Outrage over Sun TV producing Hindu epic Ramayana

Sun TV is owned by Kalanithi Maran, a close relative of DMK chief MK Stalin.
A screenshot from the promo for Ramayana from Sun TV
A screenshot from the promo for Ramayana from Sun TVX
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Sun TV, the Tamil entertainment channel owned by Kalanithi Maran, has garnered criticism after it announced the production of the Hindu epic Ramayana on Monday, April 29. The announcement was made with a 30-second clip which showed what looked like Ayodhya in sparkling lights and a towering silhouette of the god Ram with his bow and arrow. Several users on X shared their disappointment with Sun TV producing the Ramayana despite it being owned by Kalanithi, a close family member of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president MK Stalin. The move was criticised because the content produced by the TV network does not align with the DMK, a Dravidian party.

The DMK, which came out of the Dravidian movement spearheaded by Periyar, advocates for atheism, rationalism and social justice.

Critics expressed their disappointment  that Sun TV, which is perceived as the mouthpiece of the DMK, chose to produce an epic that has been weaponised by the right-wing parties to spread Hindutva ideology. 

Referring to Kalanithi Maran, writer and activist Meena Kandsamy wrote, “What is the point of being one of the richest men in Asia when you are ideologically bankrupt?”

Another X user recalled an incident where former DMK Chief Minister M Karunanidhi questioned whether there was any history to prove that Ram was an engineer and he constructed a bridge between India and Sri Lanka. The user said, “There is no history to prove the existence of Ram or that he studied engineering or that he built a bridge. Is there any?" asked Karunanidhi. Bollywood churning out Ramayana after Ramayana every month is not enough that Sun TV is now starting a new show on Ramayana.”

One X user pointed out that differentiating between ideology and business is not acceptable. She said, “What kinda crap is this? All this nonsense that business and ideology are different is just not acceptable. Day in and day out we are here fighting for the cause we believe in and you can’t keep doing this.” 

Recently, Kalaignar TV, the unofficial mouthpiece for the DMK also came under fire for broadcasting Bakasuran, a movie directed by controversial filmmaker Mohan G. The movie, which was released in 2023, has been criticised for its stereotypical portrayal of Dalit Christians and regressive ideas on women’s safety. 

Referring to Kalaignar TV’s choice to broadcast Bakasuran and the Ramayana production on Sun TV, another X user said how it is sad that they are dependent on the DMK to speak against religious hatred and casteism.

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