The Rise of Tamil Nationalism 

Is Naam Tamilar the next big thing in Tamil Nadu politics?

ArulMozhi.T.N.K 4/4/16

In May 2009, one voice in Tamil Nadu was widely seen as a threat to the then ruling party DMK. It was the voice of an angry young man who was determined to force the Tamil Nadu government to take action against the mass genocide of Sri Lankan Tamils. His name is Seeman. 

He wasn't very popular amongst the general public and was only famous amongst Dravidian ideologists and social activists who were lobbying for the Sri Lankan Tamils in Tamil Nadu. People who closely followed the final stages of war in Sri Lanka would remember the soul stirring speech that Seeman gave in Rameshwaram. Seeman was very vocal about his frustration towards the then Chief Minister of TN M.K.Karanunadhi and Congress the ruling party in the centre. 

2009 was a very important year in the history of Tamil nationalism in Tamil Nadu. Until May 2009 Tamil nationalism was widely seen as a caste-oriented political philosophy because its proponents were often sympathetic towards caste and weren't very outspoken about the caste discrimination that was widely prevalent in  the state. Tamil nationalism was often constrained to a very limited space and didn't have the ability to challenge the Dravidian Kalagam let alone the major Dravidian parties, but everything changed after Seeman entered the picture.
During 2009 Seeman was frequently arrested by the DMK government for his strongly worded speeches against the DMK and the Congress. Every time the DMK government tried to oppress his freedom of speech his vigour kept on growing. Dissenting voices within the major Dravidian parties too started to pay attention to him.
Many Periyar and Dravidian ideologists were very much close to the Sri Lankan Tamil cause and a large part of them too felt betrayed by the inaction of the Tamil Nadu Government, but none of them had the courage to challenge the leadership and most of them kept their frustruations to themselves. Seeman's outspoken nature attracted such dissenters towards him and within no time a lot of young, old and wise people from different walks of life started to assemble behind him. Together under Seeman's leadership Naam Tamilar organisation was born and within a few year the organisation grew by leaps and bounds. Today it has manifested into a political party --Naam Tamilar Katchi (We Tamils party)

The rise of Naam Tamilar paved way to the resurgence of Tamil nationalism in Tamil Nadu. Today all debates and political discourses take into account this new, young and vibrant force. Naam Tamilar has single handedly remodeled Tamil nationalism in Tamil Nadu, and for the first time in decades Dravidian politics is faced with a threat. For the first time in the history of independant India a Tamil nationalist force is taking center stage in the fight against Dravidian politics.

The alternative for the Dravidian politics is already here in Tamil Nadu. It just needs validation from the Tamil Nadu people. These are challenging times for Dravidian politics. There is a lot at stake in the upcoming elections for both the Dravidian giants.

The author can be reached at [email protected]