All substantial political movements in Tamil Nadu have had the interests of lower castes at their heart. Now, a Tamil actor called SV Shekhar has decided enough is enough. Unable to bear the neglect of Tamil Brahmins, he has floated a party called the All India Arya Munnetra Kazhagam.
The party, which will contest the 2011 Assembly election in the state, is probably the first in recent times to be formed with the overt aim of protecting upper castes. Though Shekhar is a popular comedian in the state, this particular political action that he has taken is far from satirical.
Shekhar was part of the AIADMK till recently and was one of the confidants of party supremo J Jayalalithaa, born a Brahmin. He had contested and won from Mylapore constituency (a Brahmin stronghold) in the last Assembly election on an AIADMK ticket. Eventually, though, he was sidelined by influential OBC leaders of the party.
As a trial run for the proposed party, Shekhar has formed the Federation of Brahmin Associations in Tamil Nadu. This has demanded 7 per cent reservation for Brahmins in both education and recruitment. According to the Tamil Nadu Brahmins Association, the Tamil Brahmin population is around 4.5 million.
“Brahmins in the state are living in pathetic conditions. Their children are forced to become child labourers. This is the result of suppression of the community in Tamil Nadu for the last 50 years,’’ Shekhar says with anger.