DMK likely to hold two-day global conference for Tamil deity Murugan | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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DMK likely to hold two-day global conference for Tamil deity Murugan

By, Chennai
May 21, 2024 04:14 PM IST

The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) in Tamil Nadu is likely to hold a two-day global conference for Tamil deity Murugan in July

The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) in Tamil Nadu is likely to hold a two-day global conference for Tamil deity Murugan in July. According to people aware of the matter, with this, the DMK aims to shed the anti-Hindu tag particularly after facing heat over the Sanatana Dharma stir.

The conference is likely to be held in July. (ANI)
The conference is likely to be held in July. (ANI)

The two-day international conference will be led by minister for Hindu religious & charitable endowments Sekar Babu. A 20-member committee has been formed to oversee the entire management of the conference. “It will be held in July for two days,” said a senior government official, adding that the dates will be finalised after the results for Lok Sabha elections are announced on June 4. The conference is likely to be held in Palani, one of the six abodes of Lord Murugan in Tamil Nadu. “There will be seminars, exhibitions and discussions. Devotees of Lord Murugan and spiritual leaders will participate. This will help showcase the greatness of the Lord and Tamil culture to the world,” the official quoted above said.

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People familiar with the matter said the conference shows the DMK’s stand that they have come far from the alleged anti-Hindu party and will not cede space of being custodians of religious practices to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The choice of Murugan also aligns with the party’s linguistic politics as he is known as the deity of the Tamils, they added. Through his campaign before Tamil Nadu went to polls on April 19, chief minister and DMK president MK Stalin showed that he is not willing to ignore the BJP’s campaign that he’s anti-Hindu. His choice of Babu to head HR&CE as minister, who is a devout believer was the first indication of the DMK’s tactical navigation from explicit atheism to realistic political accommodation that punched holes in the campaign of the opposition AIADMK and BJP alike.

“DMK’s idea is to stop the BJP from making inroads and to show that they are not anti-Hindu,” says political analyst Maalan Narayanan. “But, being a party of atheists and followers of Periyar (EV Ramasamy - founder of the Dravidian movement-whichever God they take up, will not attract credibility because it goes against the ideals of their party.”

Before the assembly elections in 2021, the BJP’s state unit went on a padyatra in the name of Lord Murugan which only received a tepid response. The HR&CE department meanwhile has been in the spotlight for progressive initiatives such as allowing women and people from all communities to become priests as well as controversies where they are at loggerheads with hereditary priests at the famous Chidambaram temple. The BJP has been campaigning for temples to be free from the control of the HR&CE. “The Congress took a beating when they shifted from socialism to liberalism,” says Narayanan. “While Indira Gandhi began going to temples, meeting Hindu saints to gain Hindu votes, Vajpayee was moving towards secularism to gain Muslims votes. But, it didn’t work for both parties. Similarly, people can see through the hypocrisy when the DMK talks about sanathana dharma and Murugan conference,” he said.

Babu was also criticised over the Sanatana Dharma controversy when he was on stage with sports minister Udhayanidhi Stalin, last September when he made controversial remarks in a public speech. Udhayanidhi was speaking at the conference titled “Eradication of Sanatana Dharma”. BJP’s national leadership including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah accused the DMK and the Opposition INDIA bloc (which includes the DMK) of being anti-Hinduism.Several police cases were filed against Udhayanidhi across the country over his comment and there was even a bounty on his head. But he doubled down on his stance that Sanatana Dharma “promotes casteism and inequality”. The case is ongoing in the Supreme Court.

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