The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Defining document of Tamil politics found

Chennai, May 6: A political notebook written by DMK founder C.N. Annadurai explaining why the party should give up its demand for a ‘separate Dravida Nadu’ in the light of a proposed Central law to ban secessionist organisations has come to light.

The notebook contains the thoughts of Annadurai penned ahead of a crucial DMK general council meeting at Tiruchi in June 1963. The DMK founder analyses why the party should give up its secessionist demand to avoid a possible Central ban.

The notebook touches on a defining moment in DMK history and harks back to an era when the party was on the ascendant. The DMK had contested the 1957 elections and bagged 50 seats. Its rising popularity had “alarmed and shocked” the ruling Congress especially as the Kamaraj-led party had lost a byelection the same year from Thiruvannamalai.

Former chief minister M. Karunanidhi recalls that the Congress had determined to “finish off the DMK politically in one stroke” by means of the anti-secessionist law. The law could have been applied against the DMK as its Dravida Nadu demand was one of its ideological cornerstones.

The general council meeting of the DMK called to debate the Congress move thus assumed great importance. Annadurai wanted a free and extensive discussion on the subject and proceeded to pen why he thought the party should give up its demand.

The analysis, written in Tamil, ran into 301 pages and candidly assessed the DMK’s strengths and weaknesses.

The ideas aired there have shaped the DMK’s policy for many years. The party settled for advocating autonomy for states and federalism at the Centre, eschewing its secessionist demands. However, the document itself has surfaced 40 years after the “momentous event” that altered the DMK’s politics.

Last Sunday, Atal Bihari Vajpayee told a gathering here that he cherished his association with Annadurai. The Prime Minister said he had dedicated the Tamil translation of his Hindi poems “to the memory of my friend Annadurai”.

Writing about Annadurai’s notebook in party mouthpiece Murasoli, Karunanidhi said the party founder had handed him his analysis, titled Enni Thunika Karumam (Think Well Before You Act). Annadurai had written the same analysis in English and entrusted it to Murasoli Maran.

As the book containing the English version began to decay, it was kept at the Murasoli office. But it was destroyed when the office was ransacked and papers set ablaze following Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991. But Karunanidhi said he had managed to preserve the Tamil manuscript.

The former chief minister has decided to publish the manuscript in its original form in Murasoli so that everyone can have a look.

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