January 24th, 2008 | Published in Politics
Politics in India
Tamil Nadu had a bicameral legislature until 1986, when it was replaced with a unicameral legislature, like most other states in India. Tamil Nadu Politics in India
* Number of Lok Sabha Constituencies : 39
* Number of Assembly Constituencies : 234
Regional parties have dominated state politics since 1967. One of the earliest regional parties was the South Indian Welfare Association, which was founded in 1916. It came to be known as the Justice Party after the name of its English-language daily, Justice. E.V. Ramasami Naicker, popularly known as “Periyar”, renamed the party Dravidar Kazhagam in 1944. DK was a non-political party which demanded the establishment of an independent state called Dravida Nadu. However, due to the differences between its two leaders Periyar and C.N. Annadurai, the party was split. Annadurai left the party to form the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.The DMK decided to enter into politics in 1956.
Racial concepts in India
In the 19th century, Western scholars proposed that Dravidian speakers were earlier inhabitants of India than the speakers of the Indo-Aryan languages in the north of the country. It was supposed that the generally darker-skinned Dravidians constituted a distinct race. This notion corresponded to racial hierarchies of the time according to which darker skinned peoples were more primitive than light-skinned whites. Accordingly, Dravidians were envisaged as primitive early inhabitants of India who had been partially displaced and subordinated by more advanced Aryans. The Aryan Invasion Theory is very subjective with no real scientific proof (DNA or historical), and was used by early Tamil nationalists to promote the cause of one set of people who were not given sufficient opportunities.
This concept has affected thinking in India about racial and regional differences and has informed aspects of Tamil nationalism, which has at times appropriated the claim that Dravidians are the earliest inhabitants of India in order to argue that other populations were oppressive interlopers from which Dravidians should liberate themselves. The discovery of the Indus Valley Civilisation in the 1920s, which is sometimes attributed to now assimilated Dravidians of the north, further fuelled such Dravidianist ideas since it implied that the Indo-Aryans were “uncivilised barbarians” rather than a “superior race”. However, lighter Aryan-skin is considered more beautiful than darker-Dravidian skin. Although the general outline of the theory, concerning the differences in language and culture between North and South India as being the result of an incursion of Indo-European speaking peoples or culture, is generally considered correct by modern scholars, the racial implications of these differences are far more controversial.
Nehru’s grant of a separate state essentially forced Tamil nationalism off stage. Instead Tamil regional parties now fight for access to the centre and between each other. The Anti-Hindi agitations in mid-1960s made the DMK more popular and more powerful in the state. The DMK routed the Congress Party in the 1967 elections and took control of the state government, ending Congress’s stronghold in Tamil Nadu. C.N. Annadurai became the DMK’s first Chief Minister, and Muthuvel Karunanidhi took over as Chief Minister and party leader after Annadurai’s death in 1969.
Tamil Nadu Politics in India
Karunanidhi’s leadership was soon challenged by M.G. Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR. In 1972, he split from DMK and formed the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). He was the Chief Minister of the state from 1977 until his death in 1987. After the death of MGR, the party split again into two factions, one led by Janaki Ramachandran, wife of MGR, and the other led by J. Jayalalithaa. After the defeat of AIADMK in 1989 assembly polls, both factions were merged and Jayalalithaa took control of the party. She was elected as the General Secretary of the unified AIADMK. There have been splits in both the DMK and the AIADMK, but since 1967 one of those two parties has held power in the state. In the State Elections held in May 2006, the prevailing government by the AIADMK was defeated by the DMK-led alliance.
Tamil Nadu’s population stood at 62,110,839 as of 00.00 hours of March 1, 2001. It is the sixth most populous State of the Indian Union behind Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. The State accounts for 6.05% of the country’s population. Its population density at 478 persons per square kilometre, up from 429 in 1991, and much higher than the all-India density of 324, makes it the eleventh most densely populated State (1991 rank:10) . Approximately 47% of Tamil Nadu’s population live in urban areas, one of the highest percentages in India.
During the decade 1991-2001, Tamil Nadu reported the second lowest decadal growth in population after Kerala, among the group of States with population exceeding 20 million in 2001. While Kerala’s population grew by 9.42% between 1991 and 2001, Tamil Nadu’s grew by 11.19%. In fact, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Orissa are the only three States in this group to have shown a decline in decadal percentage change in population in every decade since 1971.