Blue Flower

 

Présentation (en anglais et en français) du livre paru en langue tamoule de l'historien français J.B. P. More, concernant la croissance et le déclin du parti dravidien de la Justice, 1916-1946.

 

 

Dravida Nidhi Katchiyin Valarchiyum Veezhchiyum, 1916-1946 (Rise and Fall of the ‘Dravidian’ Justice party, 1916-1946) by J.B.P More

Samaran Publishers, Chennai, 2017

 

 The book in Tamil traces the origin and development of the ‘Dravidian’ Justice party since its inception in 1916. More argues in this book that the non-Brahmin Justice party came into existence in the year 1916 in order to counter Tamil Brahmin domination of the political and administrative life of the Madras Presidency. It was promoted mainly by elite non-Tamil Telugu businessmen and zamindars like Pitti Theagaraja Chetty, Panagal Raja and Bobbili Raja. It was later taken over by E.V. Ramasamy Naiker of Telugu-Kannada ancestry who renamed the Justice party as the DravidarKazhagam (Dravidian party) in 1944. The Justice party remained a preserve of Telugu stalwarts right from its inception until it was converted to the Dravidar Kazhagam by E.V. Ramasamy Naiker, known popularly as Periyar. Tamil stalwarts played always a subordinate role in the Justice party as they were not in a position to counter the wealthy Telugu zamindari influence on the party.

     The Aryan-dravidian theory was spawned by European Christian missionaries. The ustice party leaders borrowed this theory and used it against the brahmins in their fight for power in the MadrasPresidency. For the Justice party leaders, the Tamil Brahmins were of Aryan origin, while the non-Brahmin Tamils were Dravidian, sons of the soil. The Brahmins themselves contributed to the development of this racial theory as they rarely countered the propaganda of the Justice party leaders. However, few Tamil Brahmin stalwarts like Subramania Bharati claimed that Brahmins belonged to a mixed race. As a matter of fact, there were fair as well as dark Brahmins found all over the Tamil country. In spite of this the racial theory gained more ground especially with the emergence of the Dravidar Kazhagam. However while the non-Brahmin Tamils considered all south Indian non-Brahmins as Dravidians, many Telugus looked upon the non-Brahmin Tamils alone as Dravidians. Under the name ‘Dravidian’, many Telugus of the Madras presidency were able to dominate or play a significant role in the politics of the Madras Presidency and Thamizhnadu, though their mother tongue was not Tamil. This contributed to the decline of the political fortunes of the elite Tamil Brahmins whose mother tongue was always Tamil.


 

Dravida Nidhi Katchiyin Valarchiyum Veezhchiyum, 1916-1946 (Croissance et déclin du parti dravidien de la Justice, 1916-1946) par J.B.P More

 Samaran Publishers, Chennai, 2017

 

Ce livre retrace l’origine et l’évolution du mouvement Dravidien sous le nom de Justice party depuis 1916. More avance dans ce livre que le parti de la Justice non-brahmane a vu le jour en 1916 afin de contrer la domination des brahmanes tamouls dans la vie politique et administrative de la Présidence de Madras. Ce parti a été promu principalement par l’élite télougou des marchands et des propriétaires terriens comme Pitt Theagaraja Chetty, Panagal Raja et Bobbili Raja. Plus tard le parti de la Justice passa sous le contrôle de E.V. Ramasamy Naiaker, d’origine télougou-Kannada, qui avait renommé ce parti Dravida Kazhagam en 1944. Le parti de la Justice était pour la plupart du temps sous le contrôle des élites télougous depuis 1916 jusqu’à la fondation du Dravida Kazhagam par E.V. Ramasamy Naiker, connu sous le nom populaire de Periyar. L’élite tamoule avait toujours joué un rôle secondaire dans ce parti car elle n’était pas en mesure de contrer les puissants propriétaires terriens télougous.

La théorie « Aryen-dravidien » a été lancée par les missionnaires chrétiens européens. Les leaders du parti de la Justice l’empruntèrent et l’utilisèrent contre les brahmanes dans leur lutte pour le pouvoir dans la présidence de Madras. Pour les leaders du parti de la Justice, les brahmanes tamouls étaient des aryens migrants, tandis que tous les non-brahmanes étaient des dravidiens autochtones. Les brahmanes eux-mêmes contribuèrent dans une grande mesure à la progression de cette théorie car ils n’ont jamais vraiment contré la position prise à cet égard par les leaders du parti de Justice. De rares brahmanes comme Subramania Bharati soutenaient cependant que les brahmanes étaient d’origine mixte. En fait, on trouve des brahmanes avec des teints clairs et foncés à travers tout le pays. Malgré cela, la théorie gagnait du terrain surtout avec la fondation du Dravida Kazhagam. Cependant alors que les non-brahmanes tamouls considéraient tous les non-brahmanes de la résidence de Madras comme des dravidiens, plusieurs télougous considéraient que seuls les tamouls non-brahmanes étaient des dravidiens. Néanmoins sous le label de Dravida, plusieurs membres de l’élite télougou jouaient un rôle prédominant dans la vie politique de la présidence de Madras et du Tamilnadou, bien que leurs langue maternelle fut le télougou. Ceci contribua au déclin des brahmanes tamouls dans la vie politique du pays alors que leur langue maternelle était le tamoul

 

 

 

 

 = = = =  Article de T. Ramakrishnan dans The Hindu du 15 avril 2017 = = = =

 

‘Dravida’ has no racial connotation : historian

 

 

 

 

 

‘Term comes to the fore whenever there is a perception that Tamil is in peril

 

Dravida, as a political term, has been a constant factor in the public discourse in Tamil Nadu, even though its critics have become more vocal of late. About a month ago, actor Kamal Haasan told a Tamil television channel that no party could engage in politics in the State without embracing the Dravidian ideology.

 

In an interview with The Hindu, J.B. Prashanth More, a Paris-based historian and the author of a recent book on the Justice Party, said that the term, Dravida, had undergone a transformation over the years. When the Justice Party was launched in 1916, the term was used to mean only Tamil-speaking non-Brahmins in the then Madras Presidency. “But, now, it is deployed to signify a sort of defiance and counter ‘external influence’, say that of the Bharatiya Janata Party,” Mr. More said, adding that whenever there is a perception that Tamil identity and culture are in peril, the relevance of the term comes to the fore.

 

Tracing the roots

 

On the genesis of the term, Mr. More said that its roots can be traced to Sanskrit and it has been used in Bhagavatha Purana — regarded as the most important work in Hindu sacred literature. Relying on his research, the historian contended that the term was never used in ancient literature of Tamil, other south Indian languages or Sanskrit to denote race or language.“In my analysis, it refers to the southern region and this encompasses Brahmins and non-Brahmins,” he said, pointing out that Naalayira Divya Prabhandam, a collection of 4,000 Tamil hymns belonging to 7th Century – 11th Century CE, is called “Dravida Vedam”.

 

According to him, the term was not used till the 18th Century CE to distinguish non-Brahmins from Brahmins, and started acquiring a different meaning in the 19th Century. “Leaders of the Justice Party such as Pitti Theagaraya Chetty and T.M. Nair — both non-Tamils — had found it most comfortable to carry on with their politics in Tamil-speaking areas of the Madras Presidency,” he claimed. The leaders had used the Aryan-Dravidian theory against the domination by Tamil Brahmins in politics and administration. While they had identified the Brahmins as those coming from outside, “which is not true,” they had integrated themselves within Tamil society as Dravidians, the historian added.

 

The anti-Hindi agitation in 1938 had provided an opportunity to E.V. Ramasamy to revive the theory and club the Tamil Brahmins with north Indians and Aryans. This marked the beginning of the present understanding of the term. He does not foresee any change in the way the word is being used in the political discourse of the State and says parties want this to continue so that they can use it to remain in power.

 

T. Ramakrishnan, The Hindu.com le 15 avril 2017