The Dravidanadu Conflict and the Story of Mayura of the Kadamba Dynasty
Dravidanadu, United States of South India, Telugu Pride, Kannada Pride and Malayalam identity – the opposition parties in India are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to divide. The Karnataka CM Siddaramiah has declared Veerashaiva-Lingayat as a separate religion and promised minorities status to them. How India has progressed under four years of Modi’s government is a stark reminder of the fact that Congress out of power is more dangerous than Congress in power.
Congress was that party whose Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru got EV Ramasamy Naicker or Periyar arrested and jailed for espousing the cause of a separate state of Dravidanadu. Jawaharlal Nehru also holds the distinction of dismissing the first elected Communist Government in Kerala. Today, Nehru’s party is playing with fire in every single state where they are out of power and even where they are in power. They fuelled Jat riots in Haryana. They have openly flirted with fire in Gujarat through Patidar agitations. In Rajasthan, Gujjar issue flares up whenever Congress is out of power. This time, it was Rajput Karni Sena. There were farmer riots in Madhya Pradesh and a Communist lead long march in Maharashtra.
In Karnataka, a bill has been introduced to give minority status to Veerashaiva-Lingayat communities to declare them as a different religion. In between, the Karnataka CM Siddaramiah has also claimed, “The taxes paid by South Indians are used for welfare of North Indians.” Kamal Haasan wants South India to unite under Dravidian identity. M K Stalin wants a union of Dravidanadu, probably hoping to be the Prime Minister of Dravidanadu because he comes from the biggest state in South India.
Image source: Google
Chandrababu Naidu of Andhra, KCR of Telangana and a few sundry voices from Karnataka are adding fuel to the fire lit by the Dravidanadu spokespersons. Congress has played to the gallery by going with every divisive voice. Sole intent of all these overtures is breaking what it considers the vote bank of BJP, the united Hindu identity. While it is understandable that Congress is desperate to capture power, it is worrying to note how people like Naidu and KCR are playing right into the hands of Congress. Perhaps, they have not learned their lessons from the past.
Nehru’s handling of Periyar and Communists was kids stuff compared to what Indira and Rajiv did to the Southern states and those not under their control. Indira Gandhi was that Prime Minister, who dismissed every State Government opposed to her party and then went a step ahead to force emergency on the entire nation. Indira also fostered Bhindranwale to counter the popularity of Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab. Bhindranwale became a Frankenstein for Indira and led to extreme forms of militancy. Operation Bluestar killed the Khalistan movement leaders but Indira fell for the backlash.
Dismissal of a democratically elected Telugu Desham government by inducing defections and installing Nadendla Bhaskar Rao as her puppet CM when NTR was away in US for heart surgery was perhaps the last of innumerable acts of subversion of democracy by Indira Gandhi. She was assassinated about a month after a black dress clad NTR returned to power riding on the back of a popular movement and public wrath. Rajiv Gandhi was the man, whose insult of the then Andhra CM Chenna Reddy was the trigger for the Telugu pride movement lead by NTR that culminated in formation of Telugu Desham party.
Backing Chandrashekar as PM after the fall of VP Singh was Rajiv Gandhi’s way of showing regard for democracy. He felled Chandrashekar as soon as he thought the time was ripe for the return of Congress. Rajiv’s tenure as PM would go down as the worst ever period in the history of independent India. Apart from his blunders with Shah Bano and Ayodhya, he also undermined South India. The way he handled the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka betrayed the extreme lack of sensitivity he had for the cause of Tamil people.
Ironically, in spite of the repeated injustice and humiliation heaped on South Indian states by Congress under the Nehru family, it is the South Indian vote that has reinvigorated and reinstated Congress time and again. Soon after the emergency, Indira Gandhi contested from Chikkamagalur in Karnataka because she was worried about a possibility of losing her home turf of Rae Bareily. Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra voted in favor of Congress even during that momentous election.
Overall, South India had remained a Congress bastion with MGR and Jayalalithaa playing second fiddle to Congress at national level in return for supremacy at state level in Tamilnadu. South remained Congress stronghold till NTR left Congress considerably weakened in Andhra and Jayalalithaa moved towards BJP. When she did return to 10, Janpath, Congress was a totally spent force in Tamilnadu.
Surprisingly, in spite of all the MPs from Kerala being on the ruling side during UPA-1 and most of them warming the ruling benches during UPA-2, Kerala almost always got a raw deal under the UPA rule. The Jallikattu ban was implemented under the Congress lead UPA rule and UPA partner DMK did nothing to fight the ban. Paradoxically, the Jallikattu protests were manipulated against the BJP government and Modi in particular while BJP was the only party that had tried to help restore the Jallikattu tradition in Tamilnadu.
Some vested interests have tried to stoke extreme sentiments and create ill-will in South India against North. While Nehru to Manmohan did nothing to attend to the genuine southern worries about Hindi imposition, the Congress is suddenly championing the cause of Dravida culture against imposition of Hindi. They blame the Hindu-Hindi-Hindustani motto of RSS as the root cause for all the problems, while RSS has been the only entity that has constantly encouraged use of native language in all state level activities, restricting Hindi only to national level dialogues.
Without an iota of doubt, there is a nefarious design behind all these caste, religion and language based agitations. Unfortunately, a section of people from South are walking right into the trap laid by Congress by fomenting these agitations. Congress doesn’t care for South Indians, neither does it care for North Indians. Congress cares for power and unadulterated power, nothing else. By alienating BJP’s allies and voters by using linguistic sentiments and caste equations, Congress wants to come back to power because that is all they want. Naidu, the Kannada activists, KCR, the Dravida groups and the Lingayat groups swayed by Siddaramiah’s ploy are weakening BJP and allies, thus paving way for a Congress comeback.
The return of Congress will once again undermine the cause of South India and all the South Indian warriors will become irrelevant or will be bought by Congress. The people will get nothing, except corruption and nepotism. Chief purveyors of Dravidanadu are the DMK guys like M K Stalin, the divisive ultra left Communists, the crypto-Jihadi groups and the Evangelist groups.
Like Rahul Gandhi, MK Stalin too appears to be illiterate in history. The Dravidanadu groups invoke the name of Periyar as if he is the final solution for all problems. The reality of Periyar was that he was a bigoted Tamil chauvinist and an irrational separatist. His own disciples found him to be dangerous and dumped him for a merger with the Indian Union. Periyar had became irrelevant in his own time. He was respected for public consumption but was steadfastly kept out of politics by Dravidar Kazhakam. Some fringe elements want to foist him as a messiah of a united Dravidanadu.
That brings us to the Chauvinism part. The Tamil enthusiasts of Dravidanadu must understand their moves for the formation of United States of South India or Dravidanadu will meet with total disintegration because the rest of South India is more concerned about Tamil nationalism than Hindi chauvinism.
Tamilnadu shares extremely frayed relationship with Karnataka thanks to Kaveri. If Tamilnadu has got some justice and water till now, it is because both Tamilnadu and Karnataka are still part of Indian union. The day the Utopian Dravidanadu becomes a reality, the water wars will begin and Kannadanadu will secede from Dravidanadu. Some of the Leftists laugh at this prediction because they think entire South India thinks like them. It is exactly this arrogance that will lead to the collapse of the imaginary nation.
It is important to state the truth. Tamil nationalism or Tamil chauvinism is no less dangerous than Hindi chauvinism and in fact can be a greater threat for other states in South India. This isn’t about present or recent past. It isn’t a unique phenomenon of post-independence India either. Tamil Chauvinism was one of the reasons for the division of the Pallava Empire and the formation of the Kadamba Kingdom in Banavasi, Karnataka. That is the beautiful story of Mayura Sharma.
Story of Mayura Sharma and the Kadamba Dynasty
India, fourth century Christian era. Northern India was ruled by Samudragupta while the Pallava dynasty reigned supreme over major areas of South. The present day Karnataka, Kerala, large parts of Andhra and Telangana were controlled by Pallavas. Shivaskandavarma was the ruler with Kanchi as the capital. His son, Pallava Vishnugopa was the de facto centre of power in the kingdom.
Mayura Sharma was a poor but self respecting Havyaka Brahmin from Talagunda near present day Shimoga in Karnataka. Since Kanchi was the seat of higher learning in those times, Mayura Sharma proceeded to Kanchi with his grandfather and a lot of enthusiasm. Once in Kanchi, he was attracted towards martial arts more than the studies of Veda and Upanishads. When he expressed his wish to learn martial arts, he was turned down by the martial arts Guru because he was a Brahmin.
Mayura decided to pick up martial arts by secretly observing others being trained in a school of martial arts and warfare. Without anyone knowing, he turned himself into a strong wrestler and warrior and knocked down the strongest wrestler of Kanchi in a challenge bout. The fame of Mayura Sharma spread across Kanchi. This didn’t go down well with Vishnugopa, the Prince of Kanchi. Vishnugopa tried to humiliate Mayura using his horsemen. Some sources claim, it was the insult of his Guru and grandfather Veera Sharma that led to Mayura’s revolt.
Mayura survived the encounter with Vishnugopa’s men but he was deeply humiliated by the slurs hurled at him by Vishnugopa and his men. One of the slurs was related to Mayura being a mere Brahmin living on the alms of the Pallava rulers. The second slur was related to a small town intruder from lowly placed Kannada speaking regions in the heartland of Tamil supremacy.
Mayura’s self respect forced him to retaliate and Vishnugopa got humiliated in an impromptu one to one sword fight, a form of warfare he was supposed to be unbeatable in the kingdom. Vishnugopa forced the king to punish Mayura by charging him with Rajadroha. Shivaskandavarma declared Mayura guilty and ordered his execution by hanging. Mayura’s well-wishers helped him escape from Kanchi in the nick of time.
Mayura moved into forests of Sri Sailam and connected with the tribals and people marginalised by the Pallava kingdom. With the might of Shivaskandavarma on the wane, Samudragupta raided Kanchi and left Vishnugopa and his army defeated and demoralised. Mayura, who was biding his time till then, decided to strike. He gathered a well knit troop of tribals, reformed robbers, native Telugu people and ambitious youth from Banavasi and surrounding areas. His raid on Kanchi was met with practically no resistance as Vishnugopa was left with no strength to fight.
Image source: Google
With deference to Shivaskandavarma and those people of Kanchi who had loved him and protected him, Mayura left Kanchi unharmed but captured large areas of present day Karnataka and parts of Andhra surrounding Sri Sailam. He declared a new independent kingdom with capital in Banavasi. That was how the first Kannada Kingdom under Kadamba dynasty was formed. As advised by the Brahmins of his kingdom, Mayura Sharma converted to Kshatriya fold and changed his name to Mayura Varma. The Kadamba dynasty went onto reign for almost two centuries till the arrival of Chalukya dynasty in the second half of the sixth century.
This piece of history tells us the likely existence of Tamil chauvinism even before the arrival of Periyar and the ridicule the Brahmins, especially those from Non-Tamil regions, faced even in the fourth century Tamilnadu. No wonder the Kannada Pride raised its head through Kadamba Mayura Sharma. If at all Stalin dreams of leading Dravidanadu, the modern day Kadamba will be ready even before his Utopia becomes a reality.
If anyone in South India in general and Tamilnadu in particular is yearning for United States of South India, they must be ready to receive it as a stillborn baby. Karnataka will not remain part of a union that is likely to be dominated by the Tamil nationalists. Andhra and Telangana will follow soon and then Kerala too will secede. The Divided States of Dravidanadu will have to wage water wars with Kannadanadu and Malayalanadu. The United States of North India will remember their loyalties. In spite of a million problems, United States of India still remains our best bet as long as we are united. Divided, we fall!
Featured image courtesy: wiki.eanswers.com and Wikiwand.
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Dr. Govind Raj Shenoy is a Doctor, Social Media addict, Atheist Sanghi with serious Sarcasmophilia. A self-proclaimed expert in everything with very little knowledge of anything in reality!