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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 322
Narendra Subramanian

Dravidian parties (contd.) Party-Society relations and Movement’s Course II: - DMK type politics urged groups of middling status to aim for more power through self assertion o Created entitlements to education, jobs, loans, subsidies, etc o These benefits to compete for which you needed social power o Appealed most to upwardly mobile middling groups o Aform of assertive populism - 1960s: new populism for the poor and the powerless o Party and leader would provide benefits for which you didn’t need to compete for o A‘father’figure o “Paternalist populism o Associated with a film star: MGR o Greater support among lower classes and women - This helped the DMK make further inroads into the support base of the Congress party - After the DMK came to power, in early 1970s, the party retreated from its paternalist promises o Ended food subsidies, temperance laws (alcohol sales) o MGR decided that this was an opening he could use to leave the DMK - MGR formed AIADMK o Little attention to religious factors and to changing caste relations and to language - DMK felt threatened o Resorted to Nativism o Said MGR wasn’t from the same language o To make people feel the Dravidian movement was closely tied to ancestral blood ties and to a language group - Nativism of the party failed o It didn’t arouse much support o Because the focus of the movement was giving better ways of life for middling status groups, rather than ancestry - As a result, learnt Nativism doesn’t work well - ADMK has since then been dominant o Benefits for poorer groups  Lunch scheme by state government in 1980s Hindu Nationalism was pushed out - Dravidian parties limited the growth of HN o Tamil cultural specificity was given importance o HN gave importance to upper caste Hindu norms - Muslims were early supporters of Dravidian Movement - Conflict between religious groups was limited until 1990s Difference between tactical and strategical flexibility Tactical: short term, doesn’t change the main goals of the party Strategical: BSP: - Fasted growing party in India - Most successful party with leaders from lower caste - Colonial period o Indian nationalists and Gandhi: gave importance to changes in caste relations, ending Untouchability, uplift of lower castes o Through this period, political participation of lower castes was limited o Ambedkar: lower caste leader from 1920s-50s o Pushed for alternative politics o Found Gandhi’s approach to lower caste very condescending and patronizing o Wanted independent mobilization of lower caste o Tried to build organizations to this end - Lower caste protest o Ambedkar: new Buddhism,AISCF, RPI o These new parties gained some support o Party was closely associated with his caste, the Mahars, the largest better- off lower caste o Towards 50s, Ambedkar converted to Buddhism, with millions of followers, as a way of rejecting high Hinduism and inequality o As an electoral party, this party was unsuccessful - Early postcolonial period: o Majority supported the Congress party o But they didn’t deliver much o They gave uneven preferential policies o Gave leaders from lower cas
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