The RSS mouthpiece Vijayabaratham lists out 5 incidents from MGR’s life which ‘proves’ that MGR was ‘pro-Hindu’.

Is the RSS appropriating MGR in Tamil Nadu
Voices Politics Monday, November 07, 2016 - 10:26

Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR, the former CM of Tamil Nadu and the founder of Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, never reportedly subscribed to the atheist ideology of Dravidar Kazhagam despising any form of God. He was a phenomenon in Tamil Nadu for generations together. He is a cultural icon and one of the greatest and most influential actors the Tamil film industry has ever produced. 

MGR was born on January 17, 1917. The upcoming year 2017 is very special in Tamil Nadu, since it happens to the birth centenary year. The ruling AIADMK isn’t making much noise about the celebrations, largely because of the illness of the current Chief Minister and MGR’s successor Jayalalithaa. Looking at the preparations, there seem to be no big plans in the offing for the centenary year celebrations. Although, it has been reported that Jayalalithaa had plans for year-long celebration of MGR’s birth centenary, starting from January 2017.

Amidst this however, a controversy is breaking out in the state with RSS’s Tamil Nadu mouthpiece Vijayabharatham coming up with a column titled “MGR endra Hindu” (“A Hindu called MGR”).

The one-page article in the RSS magazine describes how ‘pro-Hindu’ MGR was and how he differed from the current lot of DMK or Dravidar Kazhagam politicians in treating all religions equally. It has created a controversy, with Veeramani of Dravidar Kazhagam lashing out at RSS & BJP for trying to hijack the legacy of MGR.

The RSS mouthpiece Vijayabaratham lists out 5 incidents from MGR’s life which ‘proves’ that MGR was ‘pro-Hindu’. 

In a series of articles written by MGR for popular magazine Ananta Vikatan, titled “Naan En Pirandhen” (“Why was I born?) he repeatedly insisted on protecting the cows, hinting at his anti-cow slaughter stand.

When the infamous Mandaikadu riots happened in the 80’s in Kanniyakumari between Hindus and Christians, MGR apparently took a pro-Hindu stand.

The famous Cathedral Road in Chennai was renamed as TT Krishnamchari Road during MGR’s period, when Christian organisations across Tamil Nadu created a ruckus. It is widely believed that MGR advised the Hindu organisations to be united like the Christians to create a strong “Hindu Vote Bank”, as protecting the rights of Hindus would be easier.

On the floor of the assembly when there were slogans against Hindu organisations interfering in the Jalakandeswar temple in Vellore, MGR strongly objected to it and opined that when other religions can have their own religious organisations, Hindus too can have one to fight for their cause.

When MGR was the MLA from Parangimalai constituency, he prevented the Church’s plans of renaming Parangimalai to St. Thomas Mount. 

The article has created enough ripples for Veeramani of Dravidar Kazhagam to conduct an emergency meeting and announce that DK will celebrate MGR this year. He has also vowed that they wouldn’t allow MGR’s legacy to be hijacked by Hindutva groups, stressing that MGR is a great social reformer and belonged to the Periyar school of thought.

RSS Spokesperson of Tamil Nadu Sadagopan has an interesting incident to share. During the aftermath of Mandaikadu riots, MGR had called on RSS Leaders like Dhanulinga Nadar and Ramagopalan (Founder of Hindu Munnani) and said, “Christian community has a strong organised vote bank whereas Hindu votes are divided; first make sure Hindu vote bank is an organised one and I assure you I will bring an anti-conversion law in Tamil Nadu.”

Sadagopan also shares another incident. When MGR went to worship at the Mookambikai temple in Karnataka, some reporters asked if he is really from Dravidian School of thought since he was visiting temples, he answered, “I never said I am an atheist and I have my own beliefs which I follow.”

But Sadagopan also says that the RSS never had any plans to celebrate MGR on his birth centenary year. Nonetheless, it is interesting to note that an article in an RSS magazine in Tamil Nadu is able to generate such a controversy.

The writer is an advocate practising in the High Court of Madras & Vice President of BJYM (BJP Youth Wing) of Tamil Nadu.

Note: The views expressed here are the personal opinions of the author.


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