its leader. Thozhar. Velmurugan’s support to VCK is important in this context that he is from Vanniyar community, a former PMK leader who quit the party and formed his own party, “ Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi” (TVK) which is based on Tamizh Nationalist ideology. This solidarity extended by him and his cadres is seen even during the election campaigns and Thol. Thirumavalavan reciprocated the same by sharing the stage with Thozhar. Velmurugan and also by campaigning for him. Thozhar. Velmurugan’s victory in the Panruti constituency during this assembly election should be celebrated as a victory of Dalit-Bahujan Solidarity and Ambedkarite politics which is built on the foundations of Dravidian politics.
The success of Thol. Thirumavalavan lies in being able to forge solidarities across various oppressed identities in the state of Tamil Nadu. Hence, Thozhar. Thirumavalavan provides a framework that the secular forces can learn from in their fight against brahminical forces in society.