4. August 15, 1947: A Day of Joy or Grievance?
TAMIL TRIBUNE, October 2005 (ID. 2005-10-01)
DK - Dravidar Kazhagam
The British colonial rulers announced that they would leave the Indian Subcontinent on August 15, 1947. The British colonial possessions in the subcontinent would be divided into two countries: India and Pakistan. Madras Province would become part of India. (Madras Province consisted of much of today's Tamil Nadu State, parts of Andhra Pradesh State and a few other pieces of adjacent areas.)
Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) held meetings in towns and cities throughout the Madras Province (mostly in Tamil areas) on July 1, 1947 to explain to the public the need for independent Dravida Nadu, separate from India. This was the first step in gathering further public support and agitating for independence.
DK President Periyar E. V. Ramaswamy Naicker announced that Dravidians should observe August 15, 1947 as a day of mourning, because, from that day, Dravidians would be ruled by northerners and Aryans who dominated the Congress Party and thus the Indian Government. He made this announcement without consulting the second level leaders, including General-Secretary Annadurai. Annadurai had a differing view on August 15, 1947. He published his disagreement with Periyar in his magazine Dravida Nadu. He took the position that Dravidians should celebrate the departure of British colonial rulers. It was Periyar who inducted Annadurai into politics. Ever since, Annadurai was his protégé. Annadurai's public disagreement over August 15 soured his relationship with his mentor. They will reconcile only in October 1948, as will be discussed in the next chapter. (Not everyone disagreed with Periyar. Many party cadres and leaders agreed with Periyar's position.)
While Periyar and Annadurai took diametrically opposite views on whether to mourn or celebrate the Indian Independence Day, their views on the status of Dravidians in post-British India was the same. They both held the view, and stated in their respective statements, that Dravidians would be dominated by northerners and Aryans in post-British India and the solution was to gain independence for Dravida Nadu. It is a matter of viewing August 15, 1947 as "glass half-full" or "glass half-empty". Periyar E. V. Ramaswamy Naicker saw the departure of the British and the transfer of power to a northern, Aryan dominated Indian Government as a sad event in Dravidian history. Annadurai saw the end of British colonial rule as a step towards independent Dravida Nadu--first independence from the British, next independence from northerners and Aryans. This view was clearly spelled out in Annadurai's statement (article) published in his magazine Dravida Nadu. Here are some excerpts from that announcement (translated by author from Tamil). Materials within square parentheses [ ] are by the translator to clarify and put matters within proper context.
EDITORIAL NOTE: Some Tamil names are spelled differently by different people. Here are some variations of names used in this chapter:
Dravidar Kazhagam - Dravidar Kazagam
[SUMMARY: Periyar EVR and Annadurai disagreed on whether Indian independence day was a day of celebration or a day of mourning, although both held the view that Dravidians would be dominated by northerners and Aryans in post-British India and the solution was to gain independence for Dravida Nadu.]
1. Why DK and DMK initially asked for Independent Dravida Nadu and later moved towards Independent Tamil Nadu (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, May 2005 (14 KB)
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