Shri. Kadeswara Subramaniam was in Pune on Sunday to receive the prestigious Shri Golwarkar Guruji Puraskar 2021 to Hindu Munnani from Jan Kalyan Samiti, Pune. A long time Sangha worker, Subramaniam has been the State President of Hindu Munnani since 2015. Hindu Munnani has been at the forefront of fighting the anti-God and anti-hindu brigade in the state of Tamil Nadu, and we spoke to Subramaniam to get an insight to the beginnings and impact of Munnani’s work.
In TN the anti-God Dravida Kazhagam, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) were strong and aggressive during 1967–75. That was when the RSS at its Baithak decided that this situation should be challenged. There used to have debates like “Was Madhavi virtuous or Kannagai or Sita” or indulge in beating Rama or Ganesha vigrahas with chappals. There was no one to stop these kind of anti-Hindu activities. It was under such circumstances, to counter such activities, Hindu Munnani was started with Rama Gopalanji as its head in 1980.
Around that time problems started at Mandaikkadu, a town in Kanyakumari district. There was a strong move to convert the district to “Kanni Meri” (Virgin Mary) district. There were lot of religious conversions in Mandaikkadu and Christians tried to prevent the Bhagavathy temple festival, created trouble and abused women. They created a big riot. Even the police were not able to prevent violence. A policeman was hooked on to a fishing hook, dragged and thrown into the sea. RSS, Hindu Munnani all worked together to douse the fire.
M.G.Ramachandran was the chief minister at the time, and Thanulinga Nadar who was a Congress MLA and MP earlier joined Hindu Munnani. While Gopalji was the founder, Thanulingam was the state president. He used his political experience, had a dialogue with MGR, and his demands for a commission was accepted.
What about the issue of conversions?
There was a massive conversion effort, to convert around one lakh Dalits to Islam at Kurayur (near Madurai). They started giving small loans to lure them, and the poor were stuck not being able to repay. They also renamed it Rahmat Nagar, though it was later reversed. Hindu Munnani led the efforts, leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited so also other politicians. Spiritual leaders visited there to bring the situation under control. Sanyasis, Mathadhipatis undertook padayatra. We brought the converts back to their mother religion.
Mandaikkadu, Meenakshipuram (Tirunelveli district where mass Islamic conversions took place) and Kurayur, that was the beginning of Hindu Munnani’s intervention and work for Hindu cause. Then the Jalakanteswarar temple – where the temple which was empty without a vigraha the Shivalinga was installed. Even for the Ayodhya movement, Jalakanteswarar temple incident showed us a way. It received the support of people, and the temple continues to be under worship.
At Ganapathipalayam near Pollachi close to Kerala border 1500 acres of land was bought to put up a slaughter house. That is the route through which cow trafficking to Kerala for slaughter happens. We fought successfully under Gopalji’s leadership and prevented it.
RSS and many of the parivar organizations were already working in the state. What was the specific goal of Hindu Munnani?
Sangha had shakha, discipline and individual ethics and morality at the core. There was a need for an organization that would get down on to the streets to fight for Hindus. Hindu Munnani did that. Other organizations are not like that.
There was also a political necessity at that time for such an organization?
The Dravidian forces were fierce at that time. There were no political opponents who could challenge them. Christians had an upper hand. Muslims and conversion issues were also there. We can only say it was an external conspiracy. In recent times, people like Tirumavalavan, Naxalites have been active. We hear there are foreign funded Christian forces, we also hear of Chinese funding. There is a necessity at present times to challenge these forces, and now there is an awareness that these forces have to be fought. Lot of youngsters have joined Hindu Munnani. 375 district committees meet every week. If there are any problems at temples, they come to Hindu Munnani looking for support.
There are issues like the sudden Churches that crop up with no permission and where no Christian population lives. They lure people into conversion. In fact, we have been fighting for not only awareness among Hindus but also the need for anti-conversion act. J. Jayalalithaa when she was the chief minister brought in the act, but repealed once she lost heavily in the next Parliament elections. Though there were many reasons for her loss, she believed strongly the Act was one of the main reasons.
We continue to work in creating awareness for such an Act, for anti-conversion and cow slaughter. There is a change of scenario now. The parties that support Hindus should be voted, that feeling is there. That is why we see DMK’s Stalin picking up “vel” (the spear symbol of Subramanya) to show that his party has lot of Hindus. We feel that it is a successful result of the kind of work Hindu Munnani has done.
There was a great transformation back then when you started the Ganesh Chaturti festivals isn’t it? A state where Ganesha statues were being broken grand public celebrations of Ganesh festivals started happening.
Gopalji wanted to bring Hindus together like how Bal Gangadhar Tilak did during the freedom movement. He started it with just one Sarvajanik Ganesha in Chennai. Today there are lakhs of Ganesha festivals. In Chennai alone there were 10,000 sarvajanik Ganesha festival. There were a lot of Ganesha festivals that happened at individual, household level also last year totalling to almost 10 lakh Ganeshas. There has been a real resurgence brought in by Hindu Munnani. Earlier many used to create hurdles, trouble, but today it is not possible.
Be it Ganesh Chaturthi festivals or your other activities, it had to be done in an atmosphere charged with anti-Hindu anti-God feelings, how did you face them?
When there is an uprising among youth, we can do. However, we had lost 137 of our people in this struggle. Gopalji has won in this (Success of the Savarajanik Ganesh Chaturthi). Rajagopal, state president, was killed in front of his house in Madurai. Apart from that 137 supporters died in the hands of Islamic terrorists. Unfortunately, there has been no political will to bring the offenders to book. But the support for our cause has surged.
TN’s anti-God politics an enigma to many outside the state? How are those who oppose God able to rule despite the state being soaked in spiritual traditions, individuals who profess bhakti and visit temples?
In the early days, during the Congress rule, it was supportive of the rich and elite. The DK, DMK exploited the situation, projected themselves as the supporters of downtrodden and through their speech they were able to grow. They used that to project atheism, anti-Hindu feelings to destroy Hindu religion. There were a lot of lies and false propaganda. That has changed now. Hindu Munnani’s relentless work over four decades has had an impact. It would impact them even in the forthcoming elections. There is a transformation among people now. They lied, and people believed in false promises like Annadurai’s “roobaikku 3 padi arisi” (3 measures of rice for one rupee).
But Tamil cinema and media is back to lot of anti-Hindu propaganda of late, isn’t it?
There are a lot Naxalite minds that have entered the film industry. Backing them are organisations supported by the Church in terms of funding etc., Koothupattarai (drama workshop) to create writers, directors to promote such films are conducted. Though recent movies like “Mookuthi Amman” saw a lot of opposition, there was an uproar from Hindus about denigration of our gods and saints. This trend in media against Hindus will not continue, it will go down.
What are the initiatives from Hindu Munnani to counter them?
We have a ladies’ wing in Hindu Annayar Munnani. Attempts to erase cultural symbols, to erase Hinduism, we are exposing such attempts. We are taking this message to households. We are creating awareness about how Love Jihad is used for conversion. We dedicate one month every year to take cultural awareness to households.
Hindu temples under the government control. There are loud voices now for freeing Hindu temples, how do you support them?
Hindu Munnani has been consistently been putting for the demand that the HR&CE should exit temple administration and the entry fees should be abolished. We have been demanding this for a long time. In some places where there are private temples like the golden temple near Vellore, how well it is maintained, organized. Most government managed temples do make pilgrims cringe in their unclean ways of maintenance, not creating any convenience for pilgrims, charging entry, darshan fees. We want a separate establishment created under the aegis of Saints, Mathadhipatis, IAS officers – on the line of Church and Mosques which have independent bodies with government oversight.
What is your future plan?
To defeat the anti-Hindu coalition! One coalition is full of anti-Hindu forces. Defeat of the anti-Hindu coalition in near future is perceptible. If we win, our wishes would be fulfilled.
(TN goes to polls in April with two major political formations one led by DMK-Congress and another AIADMK-BJP)