The north-south divide in India

The oldest racial group in India is Adivasis, or the aboriginals, who live in areas extending from Assam in the North East to Kanyakumari in the South. The Aryans mostly live in North and central India. The Dravidians live in the Southern half of the country. The Hindus are around 84 percent of the total population.
The people in India belong to different races and those who intend on maintaining their original identities make sure that their look and appearance is different from each other. The racial and ethnic division has its roots in different Hindu religious beliefs. The Aryans, according to one belief, came from Central Asia and Iran around 1500 BC. The Dravidians are said to have come from Asia Minor and Eastern Mediterranean.
In India there is an extreme division between the Aryans of North and Dravidians of South. The North states include Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madya Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. The South states include Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and the union territory of Puducherry.
According to media sources, the population of Aryans is 72 percent and Dravidians 28 percent. The Dravidian group of languages is spoken in South India which include Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam and Tamil is spoken by the majority. In India there are 1652 languages spoken, and each is entirely different from the other. Sanskrit belongs to the Indo-Aryan group which is spoken by less than one percent of the Indian population. The Tamil language has no links with Sanskrit. In the South’s past, there have been cases of violence and protests over the issue of the Hindi language. Hindi has been excluded as a language of education in Tamil Nadu and is hardly in use as a medium of communication. The Tamil belief is that their Hinduism is superior to that of the North and Tamils are a unique nation.
According to Khushwant Singh, Rig Veda’s earlier chapters are purely Aryans and later chapters are influenced by Dravidians and aboriginal beliefs. According to E.V Ramasamy, who was a strong advocate for Tamil nationalism and challenged Hinduism and Delhi’s rule over South India, the Dravidian do not believe in a caste system. The caste system is said to be created after the invasion of the Aryans and after their encounter with the Adivasis and Dravidians. The caste is believed to have been established by Aryans based on their concept of white skinned and dark skinned people.
People of the South are anti-Brahmin and are against fundamentalism and Hindutva. According to them, those who advocate for violence are not Hindus. Hindus in the South are considered most tolerant and open as compared to the North. The Tamil have their own form of Hinduism which they proudly held against the Aryans. Hindus in the North consider Hinduism as the only acceptable religion and reject other religions. In the South, Hindus accept other religions and respect their followers. It was Ramasamy of the Justice Party who raised the slogan of ‘Tamil Nadu for Tamil’. Later on, all the states in the South became part of the slogan.
Tamils favours the demand of Dravida Nadu, which is the name of an independent state demanded by the Justice Party and Dravida Munnetra Kazhazam (DMK) for the people of the South. The DMK was founded by C. N Annadurai in 1949. Its objective was to create a separate homeland for Tamils, free of Aryan Influence. The first demand for Dravidu Nadu was made in 1963. The founder of DMK Annadurai is famous for his statement, “The reasons for creation of Dravida Nadu continue to hold good.” According to an article published in The Hindu, Dravidu Nadu is a political idea given by Ramasamy who came up with the slogan in response to when Hindi was made compulsory in school education.
Since 1967, there has been an unbroken tradition of regional party rule in the South. In 1976, Indira Gandhi dismissed the government of Chief Minister Mathuvel Karunanidhi of the DMK through a presidential order when he threatened secession. In 2017 Kerala refused to obey the ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter from Delhi. In 2018, the Telugu Desam party warned the Delhi government that if the South continued to be ignored, they would form a separate country. The South is also protesting against Delhi’s continuing injustice towards the people. They have also objected to the distribution of tax revenue amongst states.
The richer South accuses the North for taking everything from it and in return, nothing is being given. In 2018, during Modi’s visit to the Southern city of Chennai, citizens waved black flags and banners that read ‘Go back Modi’. Chandrababu Naidu, a former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh is an extreme critic of Modi’s RSS-led government. He has demanded a federation of Southern states to fight BJP/RSS’ supremacy. The president of DMK, M.K Stalin, favoured the demand for Dravida Nadu. He said that the Southern states should come together to demand Dravida Nadu. Across India, there is violence, unrest and several insurgencies for independence from India. Muslims in IIOJK have found it impossible to identify themselves as a Hindu Indian. Sikhs are struggling for a separate Khalistan. Maoists are operating in 13 out of 29 states and have an influence over 40 percent of the Indian geographical area. In the North East, a civil war for independence from India is happening. Dalits and Muslims are suffering from an apartheid and living a miserable life. These struggles and separatist tendencies across India may lead to its disintegration.

The writer is a retired brigadier and freelance columnist. He tweets @MasudAKhan6.

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