The Rajya Sabha MP later expressed regret over his comment that the appointment of Dalit judges was alms given by the Dravidian movement.

news Controversy Monday, February 17, 2020 - 17:02

DMK Organising Secretary and Rajya Sabha MP RS Bharathi came under severe criticism for his derogatory remarks against marginalised communities and the media went viral on Monday. 

The 12-minute long video, which was uploaded on YouTube, was shot at an event on Saturday under the auspices of Kalaignar Readers’ Circle in the DMK Youth Wing headquarters Anbagam in Chennai. In the event, RS Bharathi gives a speech about the significance of the Dravidian movement. 

“If Tamil Nadu is the best state in the country, it was because of the Dravidian movement,” he said. The lawyer then goes on to claim that the appointment of Dalits as High Court judges was because of the “alms” given by the Dravidian movement. “No ‘Harijan’ (an abusive term for Dalits) has become the judge of the High Court in Madhya Pradesh. But in Tamil Nadu, after Kalaignar became the Chief Minister, A Varadarajan (became the first Dalit judge in Madras High Court). After him, around seven or eight from the Adi Dravidar community became the judges in the High Court. This was alms given by the Dravidian movement,” Bharathi said.

Pointing to the dominance of Brahmins in the judiciary, the DMK MP alleged, “Now again they (Brahmins) are back in court. I am telling you out of angst, the Supreme Court has become an RSS centre.”

RS Bharathi also slammed BJP National Secretary H Raja for claiming that Tamil Nadu would get liberation only when it does away with the Dravidian movement. Emphasising Karunanidhi’s role in enabling many from marginalised communities to realise their academic dreams, RS Bharathi said that not many know about this since the old-timers have forgotten to explain the significance of the movement to the younger generation. 

Highlighting that the party is not against Hindus and Hinduism, he said, “If DMK people don’t go to temples, the Iyers (priests) won’t get money. Half the people in this hall have vermilion and holy ash on their foreheads. Even I have a thread in my wrist… I am compelled to bring this up. It is being portrayed that we are against Hindus… We build temples, we paint temples but we are not allowed inside temples… That is what we are opposing.” 

The Rajya Sabha MP also made objectionable remarks against the media. “These journalists have no other jobs. They don’t write about anything that others are doing. Kejriwal worked with Prakash Kishore (Prashant Kishore), media didn’t care about it. Narendra Modi used (Prashant Kishore), media didn’t cover it… But the moment he came to Tamil Nadu to DMK, the media is talking about it in debates due to angst,” he alleged. His words come after widespread criticism against the DMK on social media over its move to hire political strategist Prashant Kishore ahead of the 2021 Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu. That the party has decided to join hands with a Brahmin from north India provided fodder for critics on social media a few days ago. 

“I am openly saying, there are no bigger scoundrels like the media. They are running their companies like the red-light areas in Mumbai. Just because they are getting paid, they make a headline out of anything. If Thalapathy (MK Stalin) goes to a temple, it becomes a debate on TV channels. Is that the most important thing for the country now?” he asked. 

After his speech went viral on social media, RS Bharathi expressed regret for his remarks against the marginalised communities. On Monday, he tweeted, “I understand that some words I spoke at an event organised by Kalaignar Readers Circle in Chennai's Anbagam has hurt the sentiments of the oppressed persons. I express regret for that. My intention was not to hurt them, but to just highlight the good things Kalaignar has done for them.”

He, however, has not expressed regret or apologised for his remarks against the media. Many journalists took to Twitter to criticise the DMK MP for his derogatory speech.