Amidst continued backlash against Tamil Nadu Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin for his comments against Sanatana Dharma, filmmaker Pa Ranjith has defended his views and condemned the “hate” against him. Ranjith also noted that Udhayanidhi’s remarks were in line with the views expressed by leaders such as Ambedkar and Phule. “Minister Udhayanidhi’s statement calling for abolishment of Sanatana Dharma is the core principle of anti-caste movement for centuries. The roots of inhumane practices in the name of caste and gender lies in the Sanatana Dharma,” Ranjith said on Tuesday, September 5, while expressing solidarity with the DMK leader.
“Revolutionary leader Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, anti-caste reformers such as Iyotheedass Panditar, Thantai Periyar, Mahatma Phule, Sant Ravidas have all advocated the same in their anti-caste ideology,” Ranjith said.
A huge controversy erupted after Udhayanidhi participated in the Sanatanam (Sanatana Dharma) Abolition Conclave organised by the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers Forum on September 2. Speaking at the event, Udhayanidhi said that Sanatana Dharma was against the idea of social justice, and called for its eradication.
“I congratulate the organisers for naming the conference as 'eradication of Santana dharma' instead of 'opposing Sanatana Dharma'... There are certain things which we have to eradicate and we cannot merely oppose. Mosquitoes, dengue, corona and malaria are things which we cannot oppose, we have to eradicate them. Sanatanam is also like this. Eradication and not opposing Sanatanam has to be our first task,” Udhayanidhi said. His remarks drew backlash and were condemned by BJP leaders and other right-wing groups as they interpreted it as advocating for ‘genocide’ of the followers of Sanatana Dharma.
The Minister later clarified that he had not called for genocide. He pointed out that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had often called for a ‘Congress-Mukt Bharat’ but that didn’t mean that he was calling for all Congress members to be killed.
Pa Ranjith also condemned the misinterpretation of the Minister’s remarks. “The malignant attitude of distorting the minister’s statement and misappropriating it as a call for genocide is unacceptable. The growing hate and hunt for the minister’s is very disturbing. I stand in support of Udhaynidhi’s words calling for eradication of Sanatana Dharma to establish a society with social justice and equality. My solidarity to minister Udhayanidhi Stalin!”
Reacting to Udhayanidhi’s comments, Ayodhya’s Tapasvi Chhawani Temple’s seer Ramchandra Das Paramhans Acharya, through a video, announced a reward of Rs 10 crore for anyone who would ‘behead’ the Tamil Nadu Minister. The seer symbolically ‘beheaded’ Udhayanidhi by piercing his photograph with a sword and also set his effigy on fire, expressing his protest against him.