Annihilation of caste is nothing but merging with mainstream: Thol Thirumavalavan

Speaking to Express, the Lok Sabha MP reiterated that the alliance was crucial to keep the secular votes intact. 

Published: 12th March 2021 03:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th March 2021 03:35 AM   |  A+A-

Thol Thirumavalavan

Express News Service

CHENNAI: For Dalit politics to be mainstreamed, alliance with bigger parties cannot be ignored. That’s the idea that VCK founder Thol Thirumavalavan is following this election year, despite widespread discontentment among his party cadre with the number of seats allocated to it in the DMK camp. Speaking to Express, the Lok Sabha MP reiterated that the alliance was crucial to keep the secular votes intact. 

“I still endorse what social reformer and BSP founder Kanshi Ram had once said, that Dalit politics must be independent rather than being dependent on bigger parties for meagre seats. I take that argument in the right spirit. He pitches for consolidation and organisation of Dalits in a constructive manner. However, there is a need for Dalit parties to enter the mainstream. Isolation is an important aspect of casteism.

By aligning and working with bigger parties, we are merging people with the mainstream... introducing them to newer politics and power structures,” the Parliamentarian explained. “Annihilation of caste is nothing but merging with the mainstream. Keeping ourselves away is not right approach... that may have been helpful only in the initial stages. Even BSP had to enter into an alliance with BJP at some point in time,” he added. “Now, VCK has a support base across the State... cadres at the grassroots level. We are respected and valued among educated masses, intellectuals, democratic forces, and women... much beyond our image as a Dalit party.”    

Dalit politics, he said, must be seen as a phenomenon across the country. “In the name of caste, Dalits are subjected to exploitation across the nation... not just in Tamil Nadu. In politics, Dalit parties are sidelined... again, across the country.” Then, what about parties fielding Dalit candidates in reserved constituencies? Thiruma thinks the practice is just humbug. “Without reserved constituencies, no parties are going to give priority to Dalits. There is no such mindset in this society.

Even Dalits in reserved constituencies are either under the control of their respective political parties or caste Hindus. It is in anticipation of this that Dr BR Ambedkar had sought for dual voting power and separate electorate,” he said. When asked why there aren’t more young Dalit icons in Tamil politics, like a Chandrashekhar Azad of Bhim Army or Vadgam (Gujarat) MLA Jignesh Mevani, Thiruma attributed it to the lack of student politics in the State.

“Azad emerged due to generation gap between BSP leadership with the younger population. In Tamil Nadu, VCK is filling that space. If there is a lacunae, new faces will emerge. We are politicising and  educating youngsters and women and ensuring this gap is as narrow as possible,” he said.


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