While they are at protest sites across Tamil Nadu, doing particularly nothing, the youth of Tamil Nadu should probably introspect as to why they are not able to exert on Centre, an influence that is proportional to their numbers and zeal. Only through such an analysis can they identify what they lack, and perhaps effect a course correction that can save Tamil politics from losing its relevance
In my opinion, one of the important reasons is the predominance of regional politics. Instead of national parties that have a vision for India and for the state as a part of India, the political space in Tamil Nadu has, for several decades now, been monopolized by parochial leaders and regional parties whose relationship with the Central Government has been mostly limited to lobbying and bargaining. This became even worse with unstable coalition governments at Centre, and has gradually eroded the respect and power that leaders like Rajaji easily commanded.
The past is past, but it has lessons that can show the right direction to the leaderless masses that have taken to streets across the state. Rather than entrench themselves deeper and deeper into regional pride and isolation, they should focus on breaking the barrier of regionalism that prevents free expansion and full expression of the beautiful and traditionally rich Tamil culture. Tamil culture (or cultures, in fact, since it is so rich and diverse) is as integral and irreplaceable a constituent of Indian culture as is the culture of any other part of India. Being a part of the whole does not destroy the identity of the culture. Instead, it enhances its beauty as in the case of jewels that form a necklace.
I am not writing this as a Malayali who’s telling Tamilians what to do – but as an Indian seeking a constructive discussion with fellow Indians on what we all can do better. The pride, unity and determination of Tamil people is remarkable. It would be a pity for this flood to go down the drain when it can be channeled into the river of a broader identity.