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1 From Separatism to Coalition: Variants in Language Politics and Leadership Pattern in Dravidian Movement

Authors: Subramaniam Chandran

Abstract:

This paper describes the evolution of language politics and the part played by political leaders with reference to the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu. It explores the interesting evolution from separatism to coalition in sustaining the values of parliamentary democracy and federalism. It seems that the appropriation of language politics is fully ascribed to the DMK leadership under Annadurai and Karunanidhi. For them, the Tamil language is a self-determining power, a terrain of nationhood, and a perennial source of social and political powers. The DMK remains a symbol of Tamil nationalist party playing language politics in the interest of the Tamils. Though electoral alliances largely determine the success, the language politics still has significant space in the politics of Tamil Nadu. Ironically, DMK moves from the periphery to centre for getting national recognition for the Tamils as well as for its own maximization of power. The evolution can be seen in two major phases as: language politics for party building; and language politics for state building with three successive political processes, namely, language politics in the process of separatism, representative politics and coalition. The much pronounced Dravidian Movement is radical enough to democratize the party ideology to survive the spirit of parliamentary democracy. This has secured its own rewards in terms of political power. The political power provides the means to achieve the social and political goal of the political party. Language politics and leadership pattern actualized this trend though the movement is shifted from separatism to coalition.

Keywords: Leadership, Social Justice, Language politics, cultural nationalism

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