Kalaignar Karunanidhi: Will the ‘rationalist’ chief minister face the challenge of ‘superstition’ – Thamizhchelvan

M. Karunanidhi“Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi, throughout his political career, has survived by adopting the divide & rule policy conceived by the British through distortion of our history and civilisation. He has never missed a single opportunity to make disparaging remarks about Hindus, Hindu Gods, philosophy and culture, apart from denigrating Sanskrit and Hindi, and simultaneously he has appeased minorities for their votes.”

“If he wants to prove to his party cadres that he is a true rationalist, disciple of EVR and follower of Annadurai, he must enter the temple through the main entrance.” - Thamizhchelvan

Big Temple, TanjoreReporting on the renovation of temples at a cost of around Rs. 450 crores by the Tamil Nadu government, the Delhi-ba sed daily, The Pioneer, said, “TN CM is full of Karuna and Nidhi for Temples.” The Chennai edition of The Times of India said, “Tamil Nadu CM turns temple patron”.

Both newspapers didn’t fail to remark about the Chief Minister’s atheistic ideology and anti-Brahmin stand. However, it is a surprise why they should hype the government’s spending of Rs. 450 crores which is a pittance compared to the revenue it gets from the temples by means of contributions made by Hindu bhaktas. After all, it is the duty of the government to spend the money on temple related projects, as the money has been contributed by Hindus only for that purpose.

Though both newspapers naively speculated on the CM’s attitudinal change, observers of TN politics are aware of his dubiousness in this regard. His political preference is exactly opposite his personal preference, but a major section of the people of Tamil Nadu has not understood his double standards.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi, throughout his political career, has survived by adopting the divide & rule policy conceived by the British through distortion of our history and civilisation. He has never missed a single opportunity to make disparaging remarks about Hindus, Hindu Gods, philosophy and culture, apart from denigrating Sanskrit and Hindi, and simultaneously he has appeased minorities for their votes.

Ramaswamy Naiker Statue, SrirangamWhen Hindus protested against the installation of atheist EV Ramasamy’s statue in front of the famous Srirangam temple in 2006, he asked, “When temple towers have nude sculptures and when nude Gods and Goddesses are kept inside the temples, what is wrong in having a well dressed EVR in front of the temple?”

On the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi in 2007, he said, “Lord Ganesha was born in Vathapi (Karnataka) and was brought to Tamil Nadu from there during Pallava period and hence he is not a Tamil God.” His TV Channel (Kalaignar TV) brazenly launched its telecast on the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi. However, he has never made insulting remarks about Bhagwan Muruga, younger brother of Ganesha, as Muruga/Karthik is revered and worshipped as a “Tamil God”.

Sri RamaAt the peak of the Rama Setu Protection Movement against the Setu Samudram Project, Karunanidhi said, “Some say there was a person over 17 lakh years ago. His name was Ramar. Do not touch the bridge constructed by him, they are saying. But then, from which engineering college did he graduate? Is there any proof for this?” Then, touching his pet Aryan-Dravidian theory, he exposed his “knowledge” of the Ramayana: “Rama is an Aryan God and Ravana is a Dravidian King, and the communal (read Hindu) organizations working against Setu Samudram project are Aryans trying to stall the development of Dravidian Tamil Nadu”

Later, sitting relaxed at his bungalow during NDTV’s Walk the Talk program, he told Shekhar Gupta of Indian Express, “Tulsi Das had written in his Ramayana that Sita was the sister of Rama and Valmiki had written that Rama was a drunkard,” thereby exposing his knowledge of Tulsi Ramayana and Valmiki Ramayana. He has never criticized Bhagwan Krishna, and allegedly worships him in secrecy in the Krishna temple just opposite his residence!

M. Karunanidhi with Catholic bishops of Tamil NaduAs Chief Minister, he always conveys his official greetings to Muslims and Christians on the eve of all their festivals, but never greets Hindus on the eve of any festival. He greets the people only on Pongal / Sankranti which, thought celebrated nation-wide, is held to be a Tamil cultural festival.

Karunanidhi conveniently avoids criticizing anything connected with Tamil, be it God, festival, or culture. His selective amnesia makes his forget the fact that his ‘mentor’ EVR was a Kannadiga from Karnataka, and he himself has a Telugu ancestry and Telugu as his mother tongue. This ‘atheist’ has a ‘divine’ habit of always wearing a yellow shawl, for which he has given many ‘rational’ explanations, not one of which is convincing. The truth is that yellow is the colour associated with Bhagwan Dakshinamurthy and Karunanidhi’s original name is Dakshinamurthy; he wears a yellow shawl allegedly on the advice of a team of astrologers.

Naked brahminHe is reputed to have stated: “I am not against Brahmins, but only against Brahmanism. Brahmanism practiced by people of any caste will be opposed by me and my party.” He doesn’t hesitate to keep many Brahmins around him in important posts. Even for health care, he keeps Brahmin doctors; his yoga teacher is also a Brahmin. But he indulges in ridiculing Brahmins, as evidenced by his party organ Murasoli spewing venom on the weekly magazines Kalki and Vikatan, calling their editors as ‘Poonal wearing Paappaans” (sacred thread wearing Brahmins; Paappaan is a derogatory term for Brahmin), because of their constructive criticism against his government.

It is relevant to view his rationalism, anti-Brahmanism, and so-called love for Tamil culture in the context of the forthcoming millennium celebrations of the Thanjavur Temple.

In 2007, when danseuse Padma Subramaniam laid the foundation for the Bharat Muni Temple, he refused to send greetings contending that only Ilango Adigal, who wrote Silappatikaram expounded the nuances of Bharat Natyam and not Bharat Muni. He added that building a memorial for Bharat Muni is a revival of Aryan oppression of Dravidians. It is true Ilango Adigal has comprehensively written about the nuances of Art and even the measurements of the arangam (auditorium) meticulously, but it is also held that Bharat Natyam is divine, founded by Bharat Muni, much before the time of Ilango Adigal, who only expounded upon an art form already in practice. It is said the real reason for Karunanidhi’s angst was that the temple was build on a 5-acre plot donated by the previous Jayalalithaa government; Padma was a good friend of Jayalalithaa.

Padma SubramniamBut Kalaignar facilitated a classical dance program by Padma Subramniam and her team in the recently held DMK jamboree called World Classical Tamil Conference. On 25 September 2010, the dancer will perform during the millennium celebrations of the Thanjavur Big Temple; the massive troupe will include 1000 dancers. So the chief minister knows how to promote himself and his pet causes.

The Thanjavur Big Temple has a jinx; any VIP who enters the temple premises through the main entrance called Keralanthan gate would lose power or fall ill or lose even his life within a few days. This gained credibility when former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated and former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran had a serious stroke, both in 1984, after using the said entrance.

During the last kumbabishekam (consecration) of the Big Temple in 1997, when the yagasala caught fire and about 45 persons, mostly women and 5 children, died and more than 200 were injured, the then Chief Minister Karunanidhi made a flying visit to Thanjavur to see the spot and meet the victims. He never took the main Keralanthaan entrance and entered via the side entrance called the Sivaganga Park gate.

Now, for the millennium celebrations, the Sivaganga Park entrance has been enlarged by demolishing the nearby wall and removing many plants from the park and laying a special pathway for VIPs – all to avoid entering the temple through the main gate. So much for Dravidian Rationalism!

Raja GopuramFor the rationalist Kalaignar, Rama and Ganesha are mythical characters; Rama Setu is a mythical bridge; Ramayana is a myth. But the jinx attached to the Thanjavur Big Temple is a reality!

If he is a true disciple of E.V. Ramasamy, Karunanidhi must enter the temple through the main entrance.

If he is a true follower of Annadurai, Karunanidhi must enter the temple through the main entrance.

If he wants to prove to his party cadres that he is a true rationalist, disciple of EVR and follower of Annadurai, he must enter the temple through the main entrance.

If he is a product of the so-called Self Respect Movement, Karunanidhi must protect his party’s self respect by entering the temple through the main entrance.

He will be respected as a ‘Brave Tamil’ only if he enters the temple through the main entrance.

Will he?

» The author is a freelancer


Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, Sept. 26, 2010

RATIONALISM EXITS MAIN DOOR: Karuna enters Big Temple but skips ‘jinxed’ gate — K. Karthikeyan & S. Thirunavukarasu

THANJAVUR: Chief minister M. Karunanidhi slipped in through the side gate, avoiding the ‘jinxed’ main entrance, to enter the Big Temple celebrating its grand millennium here on Saturday.

Notwithstanding his oft-repeated assertions of rationalist ideals as a follower of the late Dravidian social reformer E.V.R. Periyar, the DMK leader did not want to take chances using the ‘unlucky’ main gates of the Brihadeeswarar Temple, popularly known as the Big Temple for its architectural splendour that has seen a thousand years of Tamil civilisation.

Some of the VIPs who had used the main way into the temple suffered — Indira Gandhi lost power and M.G. Ramachandran fell ill and did not recover. With the state elections expected in about six months, the ‘atheist’ DMK chief did not want to take chances and chose to skip that ‘jinxed’ gate.

The chief minister did a bit of dress change too. He wore a silk dhoti and silk shirt, with a silk angavastram, and gave up the yellow silk shawl, which he has been using for covering the shoulders for the last several months reportedly because some astrologer insisted that yellow is his lucky colour.

There has been much speculation among political circles and also in the media over whether or not Mr Karunanidhi would choose to preserve his rationalist image and defy superstition by using the main gate to enter the Brihadeeswarar Temple.

In the past, he has chastised his party seniors and ministers when they were `caught’ taking part in temple rituals, such as walking on fire at festivals and sporting kumkum.

Mr Karunanidhi had termed fire-walking as a barbarian practice and even asked one minister with kumkum why he was bleeding from the forehead.

Earlier, the chief minister had enjoyed the performance of the Tamil oduvaars (those singing in praise of God), who sang for an hour the compositions of Saint Arunagirinathar on Lord Muruga (to whom there is a shrine in the Brihadeeswarar Temple). It was even announced at the stage that the chief minister had requested the oduvaars to sing Arunagirinathar’s songs.

The master of ceremony announced before the recitation that Othuvars, on the request of chief minister, would sing in praise of Thanjavur. However, Othuvars recited Arnagirinadar’s composition which was in praise of the Lord Muruga temple situated within the Big Temple.

The chief minister driven by progressive ideology also enjoyed it equally well when the 1,000 dancers performed Ganapathi Gowdhvam, which is dedicated to Lord Ganesh before starting any event.

Not to mention movements of dancers for the Tiruvisaippa composed in praise of Lord Shiva by Rajaraja Cholan’s spiritual guru Karuvur Thevar and Siva Panchaksharam by Adi Sankarar kept the CM glued to the podium wherefrom the artists performed.

The octogenarian chief minister enjoyed the cultural cum ‘religious’ jamboree in the company of his family and his team of central and state ministers. Chief Minister’s grand daughter Sornam Mutharasi and great grand daughter Ilakiya and Tourism minister Suresh Rajan’s daughter Poomalai were among the dancers.

The chief minister driven by progressive ideology also enjoyed it equally well when the 1,000 dancers performed Ganapathi Gowdhvam, which is dedicated to Lord Ganesh before starting any event.

The New Indian Express, Chennai, Sept. 25, 2010

Speculation on CM avoiding jinx, but govt says he’ll make it

Chief Minister M Karunanidhi skipped the inauguration of a research session held as part of the millennial celebrations of the Big Temple here on Friday, raising doubts again on whether he would enter its vintage precincts at all.

Speculation was rife that the DMK veteran might give Thanjavur a miss despite the official announcement that he would be arriving in Tiruchy on Saturday . Besides witnessing a dance performance by 1,000 artistes, led by Bharatanatyam exponent Padma Subramaniam, and a drama on the life of king Rajaraja Chola (985-1014), Karunanidhi is slated to take part in Sunday’s valedictory function.

Yet, citing the belief relating to a jinx associated with top leaders entering the Big Temple through the main gate, called Keralanthagan, locals recalled the 1984 visits of prime minister Indira Gandhi and chief minister M G Ramachandran. Indira Gandhi was assassinated soon after and Ramachandran took ill. Though Karunanidhi, a die-hard rationalist, was not expected to be taken in by such superstitions, his failure to turn up on Friday had the rumour mills whirring with stories of his being dissuaded from visiting the temple by some members of his family.

But sources said the chief minister could not go only because he suffered a sore throat and that a close relative of his wife

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6 Responses

  1. The New Indian Express, Chennai, Sept. 26, 2010

    Chief Minister ends days of speculation, avoids ill-fated Keralanthagan gate to attend millennial celebrations of Thanjavur’s Brihadeeshwara Temple

    CHIEF Minister M Karunanidhi on Saturday skipped the Keralanthagan gate of the Big Temple that is believed to have brought bad luck to those political leaders who passed through it to enter the temple.

    Karunanidhi reached the dais inside the temple premises through a side entrance to witness the Bharatanatyam programme by over 1,000 dancers, organised as part of the millennium celebrations of the temple.

    He also dispensed with his trademark yellow shawl, preferring a silk angawasthram to go with a silk shirt and dhoti for the occasion.

    The Bharatanatyam was led by Padma Subrahmanyam. The songs included Sivapanchakshara Sthuti, a Sanskrit devotional song composed by Adi Sankara, verses from Ganapathy Kauthuvam, also in Sanskrit and verses of Thiruvisaippa in Tamil, composed by Karuvur Thevar.

    Immediately after reaching the dais, Karunanidhi asked the odhuvars to recite some Tamil hymns in praise of the Big Temple and they obliged with a Tamil song composed by Saint Arunagirinathar. The programme was viewed in more than 150 countries. Most of the Chief Minister’s family members attended the function while his elder son and Union Minister M K Azhagiri was conspicuous by his absence.

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  2. Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi on a 4 hour fast (between breakfast and lunch).

    Tamil Nadu chief minister Karunanidhi on a 4 hour fast (between breakfast and lunch!) in support of some ‘Dravidian’ non-issue with two A/Cs in attendance! This is the “respected senior leader” who only the other day ran to the airport to greet Sonia Gandhi though such trips are not part of accepted political protocol. He has also returned to his Brahmin-baiting mode and is loudly pronouncing his silly racist theories. Thamizhchelvan has got it right. The man is afraid that his little kingdom is about to fall.

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  3. I am at a loss to know what is the purpose of this article.

    What if the “Tamil Nadu Chief Minister (CM) has survived by adopting a ‘divide & rule’ policy conceived by the British in distortion of our history and civilisation? For, if that is so clearly visible why should a person fall a prey to it? What happened to the individual’s wisdom so as ‘not to fall a victim’ to such ‘designs’?

    Even assuming that the CM never misses an opportunity to make disparaging remarks about Hindus, ‘Hindu Gods’, philosophy and culture, but simultaneously appeased minorities for their votes”, will not a question arise, if getting the vote is the motto, is it not the ‘appeasing’ of the majority, the ‘Hindus’, he should be attempting to do? Why is he not doing that, has it not ever occurred to such critics?

    While I admit that I am hardly qualified to pass a judgement on the adequacy or inadequacy of Rs. 450 crores having been reportedly allotted for the renovation of temples by Tamil Nadu government, or, whether it is a pittance or otherwise in comparison to the revenue the government gets from the temples by means of contributions made by ‘Hindu bhaktas’, I can, without any hesitation, say that it will not do any good to connect a person’s ideology, which is his personal matter, to the work he does as a ruler. So, it is pointless to get worked up on the news paper ‘hypes’ like, “TN CM is full of Karuna and Nidhi for Temples.” “Tamil Nadu CM turns temple patron”.
    What can we say if the “observers of TN politics are ‘intelligent enough’ to be aware of the CM’s ‘dubiousness’ in this regard, but the ‘major section of the people’ of Tamil Nadu has not understood his double standards”! It is up to the people to make judgement whether it is the fault of the CM or that of the people!!

    Leave alone the CM asking, “When temple towers have nude sculptures and when nude Gods and Goddesses are kept inside the temples, what is wrong in having a well dressed EVR outside the temple?” etc. This can be a question even in the minds of many neutral people and is it not up to the ‘Hindu scholars’ to clarify if they choose to but not find fault with a person asking.

    I fail to understand, why we should we even appear to take note of such comments, of a non-believer, as “Lord Ganesha was born in Vathapi (Karnataka) and was brought to Tamil Nadu from there during Pallava period and hence he is not a Tamil God”, or his launching his TV Channel (Kalaignar TV) on the ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ day, or his not making insulting remarks about the ‘younger brother of Ganesha’ who is revered and worshipped as a “Tamil God”. Same is the case with his comments on Rama at the peak of the Rama Sethu Protection Movement. His comments get attracted only because of the fact that he is a non-believer. One can atleast definitely know that as a non-believer his stance is not expected to be favouring religeous beliefs. But what do we do in the case of many a ‘believers’, who are silently causing havoc to the culture of this country? It will not even be visible.

    If the remarks like, “Tulsi Das had written in his Ramayana that Sita was the sister of Rama and Valmiki had written that Rama was a drunkard,” etc., are ‘exposing’ his knowledge of Tulsi Ramayana and Valmiki Ramayana, then that ‘eposure’ will be good enough for the believers to show his true colour is it not? Why then worry?

    It is hardly worth to pass comment on whether or not he has criticized Krishna, or worships him in secrecy, as a Krishna temple just opposite his residence!!
    May I also ask how rational it would be, if one expects greetings on Hindu festival days from the so called ‘Hindu abusing’ Chief Minister?

    It also exposes a person’s running out of arguments if he starts looking at why a person should wear a particular colour shawl and attribute motives as he pleases, the childish attitude of the CM to respond to such frivolous comments notwithstanding. Also what is there to be observed as peculiar in the CM conveniently avoiding criticizing anything connected with Tamil, be it God, festival, or culture? Why should we expose our shallowness by saying that it is his selective amnesia that makes him forget that his ‘mentor’ EVR was a Kannadiga from Karnataka, and he himself has a Telugu ancestry and Telugu as his mother tongue and so on?

    His statement “I am not against Brahmins, but only against Brahmanism. Brahmanism practiced by people of any caste will be opposed by me and my party” has nothing to do with his keeping many Brahmins around him in important posts. It will only strengthen his stand that he does not act with any prejudice against individuals based on their caste.

    While it may be true that his indulgence in spewing venom on some of the weekly magazines, addressing their editors by their caste in a derogatory way, because of their constructive criticism against his government is un warranted, but if people are intelligent they can teach lesson through their franchise, not by going on lamenting.

    His not sending greetings on the eve of foundation laying for Bharata muni temple by danseuse Pama Subrahmanyam is his personal choice and he is entitled to his views for taking such an action and it will be childish to attribute motives, even if they are true. But he is intelligent enough to demonstrate that he nurses no animosity to the same dancer by facilitating a classical dance program by her in some other programmes as admitted by the author.

    I am surprised to see so much pains has been taken by the author to ‘demostrate’ the ‘secret superstitious attitude’ ‘nursed’ by the chief minister, elaborating the choice of a particular ‘safe’ entry to The Thanjavur Big Temple and his ‘spirited challenge’ to Karunanidhi to enter the temple through the ‘notorious’ main entrance . Such things will only make the article ‘spicy’ for reading and not paint the chief minister in the intended colour!

    I do not hold any brief for the CM or his ideology. All I am trying to say is, let us not waste our time on useless criticisms. My humble opinion is that our aim shall be to project our culture as strongly as possible and unite people on the basis of the culture and keep the ‘majority vote bank’ in tact. If we can not achieve that, nothing worthwhile is going to be achieved by discussing matters which do not even warrant our attention.

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    • Well, for somebody who fails to understand the purpose of an article that is hardly worth to pass comment on, you seem to have found the time to pass quite a long-winded comment! So all is not lost–is it?

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      • That is correct , let the loss of my time turn out to be some one’s gain- of wisdom.

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        • There is no wisdom in your replies, only hot air. And a lot of pretension in the second reply. To be expected in a windbag enamored of his own words.

          You are also dishonest. You say you are not defending Karunanidhi. But of course you are. How much did the party pay you for your time?

          Anyway, the old goat chickened out. Hindu ‘superstition’ defeated Dravidian racist ‘rationalism’.

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