Analyze the significance of the Dravidian movement in the post-independence history of India.
Published: September 16, 2017
Reformation in the caste system has been the prime target of various social reform movements including Dravidian movement.
The roots of the Dravidian movement lies in Brahman-non-Brahman conflict. In 1916, Zamindars and Maharajas in order to counter growing clout of Brahmans in society and politics established South India Welfare Association in Madras Presidency, which later become justice party. On the other hand, E. V. Ramaswamy Naicker (Periyar) was unhappy with Brahmanical dominance To assert the rights of non-Brahmans, he established Self-Respect Movement in 1925.
Dravidian Movement which initiated as a movement against Brahmins, after independence added one more dimension of Anti north orientation. At the time of Independence Periyar boycotted the independence celebration as he thought that now the British dominance will be replaced by the dominance of North India and Congress which was led by Brahmins. Therefore he started the demand for Independent south Indian nation/ Dravida Nadu or Dravidsthan. However, this view was not supported by various other party leaders including CN Annadurai. The movement for Dravida Nadu reached its height during the period of anti-Hindi protests. However, after the 16th Amendment (popularly known as the Anti-Secessionist Amendment), successionist tendency was declared illegal and the demand for politically independent nation faded away.
Apart from that use of Hindi as the official language was opposed by people and politicians of non-Hindi speaking states in general and Tamilnadu in Particular. Even after amendment in 1967, the issue of language has not been resolved for example Tamil Nadu passed a resolution in 2006 to make Tamil the official language of Madras high court.
The Dravidian movement failed to liberate women as well as lower caste. It could not ensure equal rights for them. Also, the ambit of movement was confined only to Tamilnadu. The Dravidian movement may have succeeded in reducing the dominance of the upper castes in administration, however, it has strengthened the middle castes which is the backbone of the rural economy. Without proper land reforms middle-class control rural economy which has kept the lower castes in a continued state of suppression.
However, despite limitations, the Dravidian movement was successful in the abolition of Devadasi system, promotion of inter-caste and inter-religious marriages and legalization of marriages without Brahman priest and therefore reducing brahminical dominance.
Model Questions Category: 009 - Post Independence Consolidation and Reorganization