Podcast: Why & How The Dravidian Movement Became Anti-Brahmin

By Sandhya Ravishankar & Sandhya Sridhar

Raging debates are ongoing on Twitter over the Anti-Brahmin stance of the Dravidian movement.

For those yet to be initiated into the politics of Tamil Nadu, the Dravidian movement began well before Indian Independence, with a group of elite non-Brahmins coming together to form the Justice Party in 1916. Their mandate was to counter the disproportionate representation of Brahmins in government jobs during the British Raj.

The Justice Party then gave prominence to EV Ramasamy Naicker, known as Periyar, who heralded a rationalist, atheist approach to Tamil society.

Periyar formed an apolitical organisation to propagate his philosophy and named it Dravidar Kazhagam (Dravidian Party). Over time, the Dravidian movement, as this movement was called, turned antithetical to Brahmins and portrayed the Brahmin as the root of all evils of Hinduism.

A section of young ambitious men broke away from the Dravidar Kazhagam to enter politics – and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) was born.

What the Justice Party began would dominate the political rhetoric of Tamil Nadu for decades and is being spoken even today.

In this podcast, we explore the history of the Dravidian movement, why and how it became an anti-Brahmin movement and how the British played a crucial role in propagating the anti-Brahmin sentiment.

Do listen in.