Suriya’s ‘Jai Bhim’ brought about social change in Tamil Nadu: Social activist Kalvimani Kalyani

After watching the film, Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin issued a GO following which officials are now visiting Irular colonies to issue land pattas and certificates.

ByManigandan KR

Published Jul 17, 2023 | 5:05 PMUpdatedAug 10, 2023 | 1:02 PM

Jai Bheem

Director Tha Se Gnanavel’s hard-hitting court drama Jai Bhim — featuring Suriya, Lijo Mol Jose, and Manikandan in the lead — has not only won critical acclaim but also set the cash registers ringing at the box office.

And now, if one is to go by what well-known social activist and educationist Kalvimani Kalyani says, the film seems to have silently ushered in a social change in Tamil Nadu.

Inspired by true events that happened in Tamil Nadu in the 90s, Jai Bhim tells the moving story of an upright lawyer coming to the aid of poor, defenceless people from the Irular community who had no means to stand up to the might of an inhuman police force that often-foisted false cases on them.

The movie narrates the story of Sengkani (an Irular woman) whose husband, after being falsely accused of a crime he did not commit, was beaten to death in a police lockup.

She files a case in the High Court to seek justice for the custodial death of her husband which forms the crux of Jai Bhim.

Exposed truth to world

Kalvimani Kalyani

Kalvimani Kalyani. (shankarias/ Twitter)

Speaking at an event organised by the Agaram Foundation on Sunday, 16 July, where financial aid was presented to bright students from the weaker sections so they can pursue higher education, Kalvimani Kalyani said, “Education is the only instrument of change that can bring those from the downtrodden classes up. I am a professor and am standing in front of you only because I studied.”

The well-known social activist, who has been fighting for the rights of Irulars for decades together, added: “It is because of a film like Jai Bhim that people across the world now know the problems of Irulars.”

The veteran social activist also pointed out that while those intending to steal cannot be stopped, what cops do when unable to solve a crime is pin it on poor tribals like Irulars.

Related: ‘Jaim Bhim’ and ‘Kadaisi Vivasyi’ teams join hands again for new projects

‘Jai Bhim inspired CM Stalin to bring a GO’

Lijo Mol Jose in Jai Bhim

Lijo Mol Jose in ‘Jai Bhim’. (Suriya_offl/ Twitter)

Cops tend to book all these cases on poor innocent Irulars and torture them. However, after watching Jai Bhim, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin directed Chief Secretary Irai Anbu to look into the issues of Irulars and resolve their land problems. A government order was released in the next two weeks.

“Usually, we have to go behind government authorities to get documents like caste or community certificates and land pattas. However, after the film was released, the officials are visiting the Irular colonies to hand over the documents. We extend our heartiest thanks to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and Chief Secretary Irai Anbu. We also congratulate Suriya for making this film that brought about social change,” Kalvimani Kalyani said.

While the senior activist admitted that there has been a change in the attitude of authorities towards Irulars, he also felt that there is still a long way to go.

MK Stalin with Suriya

MK Stalin with Suriya (Twitter)

“There have been several instances where unsolved crimes are pinned on poor, mostly the voiceless Irulars. Having pinned the blame on them, they are subjected to horrendous torture. You cannot even imagine the torture they are subjected to. Anybody who watched Jai Bhim will know what I am talking about,” he added.

“Several such cases of torture — at least 50-60 — exist since 1996. Until now, no officials responsible for torture in these cases have been punished. We request the Tamil Nadu government to help those victims get justice by creating special courts to hear their cases,” the social activist urged.

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