ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Congress(I) and Communalism

MGR and Static Equilibrium M S S PANDIAN (EPW, July 29) attempts to explore the screen-image of MGR and its insertion into the preexisting common sense of the 'subaltern classes' in Tamil Nadu. There is no doubt about the significance of cinema in Tamil Nadu politics. But the basic problem with Pandian's discussion that both dynamic and sialic aspects of Tamil Nadu politics are consigned to the background. MGR's rise in state politics is closely connected with the fortunes of the DMK ideology and the political alignments in the state. Ideologically, certain weaknesses of the DMK ideology were obvious from the early fifties. In spite of a streak of radicalism the overall tone of the DMK ideology was reformist. To popularise its ideology leaders such as C N Annadurai had to fall back on 'glamorous' persons like MGR. Posing a challenge to the monolithic Congress proved no easy task for the DMK. It had lo compromise at various levels in the course of the battle against the Congress. Though the DMK wrested power from the Congress in 1967 it did not ensure a complete hegemony over the classes in the state. What remained of the DMK ideology after C N Annadurai's death was a spectacle of clash of personalities representing their respective groups. This further weakened the vigour of the DMK ideology giving rise to the emergence of individuals on the political scene. Ideology took a backseat.

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