Speaking against love, shaming their own women
By S Mannar Mannan | ENS | Published: 19th November 2012 08:51 AM |
Love is blind. But not so for politicians who believe in blindly opposing things, or so it seems.
Over the past week, politics has struck Cupid in Tamil Nadu. Leaders of two parties - Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam (KMK) - which hold sway over sizeable caste Hindu votes have openly criticised inter-caste love marriages.
To be precise, they have strongly disapproved of Dalit boys falling in love and marrying caste Hindu girls.
While the PMK is dominated by Vanniyars, the KMK largely comprises Kongu Vellala Gounders. Both PMK founder S Ramadoss and KMK organising secretary G K Nagaraj have claimed that Dalit boys were being instigated by their leaders to entrap girls from the dominant Hindu castes and are later left in the lurch.
“This is a false propaganda against Dalits and Dalit leaders. There is no statistics to substantiate their claims. How many Kongu Vellalar women have married youth from the Arunthathiyar community in Coimbatore or other districts,” asks D Ravikumar, a Dalit writer and former Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi MLA.
In rural Tamil Nadu, it is common for the Backward Community and Most Backward Community chieftains to vehemently oppose marriages with a SC boy or girl. The recent arson in Dharmapuri where 268 homes of Dalits were burnt down by a Vanniyar mob was triggered by the marriage of a Vanniyar girl with a SC boy.
“Kongu Vellalars are an economically and socially dominant community, whereas the Dalits are still struggling for their survival. They are still in backward state in education, economy and employment,” points out Ravikumar.
According to him, on the other hand sexual exploitation of Arunthathiyar women by other community men is rampant. “I doubt if Dalit youth have gained a social status where they are loved by upper caste women,” he says adding that by levelling ridiculous charges the leaders (of PMK and KMK) only defamed women of their own communities.
S Anandhi, Associate Professor of Madras Institute of Development Studies, feels such charges are being raised to gain political mileage.
“Parties like PMK have understood that they cannot win elections and so they have taken caste politics into their hands,” she charges.