Tamil nationalism | Wikipedia audio article

Tamil nationalism | Wikipedia audio article


Tamil nationalism is the ideology which asserts
that the Tamil people constitute a nation and promotes the cultural unity of Tamil people.
Tamil nationalism is primarily a secular nationalism, that focus on language and homeland. It expresses
itself in the form of linguistic purism (“Pure Tamil”), nationalism and irredentism (“Tamil
Eelam”), Social equality (“Self-Respect Movement”) and Tamil Renaissance.
Tamils are one of the oldest civilisations in the world with a rich culture and language.
Originally, Tamil people ruled in Tamilakam and parts of Sri Lanka. During the colonial
period, the Tamil areas came under the rule of British India and Ceylon. This saw the
end of the sovereignty of Tamils and reduced them to minority status under a political
model implemented during the British Raj. Since the independence of India and Sri Lanka,
Tamil separatist movements have been actively suppressed in both countries.A famous quote
by Tamil poet Kannadasan about the Tamils as a stateless nation.==Sri Lanka==Since the adoption of the Vaddukoddai Resolution
in 1976 under the leadership of S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, Tamil nationalists in Sri Lanka have repeatedly
attempted to create an independent state (Tamil Eelam) amid the increasing political and physical
violence against ordinary Tamils by the Sri Lankan government which was dominated by Sinhalese
Buddhist nationalism. Shortly after the island’s independence from
Britain, the Sri Lankan government passed the Citizenship Act of 1948, which made more
than a million Tamils of Indian origin stateless. The government also passed a Sinhala Only
Act, which severely threatened the status of Tamil as a minority language, as well as
hindering the social mobility of Tamil speakers.[1]. In addition, the government also initiated
the Sinhalese colonisation scheme, with the aim of lessening the numerical presence of
minorities as well as monopolising traditionally shared economic activities such as agriculture
and fisheries, which have been part of the livelihood of Sri Lankan Tamils since time
immemorial.After anti-Tamil pogroms in 1956, 1958 and 1977 and police brutality against
Tamils protesting against these acts, guerilla groups like Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
(LTTE) were created to safeguard the interest and rights of Tamils in their own land. The
burning of Jaffna library in 1981 and Black July in 1983 finally led to over 25 years
of war between the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tigers. Persistent use of violence,
including assassinations, led the LTTE to be declared as a terrorist organization by
India, Malaysia, the European Union, Canada, and the USA. The civil war came to an end
in 2009 with the military defeat of LTTE and the death of its leader, Prabhakaran. The
Sri Lankan civil war led to death of over 100,000 people according to the United Nations.
The Sri Lankan Government are alleged to have committed war crimes against the civilian
Sri Lankan Tamil people during the final months of the Eelam War IV phase in 2009. A PPT verdict
declared it as a genocide committed against ethnic Tamils by the Sri Lanka, government.
Following the conclusion of the Civil War, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) dropped
their demand for an independent Tamil Eelam in favour of regional autonomy in a remerged
North Eastern Province. The idea of Federalism in Sri Lanka is opposed by the Sri Lankan
Government, which prefers a unitary state.In 2010, the Transnational Government of Tamil
Eelam (TGTE) was founded by Visvanathan Rudrakumaran who aim to create an independent Tamil Eelam
in peaceful democratic means. The Tamil People’s Council (TPC) led by chief minister C. V.
Vigneswaran organized “Eluga Tamil” (“Arise, Tamils) rally in northern Jaffna and eastern
Batticaloa to address that Tamil rights are still refused by Sri Lankan Government.==India==The Indian Tamil Nationalism is the smaller
section of the Dravidian Nationalism which consisted of all the four major Dravidian
language in the South India. The Dravidian Nationalism was popularised by a series of
small movements and organisations that contended that the South Indians, and a cultural entity
that was different from the Indo-Aryans of North India. A new morphed ideology of the
Dravidian nationalism gained momentum within the Tamil speakers during the 1930 and 1950.
The Dravidian nationalism failed outside Tamil Nadu to find supporters. During 1950s and
1960s, the Nationalist ideologies lead to the argument by Tamil leaders that, at minimal,
that Tamils must have self-determination or, at maximum, secession from India. By the late
1960, the political parties who were espousing Dravidian ideologies gained power within the
state of Tamil Nadu.Since the 1969 election victory of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)
under C N Annadurai, Tamil nationalism has been a permanent feature of the government
of Tamil Nadu. The DMK came to power on the plank of opposing Hindi monopoly/imposition.
Prior to coming to power, they also openly declared to fight for Tamil independence from
India. But since the Indian government had added a new legislation that outlawed anyone
wanting independence from India, under the sedition act, and that made political parties
to lose their right to stand in election, the DMK dropped this demand. With this, the
drive for secession became weaker with most mainstream political parties, except a few,
who instead committed to development of Tamil Nadu within a united India. Most major Tamil
Nadu regional parties such as DMK, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Viduthalai
Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra
Kazhagam (MDMK) frequently participate as coalition partners of other pan-Indian parties
in the Union Government of India at New Delhi. In 1958, S. P. Adithanar founded the “We Tamils”
party who wanted the creation of a homogeneous Greater Tamil Nadu incorporating Tamil speaking
areas of India and Sri Lanka. In 1960, the party organized a statewide protest who demanded
the establishment of sovereign Tamil Nadu. During the protest were maps of Republic of
India (with Tamil Nadu left out) burnt. We Tamils party lost the elections in 1962 and
was merged 1967 with the DMK. The outbreak of the Sri Lankan civil war lead that the
Tamil nationalism in India took a new shape. In India emerged small Tamil militant groups
such as Tamil Nadu Liberation Army led by Thamizharasan, who aspired an independent
Tamil Nadu. After his death, the group is believed to have splintered into factions.
TNLA was banned by the Government of India. Another banned Tamil secessionist group in
India was the Tamil National Retrieval Troops (TNRT) founded by P. Ravichandran in the late-1980s.
TNRT,a terrorist organization, fought for an independent Tamil homeland and followed
the goal to unite Tamil Nadu and Tamil Eelam to a Greater Tamil Nadu.In October 2008, amid
build up in shelling into the Tamil civilian areas by the Sri Lankan military, with the
army moving in on the LTTE and the navy battling the latter’s sea patrol, Indian Tamil MP’s,
including those supporting the Singh government in the DMK and PMK, threatened to resign en
masse if the Indian government did not pressure the Lankan government to cease firing on civilians.
In response, the Indian government reported it had upped the ante on the Lankan government
to ease tensions. Ever since, the DMK, apart from the 2G corruption scandals, has seen
a steady decline in popularity in Tamil Nadu. Many Tamils felt disenfranchised with the
DMK, that it did not act to do much to stop the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka.K. Muthukumar
a Tamil journalist and activist in Tamil Nadu committed suicide, because the government
failed to save Sri Lankan Tamils. His death instantly triggered widespread strikes, demonstrations
and public unrest in Tamil Nadu. There is also deep resentment against India among some
Tamils, that it aided the Sri Lankan state in the 2009 genocide. This led to minor incidents
like Tamil nationalists turning out in support of the Eelam rebels when Chennai-based The
Hindu was alleged to have been supporting the Government of Sri Lanka. Editor-in-Chief
of The Hindu, N Ram named members of the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, Thamizh Thesiya Periyakkam,
some lawyers, and law college students as responsible for incidents of vandalism at
their offices. The Tamil nationalist party Naam Tamilar Katchi
arose 18 May 2010 as a result of the bloody end of the Sri Lankan civil war. Main agenda
of this party is the liberation of Tamil Eelam, only Tamils should rule in Tamil Nadu and
to spread the importance of Tamil language and unity of Tamils, irrespective of religion
and caste.2013 it came to series of Anti-Sri Lanka protests initiated by the Students Federation
for Freedom of Tamil Eelam. The students demanded justice for Sri Lankan Tamils and a UN referendum
on the formation of Tamil Eelam. Tamil organizations, parties and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
demand an International Investigation of Sri Lankan war crimes and a UN referendum among
Sri Lankan Tamils on the formation of Tamil Eelam.The ban on Jallikattu was seen by Tamils
as an attack on their culture and identity. In 2017, it came to a statewide pro-jallikattu
protests in Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which lasted several days. Tamils from all over
the world express their solidarity with the protesters in Tamil Nadu. The government claimed
that anti-national elements would be among the protests who raised slogans for a separate
Tamil Nadu and against India The Tamil rapper Hiphop Tamizha distanced himself from the
protest, because he felt uncomfortable with the anti-national and secessionist elements
in the protests. Tamil actor Kamal Hassan claimed that seeking a separate country for
Tamils is not anti-national and that many political leaders have done so in the past.==Linguistic purism=====
History===The anti-Hindi agitation was a form of resistance
to the imposition of the Hindi language throughout India. C Rajagopalachari (Rajaji), who wanted
to reinstate the “Varna system” in India, tried to impose Hindi as the national language,
with Hindi taught in all Indian schools. This move was opposed by Periyar, who started an
agitation that lasted for about three years. The agitation involved fasts, conferences,
marches, picketing and protests. The government responded with a crackdown resulting in the
death of two protesters and the arrest of 1,198 persons including women and children.
The Congress Government of the Madras State, called in paramilitary forces to quell the
agitation; their involvement resulted in the deaths of about seventy persons (by official
estimates) including two policemen. Several Tamil leaders supported the continuation of
the usage of English as the official language of India. To calm the situation, Indian Prime
Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri gave assurances that English would continue to be used as
the official language as long the non-Hindi speaking states wanted. The riots subsided
after Shastri’s assurance, as did the student agitation.
Four states – Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan- have been granted the
right to conduct proceedings in their High Courts in their official language, which,
for all of them, was Hindi. However, the only non-Hindi state to seek a similar power – Tamil
Nadu, which sought the right to conduct proceedings in Tamil in its High Court – had its application
rejected by the central government earlier, which said it was advised to do so by the
Supreme Court. In 2006, the law ministry said that it would not object to Tamil Nadu state’s
desire to conduct Madras High Court proceedings in Tamil. In 2010, the Chief Justice of the
Madras High Court allowed lawyers to argue cases in Tamil …===Basis in pre-modern literature===
Although nationalism itself is a modern phenomenon, the expression of linguistic identity found
in the modern Pure Tamil movement has pre-modern antecedents, in a “loyalty to Tamil” (as opposed
to Sanskrit) visible in ancient Sangam literature. The poems of Sangam literature imply a consciousness
of independence or separateness from neighbouring regions. Similarly, Silappadhikaaram, a post-Sangam
epic, posits a cultural integrity for the entire Tamil region and has been interpreted
by Parthasarathy as presenting “an expansive vision of the Tamil imperium” which “speaks
for all Tamils.” Subrahmanian sees in the epic the first expression of Tamil nationalism,
while Parthasarathy says that the epic shows “the beginnings of Tamil separatism.”Medieval
Tamil texts also demonstrate features of modern Tamil linguistic purism, most notably the
claim of parity of status with Sanskrit which was traditionally seen in the rest of the
Indian subcontinent as being a prestigious, trans-local language. Texts on prosody and
poetics such as the 10th century Yaapparungalakkaarihai and the 11th century Veerasoazhiyam, for example,
treat Tamil as the equal of Sanskrit in terms of literary prestige, and use the rhetorical
device of describing Tamil as a beautiful young lady and as a pure, divine language
both of which are also central in modern Tamil nationalism. Vaishnavite and Shaivite commentators
took the claim of divinity one step further, claiming for Tamil a liturgical status, and
seeking to endow Tamil texts with the status of a “fifth Veda.”
Vaishnavite commentators such as Nanjiyar went one step further, declaring that people
who were not Tamil lamented the fact that they were not born in a place where such a
wonderful language was spoken. This trend was not universal, and there were also authors
who sought to argue and work against Tamil distinctiveness through, amongst other things,
Sanskritisation.==See also==
Dravidian Nationalism Dravida Nadu
Sri Lankan Tamil nationalism Tamil Eelam
LTTE Politics of Tamil Nadu
Perunchithiranar==Notes

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