From Periyar to Haasan: The Grand Pongal 2021

With the formal entry of Kamal Haasan in the Tamil politics and the refusal from Rajnikanth giving jitters to the BJP, the political landscape in Tamil Nadu waits its turn for the Right wing politics to assume new meanings after the demise of J. Jayalalitha and lack of popularity for the successor of Karunanidhi, MK Stalin.

Tamil Nadu is a very peculiar state in terms of politics since it boasts of vast numbers of Muslims and Christians and the communities play a decisive role in sending representatives not just to the parliament but to the state assembly also. The Tamil political landscape has been full of instances which saw mass rejection of the Hindu values and the RSS has a very miniscule presence in the state.

Till the elimination of Vellupillai Prabhakaran, the separatist and Tamil Nationalist sentiment assumed great traction in the Tamil way of life, and inspired by the Periyarite ideology, an anti-Brahmin and anti-Hindu warfront was championed by leaders right from the times of Kamraj and till Karunanidhi was challenged by MGR and his aide J. Jayalalitha.

The Hindu Right of the Tamil politics is represented by the AIADMK, and there are very few other parties that offer very little room to the voters to choose from since the politics in Tamil Nadu assumes form of a racial nature. The Dravidian parties rose up to the Aryan dominated Congress and the factor of Tamil supremacy over the Sanskrit and Hindi people is a dominant notion in the Hindu community living in Tamil Nadu.

The entry of Kamal Haasan through his party Makkal Needhi Maiam offers an assimilative alternative to variety of voices in Tamil Nadu since the BJP cannot muster enough votes and nor is the Congress in a position to gain seats. The voters in Tamil Nadu look for more in terms of socio-economic benefits and the Dravidian parties along with PMK, MDMK and other small parties will never make it cross the magic mark even if the Communists throw their weight behind the socialist camp.

The voting trends in Tamil Nadu are less polarised and the sole reason is the disconnect between Hindi and Tamil. Karnataka on the other hand has had its own stint with the BJP and continues with it, but penetrating a closed door community such as Tamil Nadu is not an easy task.

The entry of Kamal Haasan offers an alternative not to just the Dravidian politics, but ensures a promising figure rising upto the national stature by raising issues that resonate not just with the Tamil intelligentsia but also with the lower rungs of the social ladder. The entry of Kamal Haasan will also come with an end to the Periyarite politics since Kamal Haasan belongs to Iyengar Brahmins and has his own exposure to bring to the table.

Kamal Haasan has to offer some discounts to the BJP that is trying to rid itself of the AIADMK since Palaniswami sahab is not as popular as he thought he could be and there exists an anti-incumbency wave which will not be in support of the DMK’s Stalin too, therefore Kamal Haasan is there to stay and make a mark in Tamil politics.

With Amit Shah heading to Tamil Nadu for a grand Pongal celebration, the Tamil political scenario gets more exciting as never before. Let us hope for Kamal Haasan to go solo for the first elections and decide after the poll results are out about any alliances.