Sunday, March 7, 2010

The man who saw the future

Before cutouts and ‘cooling' glasses captured the Dravidian movement and the imagination of the Tamil public, there was Anna.

Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai or Anna (elder brother in Tamil) to admirers and followers, is a seminal figure in Indian politics. He was a mass leader who spoke of social justice and linguistic nationalism. He saw the potential of the mass media, especially theatre and cinema, to spread the political message and mobilize people. His work radically transformed power equations in Tamil Nadu. R Kannan's biography is a sensitive portrayal of the man and the movement he led.

Anna belonged to a political tradition that gave precedence to social reform over political freedom. The Dravidian movement suspected Indian nationalism as represented by Congress of wanting to emasculate regional, ethnic and linguistic communities. It interpreted pan-Indian nationalism as an Aryan project to subdue Dravidians. In many ways, the Dravidian movement anticipated the national struggles that emerged in independent India, especially in the northeastern region.

Full report here Times of India 

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