Kuntathoor police firing, Arivagam

10. 1950-1951: First DMK State Conference and Other Activities

Chapter 10
"Political History of the Rise and Fall of Dravidian Parties in Tamil Nadu (South India)"

Thanjai Nalankilli, Ph.D.

TAMIL TRIBUNE, June 2006 (ID. 2006-06-01)
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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



1. Baton Changes Hands

2. First DMK State Conference

3. In Search of a Daily Party Newspaper

4. Headquarters Building

5. Kuntathoor Meeting and Police Firing

6. Black Flag Demonstrations

7. Other


DK - Dravidar Kazhagam

DMK - Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

1. Baton Changes Hands

Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) and its predecessor, Neethi Katchi (Justice Party), influenced the Tamil society from 1916 to 1950 and set the course for changes in the social and political fronts for years to come. From then on it was DMK and its offshoots that made their marks in Tamil Nadu, especially in the political arena. Though Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) was still active and had substantial membership, it was the young Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) that was in public view more and more in the early 1950s and then on. The baton has already changed hands from DK to DMK.

2. First DMK State Conference

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) had a very busy agenda in 1950 and 1951. From its birth on September 17, 1949 to the end of 1951, it held 12 district conferences, number of special conferences such as the Students Conference, Women's Conference and Social Reform Conference, and numerous public meetings in every town and city in the Tamil areas of Madras State. These activities culminated with the First State Conference in Madras on December 13-16, 1951.

An interesting display at the state conference was maps of all districts showing the mineral and agricultural wealth of each; in essence, DMK was showing that Tamil Nadu is viable as an independent country. Annadurai came to hoist the party flag on the evening of December 13, 1951. As he stood by the flag post, Dravida Nadu National Song was sung. Then he hoisted the flag amid thunderous shouts of "Dravida Nadu for Dravidians". In addition to the many speeches by party leaders, there were also music programmes throughout the conference. In addition a Telugu drama was staged on the first night (December 13) and Tamil dramas were staged on the second, third and fourth nights.

3. In Search of a Daily Party Newspaper

Malai Mani newspaper that served as DMK's official organ from August 10, 1949 ceased publication on July 20, 1950 because of financial losses (NOTE 1). Annadurai attempted to convert his magazine Dravida Nadu into a daily newspaper. He said that he would need 100,000 Rupees for the transition but received only about 13,500 Rupees in donations from party members and sympathizers. So that effort failed. Being in need of a party newspaper, Malai Mani was restarted with M. Karunanidhi as editor. It continued for two years and then again ceased publication. DMK leaders continued to seek ways to publish a daily newspaper again. The new DMK newspaper Nam Nadu (Our Country) came out on June 15, 1953 and continued for a few years. Annadurai was its editor. NOTE 1: DMK was formed only in September 1949 but Malai Mani was started in August 1949 to bring out the views of those who were rebelling against DK leadership and would later form DMK (see Chapter 6).

4. Headquarters Building

DMK needed a building to house its headquarters. A call for donations was issued, and received about 26,000 Rupees from members and supporters. DMK bought a building for 30,000 Rupees in Madras (Chennai) on Surya Narayana Chetty Street. The building was named Arivagam (House of Wisdom). V. M. John opened the new headquarters building on December 2, 1951.

5. Kuntathoor Meeting and Police Firing

DMK planned to hold a public meeting in Kuntathoor (near Madras) on October 26, 1950. Government banned that meeting. DMK went ahead with plans to hold the meeting in spite of the ban. N. V. Natarajan was to chair the meeting. He was arrested on his way to the meeting from Madras (Chennai). On hearing of the arrest, DMK cadres gathered in Kuntathoor started a protest march. Police lathi-charged (baton-charged) the protesters and also arrested a few. Still there was a crowd at the venue. So police opened fire on the crowd injuring a few. This high-handed police action generated some public sympathy for DMK.

5. Black Flag Demonstrations

DMK's back flag demonstrations of 1950 and 1951 are discussed in Chapter 11.

7. Other

A "historical decision" about the 1952 general election was made at the DMK General Council meeting on November 17, 1951. This decision and the election activities are discussed in Chapter 12.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Some Tamil names are spelled differently by different people. Here are some variations of names used in this chapter:

Arivagam - Arivakam, Arivaham
Dravidar Kazhagam - Dravidar Kazagam

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