Dravida Munnetra Kazagam (DMK)

7. Birth of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)

Chapter 7
"Political History of the Rise and Fall of Dravidian Parties in Tamil Nadu (South India)"

Thanjai Nalankilli, Ph.D.

TAMIL TRIBUNE, February 2006 (ID. 2006-02-01)
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Table of Contents of the book "Political History of the Rise and Fall of Dravidian Parties in Tamil Nadu (South India)"and links to other chapters


DK - Dravidar Kazhagam

DMK - Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

Dravidar Kazhagam Administrative Committee (Nirvaka Kuzhu) met on September 17, 1949 in Chennai. Periyar did not attend. Members discussed the situation in the aftermath of Periyar-Maniammai marriage. Following these discussions, C. N. Annadurai read out a statement. Here are the key points of that statement (translated from Tamil by author. Words within square parentheses are added by translator for clarification):

"Dravidar Kazhagam work has stopped for the past two months because many cadres do not wish to work under the leadership of Periyar E. V. Ramaswamy Naicker [because of their displeasure with the marriage]. The "rebels" have the majority to replace Periyar as party president. But is it the right action at this time? Linguistic imperialism has been established [referring to making Hindi the official language of India]. State legislatures have been reduced to Delhi's [Indian Central Government's] puppets on a string. Workers problems are increasing. Economic situation in the country is deteriorating. Is it the right time to vote for replacing Periyar as DK President? We could call a special meeting, pass a no-confidence motion against Periyar and elect a new leader. But we know that Periyar would not accept it. He would continue to act as DK President. So there would be two Dravidar Kazhagams; one under Periyar and another under the new leadership. This would pave way for opportunists and fascists to destroy the country. Even if we win after prolonged action, the quarrels between the two groups would result in public disapproval. Thus removing Periyar would not strengthen our efforts in achieving our basic goals. What are important are not the Dravidar Kazhagam party label. What is important is our goals and our action plans [to achieve our goals]. So I suggest that we form a new party under the name "Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam" (DMK) (Dravidian Progressive Party). [When Annadurai talks of "our goals", he was referring to Dravidar Kazhagam's basic ideals and goals we discussed in Chapter 2. He was not referring to the "goal" of removing Periyar leadership. This is evident when one reads the complete statement.]"

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) considers the day of this statement (September 17, 1949) as the date of birth of the party.

Following Annadurai's statement, the Administrative Committee passed a resolution to form an Organization Commmittee (Amaippu Kuzhu). Members of the Committee were K. K. Neelamegam, A. Siththaiyan, K. V. K. Swamy, S. Muthu, G. Parangusam, K, Govindaswamy, and N. V. Natarajan.

The Organization Committee met the next morning (September 18, 1949) and issued a statement forming the new party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) (Dravidian Progressive Party). They also formed a 110-member General Committee (Pothu Kazhu) and a few smaller committees, such as the Finance Committee (Nithi Kuzhu) and the Publicity Committee (Pirachchaara Kuzhu). The Organization Committee invited C. N. Annadurai to become its first General-Secretary. This was the top post in the party. The president post was kept open (supposedly for Periyar E. V. Ramaswamy Naicker to occupy it when and if he wishes to come over to DMK and unite with them). The president post was kept open for many years until a political crisis necessitated the filling of the post. This was after the death of C. N. Annadurai. We will discuss it in a later chapter.

The design of the DMK flag was as follows: A two-colour rectangular flag with the top half black and the bottom half red. Black color reflected the dark political, economical and social situation of Dravidians. Red color signified "rising sunlight" that removes the darkness. The red rises from the bottom and is expected to slowly remove all the darkness. Years later when DMK contested elections, it would take "rising sun" as the party symbol.

Inaugural function of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) was held on the evening of September 18, 1949 at Royapuram Robinson Park in Chennai. Peththampalayam Palaniswamy presided over the function. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was born. A new chapter in the history of Dravidian parties has begun.

SUMMARY: Birth of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in 1949 because of differences with Periyar E. V. Ramaswamy Naicker. C. N. Annadurai's statement.

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
Periyar - Periar
Naicker - Nayakkar, Nayakar

FIS060119    2006-a1d

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