DMK celebrates ‘Dravidian month’, turns to social media to tell the story of social justice movement

Birth anniversaries of Dravidian icons Periyar and CN Annadurai, and the founding day of the DMK fall in September.

ByShilpa Nair

Published Sep 10, 2022 | 2:30 PMUpdatedSep 10, 2022 | 2:30 PM

DMK celebrates Dravidian month in September

The DMK, especially its IT wing, was looking at innovative and effective ways to reach out to youngsters and tell them about the Dravidian story. The aim was to spread information about the Dravidian movement and its legacy in a sustained manner over a period of time.

That’s when the DMK IT wing realised that September was an apt month to celebrate ‘Dravida Maatham’ (the month of Dravidam). The birth anniversaries of Dravidian icon and social reformer Periyar, and DMK founder and late Chief Minister CN Annadurai fall in September. The DMK too was founded in the same month.

Twitter Spaces

Since the beginning of the month, the IT wing has been hosting Spaces on Twitter, with several key leaders of the DMK and others speaking on various aspects of the Dravidian movement.

For example, one episode of Spaces was attended by Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, who spoke on the topic of ‘Dravidian economy’. J Jeyaranjan, economist and vice-chairman of the Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission, led the conversation about the “Dravidian model”. Similarly, VCK chief and Member of Parliament Thol Thirumavalavan was a part of the discussion on ‘Dravidian Light’. Dravidian ideologue and MLA Dr Ezhilan spoke extensively on ‘Dravidian Justice’.

The IT wing would continue to host Twitter Spaces till the end of the month.

According to DMK MLA and party’s IT wing chief TRB Rajaa, it started as a “small effort” to spread the ideas of Dravidian movement but it “picked up very well”.

“Unfortunately, not a lot of youngsters are into reading these days. So, we wanted to make use of the platforms that they like. Apart from videos, the audio medium is also extremely powerful. A lot of people like to listen to discussions, podcasts, etc. That’s the reason why we thought of using Twitter Spaces. It has caught a lot of attention. Even the shorter audio clips that we post after the Spaces sessions go viral,” he told South First.

‘Dravidian movement not based on mythology’

The DMK felt that it needs to re-invent its messaging — especially at a time when the right-wing has been aggressively pushing its Hindutva agenda — to suit the sensibilities of the younger generation so as to make them aware of Dravidian ideology and how it has benefitted the state of Tamil Nadu.

“The Dravidian movement has immensely contributed to the growth of Tamil Nadu over the decades. It is important that we tell people about the work we have done over the years. The state ranks high in several social development indices because of the movement. Our target audience is the youth now. We want to give them the facts and evidence. Let them make up their mind,” Rajaa explained.

While on the one hand, the IT wing is taking up efforts to spread the Dravidian message on social media platforms, the DMK’s youth wing has also been taking steps to hold ‘Dravidian model training workshops’ on the ground to spread awareness about the party and its founding principles. This was announced by DMK President and Chief Minister MK Stalin in May this year to “identify anti-national and dangerous forces who are trying to sow seeds of communal disharmony in the state”.

Apart from the social media initiatives, the IT wing is also planning to organise ’Dravida Thadam’ or the Dravidian Trail in the coming days to take people to important locations connected to the Dravidian movement and explain to them their significance. Several places in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Salem, and Erode have been identified to conduct the Dravidian Trail.

“Ours is a movement about things that have happened in real life. There is evidence to trace back our history and explain our legacy. It is not based on mythology,” Rajaa said about the idea behind ‘Dravida Thadam’.