C D S Mani TNN
Chennai: Call it poetic coincidence or a quirk of fate,both birth and death anniversaries of Muthuramalinga Thevar,a community icon in Tamil Nadu,fall on October 30.
Thevar,a leader of the Forward Bloc and three-time member of Parliament,was born in Pasumpon village in Ramanathapuram district on October 30 in 1908 and died on the same date in 1963.On Tuesday,the twin anniversaries christened Thevar Jayanti,were turned into a memorial event by almost all political parties in Tamil Nadu.Not to be outdone,his fan club has kept him alive on Facebook as a public figure and great national leader,but dalits may differ.
An internet researcher notes that the demi-god of Thevars is in the famous company of one of the founding fathers of American independence and the second US president John Adams who was also born on October 30.The coincidence ends here as Adams born on October 30,1735,died on a different date.
Few among the political class,who paid tribute to Thevar Ayya,as the father figure of the Mukkulathors comprising three clans inhabiting southern and central Tamil Nadu is known,are aware of his multi-dimensional personality.The political class largely goes through the ritual every year perceiving the community as a huge votebank, said analyst Gnani Sankaran.
Forgotten are his roles in the civil disobedience movement,mobilising resistance to the Criminal Tribes Act 1871,which was introduced by the British to profile some indigenous clans and associations,with firebrand leader Subhash Chandra Bose whom he met when the latter came to Chennai for the 1927 session of the Indian National Congress.
Muthuramalinga Thevar was pro-Hindutva and that is why the RSS and the BJP have supported him, notes Gnani.