Mr Suba Veerapandian runs an outfit called Dravida Iyakka Tamilar Peravai which is dedicated to spreading the Dravidian ideology and Periyar-ism. He is a retired college professor who is a regular on TV channels, active on Facebook, tours the state, talks in various college events. A communicator par excellence who specializes in getting his message of hate deep into the subconscious of the under-educated , underclass, and youth.
Suba Vee hails from the Chettiar caste, considered to be a cultured wealthy community. Many of the talking points he makes are repeated after a few days in the speeches of ministers, propagandists, and social media handles. Today, he is a fountainhead for much of the narrative from Tamil Nadu, except that he is a truckload of bad. He embeds and incites feelings of caste ill-will against the Tamizh Brahmin community, which is already squeezed out of most public influence positions since the Dravidians swept into power 100 years ago.
I am going to run you through this interview which aired on Sun TV in 2018. His aim in this interview is to embed this : Violence visited upon innocent members of Tamil brahmins caste as a community is a legitimate response to something Mr H.Raja said in a political context as an individual.
Watch how masterfully he weaves this message using the prop who lobs him the questions.
The context here is: Post the Tripura Assembly victory, some people toppled the statue of Lenin. In response to this, Mr H. Raja from BJP Tamilnadu said in Facebook post , ‘one day Mr EV Ramasamy (Periyar) statue will also be toppled in Tamilnadu”.
I repeat, this is a purely political statement from H. Raja. Mr Raja never mentioned any caste or religion. Dravidians talk about uprooting and toppling so many things, hardly something they need to get wet over.
I am going to run through some examples where he seeds thoughts of violence against non-participants. See if you can spot the genius.
Q: “பெரியார் சிலை வெறும் காங்கிரீட் கலவை தானே ; அடிச்ச்சா உங்களுக்கென்ன”
A: ஆமாம் ஆமாம் ; கோயில் காங்கிரீட் கலவை தானே , அக்கிரகாரத்து வீடுகள் எல்லாம் காங்கிரீட் கலவை தானே.. இதெல்லாம் ஒடச்சுடலாமான்னு அவங்கள கேளுங்க , செரின்னா யோசித்து பார்க்கலாம்
Q: Periyar statue is just concrete , why are you so angry ?
A: Yes, yes, so even Temple is concrete, even houses in Agraharams are concrete, can we break them?
Did you see what he did there? So even assuming H. Raja carried out an actual dismantling that just means you carry out a tit-for-tat, dismantle a Savarkar statue for example. That is fair retribution. But watch Suba Vee what he seeds into the minds of Tamils is that ‘demolishing innocent Tamil Brahmins agraharam houses is an appropriate response“.
One has to be of a core mindset to say that. Imagine if someone said that “uprooting of Chettiar bungalows would be an appropriate response to something Suba Vee said about uprooting Rama ” (Even writing this makes me cringe, but this usage of caste is normal for Subavee, it just does not seem pretty when used against the grain on himself)
என்ன ஒரு வியப்பு என்றால் ப்ராமண சங்கம் வெளிப்படையாக கண்டித்திருக்கிறது ; ஏன் என்றால் இதனால் ‘தங்களுக்கு தான் ஒரு பாதிப்பு வரும் என்று அவர்கள் கருதியிருக்க கூடும் – மிக சரியாக கண்டித்திருக்கிறார்கள்
A: What is surprising is Tamil Brahmin Association has condemned H.Raja statement. Perhaps it is because they have calculated that this will cause in harm to their community. They did right thing.
The correct response of any civilized political ideology in the world in 2019 would be that the innocent non participants do not have to worry about these – we will ensure that there will be no harm just because you are same caste as X. We will meet H Raja on political stage and not by veiled threats of harm to women and children. Who is the coward here? Will Suba Vee himself fight or use paid coolies or instigate lower classes to carry out these ‘harm’?
வன்முறை தான் தீர்வு என்று அவர்கள் முடிவுக்கு வந்துவிட்டால் தர்ப்பை புல்லை எடுத்தவான்களே தடி எடுக்க தயார் என்று சொன்னால் ; தடியை கையில் வைத்திருக்கிறவர்கள் என்ன செய்வார்கள் என்று அவர்களே சிந்தித்து பார்க்கவேண்டும்
A: If violence is the solution , then remember this. If those who merely used to take Darba grass say they are ready ; imagine those who are having the stick. (Darba grass is a special type of grass used by Tamil brahmins for various rituals)
This exact dialog was repeated by many downstream speakers. Firstly, this exposes, unknown to him, his own deep casteist mindset. The right comeback is hard for decent people – but it would involve showing his own caste mirror. Unpleasant, but how else can this be checked, if the elites behave this way?
Secondly, such a mindset will , if the incentives are right, will be used against other castes. “Today if servants are raising their voice, imagine how a zamindar with a whip will raise‘. This is caste stereotyping at its worst. Responding with names of military generals, martyrs, gallantry winners, and warriors is a losing strategy because you are answering a vile question.
இந்த பேட்டி மூலமா H ராஜாவுக்கு சுபவீ என்ன சார் சொல்ல நினைக்கிறீங்க :
..எங்களிடம் தொடர்ந்து குறுக்கீட்டு கொண்டிருந்தால் .. அதன் விளைவுகளை அவர் சந்திக்கவேண்டிருக்கும் ; அவரால் அவர் சார்ந்த சமூகமும் பல தொல்லைகளுக்கு ஆளாக வேண்டிருக்கும் .. 1000 பூக்கள் மலரட்டும்
Q: What message do you want to say to H.Raja
A: Don’t mess with us , it will result in major grief for your community (Tamil brahmins).
This direct warning should prove that Dravidian-ism is the real racist and totalitarian movement today. There is no other party be it BJP, Congress, TDP, CPI-M, TMC that seamlessly connects a political disagreement with a retribution against innocent members of a community.
Dravidians are essentially using Police and State power to hold a hostage. Then threaten harm at first sign of a challenge. Hardly Alpha Male behaviour now , is it dravidian fellas?
What makes Suba Vee so potent?:
1. His upper caste status as an Chettiar adds great credibility to his speech. They are assumed to have intimate social relations with Tamil Brahmins, therefore when he gives witness of their perfidy, it is seen to be believable by the lower classes, many of whom have never met a Brahmin, let alone mingle socially.
2. He has no other grievance. Dravidian movement has always been led by the elite castes, who do not have any legitimate grievance to cloud their pristine agenda. This is necessary because lower classes follow the top – they go “Look, if Suba Vee chettiar feel so threatened, violated and oppressed, despite the acres of bungalows, institutions and crores, imagine how we should feel as farmers labors etc”. This results in custody of trust flowing from below to him.
3. He can easily stage any reform in his own caste and yet does not choose to do that. Mr Suba Vee never mentions his caste – this is odd for a movement that spends about 99% of any speech talking about Brahmin, Nadars, etc. If Suba Vee wants to hand over temples to all castes, all he has to do is petition his own community who run dozens of temples. No one will oppose. There is no evidence I can find that he has done that. Fix yourself before fixing others.
4. His language and delivery style are very effective. Tamil language discourse today is totally devoid of critical thinking, spotting fallacies, arguments on logical and factual planes. Tamil is hijacked and optimized for expressing grievance and hate messages in a vulgar idiom or at best a poetic manner. He uses his command of a particular Tamil style to couch harmful messages. People get swayed by the language and let the message in without question.
I wrote this post because I watch a lot of abusive and low quality dialog in Tamil media. Most of the anti-brahmin or anti-XYZ caste messaging is stupid, even kind of funny, at worst they amount to name calling, vulgar bad words, or some other schoolyard type abuse.
But I keep a close watch for veiled threats of violence against innocent members of any group. I saw this for the first time with Mr Suba Vee. So I had to point this out. The final decision of whether to accept this type of demagogue as someone who will lead the Tamil people to a glorious future lies with the people.
(This article was published on realitycheck.wordpress.com on October 16, 2019.)
(Featured Image source)
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