Kashi-Tamil Sangaman: Modi bid to break Dravidian stranglehold

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, November 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi often quotes Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar in his speeches. Modi has richly hailed Tamil language from forum such as the United Nations. He visits Tamil Nadu often despite the ruling DMK building boycott campaign against him on social media with hashtag GoBackModi.

On Saturday, Modi launched the month-long Kashi-Tamil Sangam on the Banaras Hindu University campus in Varanasi, which is also the Parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister. The programme is a showcase event of the Central government, which has brought several Tamil scholars, musicians, artists and others to celebrate the cultural bonding of Tamil Nadu and Kashi.

The BJP’s ultimate challenger for the victory of its ideology lies in Tamil Nadu. The BJP under the mentorship of its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) would want its idea of cultural march to enter Tamil Nadu. The BJP has been watching with frustration the consolidation of Tamil nationalism, with the ruling DMK being the flagbearer of extreme regionalism.

The DMK spearheaded the freeing of the assassins of late Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister, which was endorsed by the Supreme Court. The DMK has also spearheaded the campaign against Modi’s pet project – 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS). The Supreme Court, however, trashed the campaign of the DMK brought before the apex court by the Tamil Nadu-based lawyers.

The BJP is eying a space in Tamil Nadu, hoping that the state would become a fertile ground for the saffron outfit since the AIADMK without the late J Jayalalitha is headless and without ideas in the state politics. The BJP, riding on the Modi brand, wants to keep trying to taste the waters of Tamil Nadu politics, and may stay for a long haul to force an acceptance of the party in the state.

Tamil Nadu politics has been built around an anti-North and anti-Hindi narrative, spearheaded by the DMK. The ruling dispensation in Tamil Nadu has also been at the loggerheads with the Modi government over NEET medical examination and the National Education Policy. The state government has sent about two dozen legislative bills to negate the Central laws to the Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi, which are gathering dusts at the Raj Bhavan.

Throwing light on the connection between Kashi and Tamil Nadu, Modi said: “Kashi is the cultural capital of India, whereas Tamil culture is the centre of India’s antiquity and pride. The Kashi-Tamil Sangam is equally holy which engulfs endless opportunities and strength in itself.”

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