Chennai: An invitation by TPDK to call for protest against Brahminism, contained an image of a pig wearing the thread worn by Brahmins. The poster was circulated by Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK), which is a political outfit in Tamil Nadu.
‘Panrikku Poonool podum porattum’, a protest where pigs will be made to wear the thread- which is considered as sacred by Hindus- to be held at the Sanskrit College in Chennai on 7 August. The day marks Avani Avittam, which is a sacred day for Brahmins in Tamil Nadu. Brahmins in Tamil Nadu change their thread on this day in a yearly ceremony. As per TPDK, such a protest on this day will create shockwaves amongst the Brahmin community, reports the Quint.
“Brahmins wear the poonool because they want to differentiate themselves from other castes and make themselves seem superior,” says S Kumaran, Chennai President of the TPDK.
“By default, the society views being compared to a pig as an insult and so we decided to use the animal,” he explains.
According to this Dravidian fringe group, bitterness towards Brahmins has been reduced during the last decade. However, they now hope to revive their sentiments.
Why to protest now?
“With the BJP in power at the Centre, the RSS, which is basically a Brahmin outfit, has gained too much power. This is aimed at countering any effort to suppress the lower castes,” says Kumaran.
On being asked about the attacks of the intermediate castes on Dalits, he said, “Yes, Gounders and Vanniyars discriminate and incite violence against Dalits. But why do they do it? It is because, centuries back, Brahmins created the four varnas and a hierarchy of superiority.”
TPDK last year had tried to burn effigies of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana to show displeasure towards ‘Aryan invasion’, a theory which has since been discredited. They have painted the walls in the city for invitations for this year’s protest.
How did Tamil Nadu BJP react to this:
“How can you ridicule something that is very personal to a community? If they think the sacred thread doesn’t make anyone superior, why even protest against it?” ask BJP youth wing President for Tamil Nadu, SG Suryah.
“They are also forgetting that it is not just Brahmins who wear this thread,” he adds.
Aravindan Neelakandan, writing for the right-wing magazine Swarajya, argues that many communities like potters, carpenters and goldsmiths also don the sacred thread. Valluvars, Purohits and astronomers of Parayar community are also known to wear the sacred thread, he says, adding that wearing the sacred thread is not exclusive to one set of people.
“But this is not socially accepted,” says Kumaran. “Nowhere in the Vedas does it say that nobody but Brahmins can wear this thread,” he claims.
Note: The TDPK has now changed their poster which is shown here. An error in the name of the TPDK spokesperson has also been rectified.