Dr. Palani Arangasamy
Long marches, grand processions and militant incursions were the royal style of the monarchs in olden days. History repletes with incidents such as ancient kings let out their royal steed across the country to assert and establish their supremacy. Anybody dared to get hold of the horse used to be harshly sub-ordinated by the emperor.
Down the ages, similar but idealistic non-violent steps towards cautioning the undemocratic activities of the rulers and counseling them to behave themselves were organised by great leaders; also to inform and enlist the support of the public towards social and political issues. Gandhiji’s Dandi March against the tax on salt imposed by the British rulers was in April 1930. Strange but true is the coincidence that, from Cape Comorin a grand march of the president of Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) Dr. K. Veeramani was also in April, 2022. If Gandhiji’s march was against external forces, our Leader’s socio – political march was against internal forces.
Mao–Tse Tung’s Long March in 1934 and Martin Luther King Jr’s Protest March against racialism in the USA in 1963 are a few historic examples to be cited. So, “great men think alike” is not a mere cliché but meaningful and relevant. Mass appeal, the resultant effect of such Marches is not out of magic but out of immeasurable energy, enthusiasm, elocution and above all, the nobility of the causes undertaken.
No less is the importance and popularity of a similar three – pronged peaceful long tour of 21 days with two lectures a day from the 3rd of April. It was initiated and accomplished by Dr. K. Veeramani, until its valediction at Chennai on the 25th April, 2022. He and his team of speakers dedicated themselves to the timely task of widely disseminating the deleterious effects of certain actions of the Union government that adamantly implemented the NEET Examination, and the erroneous National Education Policy – 2020 depriving the States of their rights. Political onlookers opine that this undemocratic stance of the Union may prove to be its swan – song in the elections due in 2024. But the rapid strides with which the Union goes ahead much against the wishes of the public, necessitated the long march of the Dravidar Kazhagam.
It is a very well planned and successfully conducted Massive Tour of a solid organization, about eight decades old. The truth and genuiness behind the Tour is such that even reactionary elements have supported its cause.
The leader who was heading the Tour is almost a nonagenarian who crisscrossed the whole of Tamil Nadu from Cape Comorin to Chennai. The whole of India at present is yet to see a person of such respectful command and outstanding calibre to cling on to the envious task of disseminating the need for correcting the biased politics of the Centre. His hard – won acclamation from the public is bound to be heading towards effecting a catastrophic fall of the adamant audacious and atrocious approach of the Union.
That, the 40 lectures of Dr.K. Veeramani during his long tour were thematically the same doesn’t mean that they were repetitions. It may be so, if the mission is taken of novices but not for Dr. K. Veeramani. His speech is a silvery cascade of sparkling ideas that rejuvenate and enlighten everyone.
Theme is the same but its applications vary. Sweet is a common taste but do we not see its variety? Similarly his speech at one place is different from that of another, with core – value of the theme intact.
He has retraced the history of the past stating how far the Brahminocracy stood against the academic uplift of the oppressed and the backward classes until the Justice Party came into the fold and removed the cobwebs including deliberately imposing Sanskrit in medical studies. Neglecting Plus – Two marks and enforcing CBSE syllabus based NEET is one more atrocious prejudice. The National Education Policy is, in a way anti – national and reverting us to the Vedic period, in its structure and content. Rights of the States are being gradually eroded. Such thought – provoking ideas created an awareness among the public in the course of the speeches of Dr. K. Veeramani.
In every town thousands of people converged at the venues that was a sight to admire. The audience was so quiet that one could hear even a pin-drop except on occasions when they rapturously applauded his gentle retorts to inimical forces.
His prefatory note in lectures is an embracing camaraderie with a tribute to various good old persons and local leaders of the past. Such an emotional warmth ensures an affectionate bond that goes a long way to the potential harmony and proliferating co-operation with the commoners of the area. This is in fact a dividend of his seven decades of field experience in public life plus his congenital ingenuity. His memory power is intact and his physical power is adequate and appreciable. In Shakespeare’s language, age has not withered him.
While recalling a deliberate attempt on his life at Tirupur three years back, when he said, they may succeed in murdering us but they cannot diminish the firmness of our policy, there arose a spontaneous applause. Continuous applause again when he remarked, we struggle even for the children of BJP rank and file. The soil of Tiruppur is black and red but not saffron.
Such serious deliberation was not all through, but light and humorous as the one at Cuddalore where a newly elected lady Mayor was asked to address the meet. She, being a stranger to huge gatherings unwarily remarked, let Dr. K.Veeramani be blessed by ‘aandavar’ meaning god. That evoked an amusement and laughter of the public and of Dr. K. Veeramani as well. But in his speech, he turned the tables on, stating what the Mayor said was correct. The ‘aandavars’ mean those who ruled us, like Chief Minister Kalaignar Karunanidhi who had blessed us.
Apart from listening to lectures, people bought relevant booklets in large numbers to be familiar with the issues concerned. Every meeting was therefore a two – in – one propaganda towards creating an awakening among the public on topical problems.
At Periyar Thidal on the 25th of April a huge gathering witnessed a confluence of leaders at the Valediction of the Great Tour. The Chief Minister Mr. M.K.Stalin movingly recollected that it was Dr. K. Veeramani who once physically supported him from a brutal attack in a prison at the time of emergency period and that support in counseling continues till date. With a filial touch he requested Dr. K. Veeramani that he must take care of his health.
A well – wisher of the tour and a constituent of the Dravidian movement Mr. Vaiko, the Member of Parliament paid encomium on the leader’s invincible courage and fortitude..
In responding to the call of the Chief Minister, Dr. K. Veeramani remarked that Periyar Thidal is the second maternal home for him who is not merely on the throne of the State governance which is provisional anyway but on the heart and mind of the people which is perennial. Not only the whole of India, but even from abroad, there are great persons who look towards him with great respect and honour. Dr. K. Veeramani assured that the Kazhagam will act like sapers and miners in an army and requested that he may enact an Act against the practice of superstition. Along with the welcome address of the Poet Kali – Poongundran, a documentary film on the Great Tour was also screened.
Though nearing the 90th year of his age there is no geriatric setback at all in him, simply because of his simple life. May I add with humility that in his remarkable endurance and longevity lies the well-being of Tamil Nadu. In his intellectual stamina lies the efficient administration of our young leaders. In his uprightness and honesty lies the resourcefulness of the Dravidar Kazhagam.
Let him live long for the over-all benefit of Tamil and the Tamil people!