Anti-Sethu stir splits Karuna clan — Kumar Chellappan


Wednesday, 08 May 2013 | Kumar Chellappan | CHENNAI

The DMK’s proposed agitation on May 15 to demolish the Ram Sethu, a stone structure in the Palk Bay held in veneration by the Hindus, has claimed its first casualty; the unity in the clan of the party chief M Karunanidhi. It has also brought out yet another doublespeak by the former Chief Minister.

Karunanidhi has been writing through Murasoli, the DMK mouthpiece, that there never existed any Ram Sethu. “Ambika Soni, the Union Culture Minister, had told Parliament that there was no archaeological evidence of a bridge,” said Karunanidhi in his article. But he was silent about the revelations in the book Marvels of The South Indian Railway published by Southern Railway in which a whole chapter has been devoted to the Ram Sethu.

In what could be a major embarrassment to the DMK chief, Historical Rama a well researched book authored by DK Hari and Hema Hari has quoted from The Gazetteer of Ramanathapuram district published in the year 1972. The Gazetteer has devoted three pages to Ram Sethu and says that the Adam’s Bridge is Ram Sethu or Thiruvanai (Tamil for sacred dam).

“It is also called Ramar Palam (Tamil for bridge) because it was built by the “Kuranguppadai (Vaanar Sena), the army of Vanara and it was in use till 1480 AD when it was washed away in a strom,” says The Gazetteer. Interestingly, the foreword to The Gazetteer was written on June 14, 1972 by the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M Karunanidhi.

“The information given in The Gazetteer is considered to be authentic and reliable, compiled as an encyclopaedic reference material for researchers as declared and signed by none less than the Chief Minister of the State in the foreword to The Gazetteer,” write the authors.

S Kalyanaraman, in his book The Indian Ocean Community has brought out references about Ram Sethu in Skanda Purana, Vishnu Purana, Agni Purana, Brahma Purana, Kurma Purana and Garuda Purana.

The DMK patriarch, who does not waste a single opportunity to make fun of Ramayana and Mahabharath, once asked during a public speech that in which engineering college did Ram study. Though no one gave him the answer, Karunanidhi fell ill the next day and was admitted to Sri Ramachandra Hospital in Chennai. The nonagenarian leader has not stood on his legs afterwards and moves around in a hi-tech wheel chair.

MK Alagiri, the Madurai strongman and Karunanidhi’s elder son, has been kept out of the Statewide agitation which has shocked the party cadre in the southern districts. With Karunanidhi sending a message to party office-bearers to bring the State to a standstill on May 15, those loyal to Alagiri has made it known that without Anja Nenjan (the Tamil word for brave heart, as Alagiri is addressed by his acolytes) nothing would move in Southern Tamil Nadu.

Party insiders said that Alagiri has been humiliated by Karunanidhi at the instance of Stalin, his younger son who is the heir apparent of the party. The pride of place for the May 15 agitation has been given to old time family loyalists TR Baalu and Durai Murugan. Even Kanimozhi has been relegated as a speaker to an innocuous district, reportedly at the instance of Durga, Stalin’s wife. “Durga does not like Kanimozhi stealing the limelight since she is a far better public speaker than Stalin who is yet to develop his own style of public speaking,” said a senior DMK leader.

Former Union Ministers Napoleon and Palani Manickam have cast their lots with Alagiri. In an interesting development, Kanimozhi crossed over to the Alagiri camp because of the indifference shown to her by younger brother Stalin. In the month of April, Stalin got cancelled a public meeting which was to be addressed by Kanimozhi. “She went to Karunanidhi and burst into tears. The old man sat in silence as Kanimozhi wept and lamented about the hardships faced by her for the party,” said the DMK leader who is upset over the renewed group war and shadow boxing in the party.

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