தமிழ்த் தேசியம்

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

Home

 Whats New

Trans State Nation Tamil Eelam Beyond Tamil Nation Comments Search

Home  > The Tamil Heritage - History & Geography > Demand for Dravida Nadu - K.Nambi Arooran

The Demand for Dravida Nadu
- 1938 to 1944 -

from Tamil Renaissance and Dravidian Nationalism
Courtesy: Nambi Arooran, K., Professor & Head of Department of History,
Madurai Kamraj University

"...the Justice Party Confederation in which E.V.R. put forward his demand for a separate Tamilnad was held at Madras in December 1938.... (Later) The Justice Party was renamed the Dravidar Kazhagam at a conference held in Salem in September 1944, when the demand for Dravidanad was given substance and a definite scheme for establishing the new state was put forward...The creation of Dravidanad as a separate sovereign state continued to be the main object of the Dravidar Kazhagam and its offshoot the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (founded in 1949) till 1963 when the Indian Constitution was amended specially to make a demand for secession a criminal act, and since then the demand was given up"

Plea for a Tamil Province came for the first time in October 1938...
Who is a Tamilian?...
E.V.R.declares separation of Tamilnad as the principal demand of the Justice Party after Second World War...
Definition of Dravidanad and link with M.A.Jinnah...
Dravidanad Separation Conference at Conjeevaram in June 1940...
Support of M.A.Jinnah for Dravidanad...
It was a question how much support Dravidanad demand received from Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam language speaking peoples...
In 1943 and 1944 leaders of the Justice Party continued to argue for the separation of Dravidanad...
Justice Party renamed Dravidar Kazhagam in September 1944...

Following conclusions emerge clearly...
Map of Madras Presidency under British Rule

up


Plea for a Tamil Province came for the first time  in October 1938...

The plea for a Tamil Province as an alternative to the alleged exploitation of Tamils by Brahmins and Northern Indians, came for the first time from E.V.R., then leader of the Self-Respect Movement, at a meeting held at Salem in October 1938.

He said that " if the Congress permitted the exploitation of Tamils by Brahmins and Northern Indians, the best way to preserve the liberty of Tamils was to agitate for separation from the rest of India and the proposed All-India Federation, just as Ceylon and Bulma had chosen to stand aloof from India ", and " urged the need for the ' Tamilnad for the Tamils ' campaign to be fought to the finish."

Earlier in August, an association called ' Tamil teca vitutalai carikam' (Tamilnad Liberation Association) was formed at Trichinopoly with T. P. Vedachalam, a leader of the Justice Party, as President. At the second session of the Ramnad District Tamilians Conference at Karaikudi it was resolved " to work for the formation of a separate Tamil province, exclusively for Tamilians, and the use of Tamil as the administrative language". Thus from the middle of 1938 onwards the idea of a separate Tamil province began to engage the attention of non-Brahmin leaders.

.... it was in the same period that the anti-Hindi agitation was also launched by the followers of the Self-Respect Movement and the Justice Party. The allegation that the introduction of compulsory Hindi meant the indirect imposition of Sanskrit over Tamil, Aryans over Dravidians and Brahmins over non-Brahmins, was assigned as the main argument for the demand for a separate Tamil province where the interests of Tamil and the Tamils would be safe-guarded. But a change in the character of the demand may be noticed when E.V.R. suggested that the Tamils should agitate for separation from the rest of India. This approach differed from that of the Congress Party's conception of linguistic provinces.

E.V.R. was chosen leader of the Justice Party soon after his imprisonment in December 1938 for his part in the anti-Hindi agitation. He was also chosen to preside over the 14th Confederation of the Justice Party at Madras in December 1938.

His presidential address was delivered in absentia in which he analyzed the meaning of the word 'nation' and pointed out its inapplicability to Indian conditions.

He stressed the validity of the centrifugal forces in India and pointed out the separation of Burma and the creation of new provinces such as Orissa and Sind. Secondly, he pointed to the inconsistency in the Congress attitude towards the demand for 'Tamil Nad for Tamilians'. On the one hand the Congress favoured the claims of Sindis, Gujeratis and Andhras and on the other opposed the demand of Tamilians. E.V.R. said: "In the political sphere, people are being exploited in the name of 'nationalism', even as in the religious sphere the promise of 'Moksha' is used to delude them."

up


Who is a Tamilian?...

Opening the Madura District Tamilians Conference at Nilakottah, Madura District, A.T. Pannireselvam, a leader of the Justice Party and a member of the Madras Legislative Assembly, referred to the consternation prevailing over the Aryan and Dravidian question and the plea of 'Tamilnad for Tamilians' and said that by urging that Tamilnad should be for the Tamilians they did not mean that the Brahmins were to be driven away or persecuted and that there was room both for the Aryans from the North and the English from the West but as settlers only.

At the Conference the Kumararaja of Chettinad, M.A.Muthiah Chettiar, hoisted the Tamil Flag and said that "the flag was the symbol of the great Chera, Chola and Pandiyan dynasties of Tamilnad", and appealed to the audience "to keep aloft the high ideals and traditions of the Tamils". Thus a flag symbolising the past glory of Tamilnad became a symbol of expression for the proposed Tamil Province.

A different explanation of the terms 'Tamilian' and 'Tamilnad' was given by S. Muthiah Mudaliar, a former Minister and a leader of the Justice Party, at the Tinnevely District Tamilian Conference at Tuticorin. According to him, the term Tamilian would include "anyone who had Tamil as his mother tongue, loved the Tamils, and attempted or desired to promote Tamil", irrespective of their being Muslims, Christians and Hindus - Brahmins and non-Brahmins.

Muthiah Mudaliar added that the term Tamil was a comprehensive name, which included its sister languages, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada, and that the term Tamilnadu, understood in a limited sense, was confined to the southern districts but according to its extended significance, it included the whole of the Madras Presidency. Thus there was no consensus as to what constituted Tamilnad, and who precisely were the Tamilians.

up


E.V.R.declares separation of Tamilnad as the principal demand of the Justice Party after Second World War...

E.V.R. put forward economic arguments in raising the slogan 'Tamilnad for Tamilians'. Speaking at Kumbakonam, he said that he did not want Gujeratis and Marwaris to settle in Tamilnad for a few years, exploit the poor and then go away to upper India with their money and enrich the industries there. He cited the case of Burma and pointed out that Burma was happy after separation and so he wanted that Tamilnad should be separated from the rest of India to build up its own economic future.

As the leader of the Justice Party, speaking at Tuticorin, E.V.R. explained the war aims of the Justice Party. He observed that separation of Tamilnad from the rest of the Indian continent would be the principal demand of the Party when the question of granting further constitutional reforms to India was taken up after the Second World War.

He said that this party would offer unconditional support for Britain and that "British raj, undoubtedly is [was] better than Brahmin raj. He alleged that Brahmins wished success for Hitler because both belonged to the same Aryan race and that Tamilian had nothing in common with Aryans and as such they could not dream of supporting an Aryan.

The Mail (15 Nov 1939) in a leader entitled 'The Justice Party's War Aims' criticised the war aims of the Justice Party and said that it was "sad to see a once great political party declining into a narrow and separatist sect". The Mail posed to E.V.R. a series of questions relating to the proposed Tamilnad such as its geographical boundaries, the status of non-Tamils, and its foreign and defence policies. The Mail considered the scheme of E.V.R. as "utterly impracticable" and said that it would be wrong to believe that a relatively weak Tamil State could be happier when independent than as a member of the federation.

up


Definition of Dravidanad and link with M.A.Jinnah...

To the criticisms levelled against his scheme of a Dravidian State, E.V.R. replied in detail in a letter to the editor of the Mail (20 Nov 1939). His definition of Dravidanad lay on linguistic bases in the same manner as the Congress demanded linguistic bases in the same manner as the Congress demanded linguistic bases in the same manner as the Congress demanded linguistic provinces. But, for E.V.R. the concept was a Dravidian Federation which compromised all areas where the four major Dravidian languages were spoken. His definition of Dravidians included all people who inhabited those areas - "Muslims, Christians, Depressed classes and all 'Hindus' except Brahmins who call themselves Aryans." As to the problem of non-Tamilians [meaning Brahmins] would be duly protected and properly safeguarded. As regards the problems of defence and foreign relations of the proposed Dravidian State, he recognised the need of British help for an interim period.

From the beginning of 1940 E.V.R. added a new dimension to his theory of Dravidanad by joining hands with M.A. Jinnah and supporting the Muslim League's demand for a separate Muslim State.

In January 1940, at the invitation of the non-Brahmin citizens of Bombay, E.V.R. visited Bombay where he met Jinnah and B.R. Ambedkar, Leader of the Depressed classes. Speaking in Tamil at Dharavi, Bombay, E.V.R. said that he was disgusted with the Brahmin domination which "had crushed the spirit of the masses and kept them under religious, economic, social and political subjection". E.V.R. held that Brahmins were not Tamilians and that they were foreigners. He argued that in order to get the province freed from Brahmins the only remedy was to create Tamilnad into a separate state like Burma. He pointed out that Tamilnad had a population as large as that of England and that in area it was as large as Germany, with a culture, tradition and civilization of its own, and that it could well constitute an independent nation.

It was reported that E.V.R met Jinnah and that "he discussed with him the possibilities of joint action by parties opposed to Congress". Later speaking at Madras E.V.R. referred to his meeting with Jinnah and said that "there need not be fear among any one that they have entered into some alliance". At the Lahore session of the Muslim League in March 1940, a resolution was passed demanding that "areas where Muslims were numerically in a majority as in the north-western and eastern zones of India, should be grouped to constitute an independent state in which the constituent units would be autonomous and sovereign".

From the time of the passing of the Lahore resolution the relationship between the Justice Party and the Muslim League became more intimate. Since the founding of the Justice Party, Muslim members had taken an active part in it for according to the definition of the term 'Non-Brahmins' given by the Justice Party, Muslims were included along with Christians and Hindu non-Brahmins. On the other hand the Muslims, forming a small fraction of the population in the Tamil districts, found a friendly ally in the Justice Party in opposing the Congress party. This alignment was further strengthened when the two parties began to demand separate states from the proposed Indian Federation to be formed after the departure of the British.

At a joint meeting of the Justice Party and the Muslim League at Madura, Justice Party members suggested that they must seek Jinnah's help in achieving a Dravidian State. A. Ponnambalanar, a leader of the Self-Respect Movement and the Justice Party, announced that Jinnah had promised E.V.R. that he would tour Tamil districts for a month in April or May 1940 and support the demands for a Dravidanad. Speaking at Erode in support of Jinnah's partition scheme, E.V.R. said:

"Mr Jinnah's scheme for a separate state for the Muslims in India is to be viewed as the sanest way of settling the baffling Hindu-Muslim problem.... Mr Jinnha's proposal for a partition of India as Muslim India and Hindu India has not come as a surprise to me for I have been urging for the separation of Dravidanad from the rest of India for the last twenty years."

C.N. Annadurai, then organising secretary of the Justice Party, was critical of the view held by many politicians and scholars that the idea of a separate sovereign state for Dravidians was copies from the example of the Muslim League's demand for Pakistan.

It was pointed out that it was chronologically wrong as well to say that E.V.R copied the idea from the Muslim League for the Lahore session of the Muslim League was held in March 1940 whereas the Justice Party Confederation in which E.V.R. put forward his demand for a separate Tamilnad was held at Madras in December 1938.

At the fifth Coimbatore District Justice Party Conference held at Erode in April 1940, a resolution was passed stating that the demand for separate national units proposed at the Lahore session of the Muslim League had been caused by the fear and distrust created in the minds of all non-Congress people by the twenty-seven month's Congress regime, and the Government was requested to consider the necessity of the separation of Dravidanad from the rest of India when such a partition takes place.

up


Dravidanad Separation Conference at Conjeevaram in June 1940...

Speaking at Ootacamund, E.V.R. said that he was convinced that India would never become a nation as the interests of one community were against those of others and that therefore it would serve no useful purpose by compelling these numerous interests to joint together. He added that they should be allowed a separate existence, and that the Aryans had no right to compel them (the Dravidians) to accept a certain political formula because they did not belong to Tamilnad.

He stated that the Aryans "like the Jews" had come to Tamilnad "only to exploit the Dravidians." At Kumbakonam, E.V.R. again argued that the separation of Dravidanad from the rest of India was a historical and racial necessity, that Aryans and Dravidians had never mixed and that they had continued to live separately and the cultures of the two races could never meet. It may not be fully correct to say that the two cultures had never mingled over the centuries for in the process of caste mobilization the fusion had taken place from early times.

A Dravidanad Separation Conference was held at Conjeevaram (Kancipuram - Chingleput District) in June 1940 in which E.V.R. unveiled a map of Dravidanad showing "the whole of South India, Andhra Desa and Deccan (with the exception of Hyderabad), all the Eastern coast line of India, including a portion of Bengal".

Speakers at the conference appealed for support for the British Government in the War in all possible way, forecast the division of British India into linguistic provinces after the War, and urged the formation of a Dravidanad at that time. E.V.R. said that "Conjeevaram, which was giving them such solid support was likely to become the capital of the future Dravidanad, even as it was the capital of the ancient Tamil kings".

Such references to historical facts and symbols were often made in order to derive the emotional and sentimental support of the people. The Government itself was no exception to this for the Governor in reporting the working of the District War Committees said that the Pentane flag had been associated with the District War Committee's work in Madura.

up


Support of M.A.Jinnah for Dravidanad...

Since the Lahore session of the Muslim League in which the demand for a separate Muslim State was put forward, the Justice Party began to work closely with the Muslim League in the Tamil Districts in order to derive mutual strength for their demand of a separate Dravidanad. Speaking at the Muslim League Conference at Ambur, North Arcot District, E.V.R. said that at that critical time non-Brahmins could look for help only from one quarter and that was from Mr Jinnah. He appealed that all communities should give Jinnah unqualified support and strengthen his hand.

The Governor also noted the close alliance between the Justice Party and the Muslim League and in a report referred to the address of E.V.R. at the South Arcot District Muslim League Conference supporting the Pakistan scheme and urging the partition of South India in favour of the Dravidians. In another report the Governor pointed out the close alliance between the Muslim League and Justice Party in Municipal politics which enabled them to get a majority on the Madras City Council.

The 28th Annual session of the All-India Muslim League Conference was held in Madras in April 1941. In his presidential address Jinnah discussed the two-nation theory and referred to the demand for the recognition of a third nation - Dravidastan - in South India. He promised his "fullest sympathy" an "fullest support to the non-Brahmins."

The support extended by Jinnah to the demand for a separate Dravidanad added strength to the Justice Party and to E.V.R. personally. In terminology the word 'Dravidastan' was coined as a counterpart to 'Pakistan'. Speaking at a Justice Party meeting in Madras, E.V.R. said that the visit of Jinnah to Madras had created an awakening among Tamilians, and that it would be of great mutual help if Tamilians and Muslim Leaguers worked together to achieve their object.

When the Second World War spread to different parts of the world and the position of the allies became more critical by the middle of 1941, E.V.R. announced at a meeting in Madura that it had been decided to temporarily stop their agitation for Dravidastan so that they could concentrate on war efforts. Besides the demands put forward in meetings for a Dravidanad there was hardly any kind of agitation such as the one staged against Hindi. Hence E.V.R.'s announcement that the agitation was being suspended in view of the intensity of war had no relevance and in fact he continued to advocate the Dravidanad demand in public meetings as before. In May 1942, C.R. announced his formula conceding the principle of Pakistan. E.V.R. speaking at Erode criticised C.R. for nourishing the hope that he would be able to form a National Government in the Madras Presidency and said that just as he conceded Pakistan to Muslims he should "come to terms with the majority community" in South India.

up


It was a question how much support Dravidanad demand received from Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam language speaking peoples...

It was a question how much support the demand for Dravidanad received from Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam language speaking peoples. Among the leading members of the Justice Party itself there were many who doubted at the support of the Andhras, Kannadigas and Malayalis for the proposed Dravidanad scheme of E.V.R.

For example, S. Somasundara Bharati, presiding over the Chingleput District Justice Party Conference, said that their salvation lay in making this movement for the separation of Tamilnad more dynamic, that HE that he had not much faith that Andhras and Malayalis would fall in line with them, and that therefore he suggested not to agitate with them, for Dravidastan, but confine themselves to the separation of Tamilnad. E.V.R. was also quite conscious of the limitations of his scheme and speaking at Coimbatore he said that even if Andhras, Malayalis and Kannadigas did not want to be in Dravidastan, Tamils could afford to live independently as they numbered two crores then.

After the failure of the Cripps Mission Gandhi demanded the "orderly and timely British withdrawal from India" and gave the slogan 'Quit India' in April 1942. C.N. Annadurai characterised Gandhi's 'Quit India' campaign against the British as "a huge hoax" and added that, in case the campaign met with any measure of success, Tamils would instantly start a vigorous 'Quit Aryans' propaganda, to rid Dravidanad of the Aryans. He added that the need of the hour was to press home to the people that Dravidians were not Hindus, and that there would be no lasting peace in the country unless India was divided into three main parts, namely, "Pakistan, Aryastan (or Hindustan) and Dravidastan".

up


In 1943 and 1944 leaders of the Justice Party continued to argue for the separation of Dravidanad ...

In 1943 and 1944 leaders of the Justice Party continued to argue for the separation of Dravidanad from the rest of India. P. Balasubramanian, editor of the Sunday Observer, in a statement at Trichinopoly in May 1944 said that the granting of Dravidastan would in no way disintegrate India and that a Federation of Socialist Republics of States for India would be preferable to Dominion Status. Speaking at the South Arcot District Dravidian Conference at Tiruppapuliyur (Cuddalore - Old Town), E.V.R. said: "Those who objected to the granting of Pakistan were now considering the forum in which it should be established. So also the demand for Dravidastan would be heard."

It may be observed that E.V.R. and other leaders of the Justice Party fully endorsed the demand of the Muslim League for Pakistan and in turn expected the League's support for Dravidanad. As pointed out earlier Jinnah readily extended his support when he presided over the Muslim League Conference at Madras in April 1941. But subsequently when Jinnah started his negotiations with the Congress leaders and the Government of India he referred always to the partition of India into two independent states - Pakistan and Hindustan - and he hardly ever referred to Dravidastan. Therefore Jinnah's earlier assurances to E.V.R. and the Justice Party were nothing but mere political expediency.

up


Justice Party renamed   Dravidar Kazhagam in September 1944...

The Justice Party was renamed the Dravidar Kazhagam (Tiravitar Kalakam - Dravidian Association) at a conference held in Salem in September 1944, when the demand for Dravidanad was given substance and a definite scheme for establishing the new state was put forward.

Explaining the aims and objects of the renamed party at a meeting in Madras E.V.R. said that he wanted Dravidanad to be a fully independent sovereign state with the status of a Dominion and that the Governor or the Viceroy would not have authority over the new State except as the King's representative. He added that the Dravidanad would be separated from the rest of India and that citizens of other parts would be regarded as foreigners and would be subjected to the same passport restrictions as were imposed upon citizens of other countries.

He also said that tariff duties and other restrictions would be imposed on goods entering Dravidanad in order to prevent "looting of South India wealth in the name of commerce, industry and religion". In the sphere of social reform E.V.R. said that social inequalities would be abolished by social legislation.

The Mail in a leader entitled 'Complete Independence' criticised these proposals of E.V.R. and pointed out that he did not deal with "the complex issue of defence or still more complicated problem of independent Dravidanad's relations with other countries, including the rest of India."But the Mail regarded the demand for a separate Dravidanad as a manifestation of 'popular discontent' and observed that it should not be dismissed in a lighter vein for "it may gather force and power in the same way as the once-derided idea of Pakistan has done".

Analyzing the causes for such a 'popular discontent', the Mail referred to the contention of E.V.R. and his followers that "they [Dravidians] have been kept in a state of intellectual and social subjection by the machinations of the Aryans". Referring to the attitude of the Dravidar Kazhagam towards social issues the Mail expected it to recognise the "right of all communities, classes and castes to equality of opportunity, economic, social and political", and also accord to the Scheduled Classes," as high respect and honour as to the highest castes". In the end the Mail appealed to the politicians not to underestimate the potency of the idea of a separate Dravidanad, more particularly when that idea was intended to appeal directly to the pride and self-esteem of a vast number of people.

up


Following conclusions emerge clearly...

From the foregoing discussion of the demand for a separate Dravidanad during the period under survey (up to 1944) the following conclusions emerge clearly:

E.V.R. himself pointed out that his conception of Dravidanad was nothing new and that it was only an extension of the Congress Party's idea of dividing India after independence into linguistic provinces. As a first step the Congress Provincial Committees were formed on a linguistic basis in 1920.

But it was E.V.R. who extended the philological family name 'Dravidian' to connote a separate political entity comprising the land and the people where the four major Dravidian languages were spoken. Thus E.V.R.'s conception of Dravidanad was based on the presumption that the Dravidian non-Brahmins who spoke the four Dravidian languages -Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam - were of a racial stock and culture which distinguished them from the Aryan-Brahmin. This was again not an innovation of E.V.R. for such a racial explanation formed the fundamental creed of the non-Brahmin Movement and of the Justice Party. Here again the support for E.V.R.'s propaganda for Dravidanad was minimal from the linguistic regions other than Tamil.

The second presupposition of E.V.R. in formulating his scheme of a Dravidian State was that it would be a haven for non-Brahmin-Dravidians from the alleged domination of Brahmin-Aryans. Here again E.V.R. was extending his main objective of the Self-Respect Movement, namely the complete elimination of the alleged exploitation by Brahmins in the name of religion and the caste system. In other words E.V.R.'s anti-Brahmin principles became also the basis for his claim of a Dravidian Federation.

Two important factors may be said to have made E.V.R. think deeply in terms of a separate Dravidanad. Firstly, the anti-Hindi agitation and secondly, the Pakistan demand by the Muslim League. It was the anti-Hindi agitation that made the Tamils more conscious of the heritage of their language and culture and the idea of a separate state to protect them gained ground. The Lahore session of the Muslim League and the demand for Pakistan added strength to the nascent regional Dravidian Nationalism. Leaders of either party began to talk in terms of mutual sympathy and support.

The choice of E.V.R. as the leader of the Justice Party in the wake of the Anti-Hindi agitation led to the fusion of the Self-Respect Movement and the Justice Party. As a result anti-Brahminism and communalism once again became basic ideologies in party politics and the demand for a separate Dravidanad was mainly based on these ideologies. The creation of Dravidanad as a separate sovereign state continued to be the main object of the Dravidar Kazhagam and its offshoot the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (founded in 1949) till 1963 when the Indian Constitution was amended specially to make a demand for secession a criminal act, and since then the demand was given up.

 


Madras Presidency under British Rule included Tamil Nadu
and parts of what are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala

up

wpe2.jpg (63806 bytes)

Mail Us up- truth is a pathless land - Home