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BJP Dubs Shudra Remark Anti-Hindu, Raja Claims he Quoted From Manusmriti

Sruti MD |
Joint meetings of DMK, VCK, Congress and Left parties were held in parts of western Tamil Nadu to ensure peace following the Hindu Munnani’s strike against the comments in the Nilgiris on September 20.
Image credit: Prakash R.

Image credit: Prakash R.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) deputy general secretary and Nilgiris MP A Raja has stuck to his ‘Shudra-Hindu’ comment despite state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president K Annamalai, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leaders and Opposition leader Edappadi K Palaniswami condemning his statement as anti-Hindu.

You are a Shudra as long as you are a Hindu. You are the son of a prostitute till you remain a Shudra,” the former telecom minister during the United Progressive Alliance era is seen saying in a speech at Periyar Thidal on September 6 that went viral.

Raja’s comment triggered a major controversy with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) magazine Organiser stating: “If you are a Hindu, means you are a Shudra and Shudra means you are a son of a prostitute.”

A article read: “Hindus are Shudras and untouchables” and “You are the son of a prostitute till you remain as Shudra”. Times Now projected Raja’s comments as “Hindu is Equal to Shudra”.

The Tamil Nadu-based Hindu right-wing organisation Hindu Munnani called for a strike in the Nilgiris district on September 20. The BJP’s Coimbatore president was arrested and booked under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act on September 22.


Replying to the attacks on him, Raja clarified that his words were taken from the Hindu scripture Manusmriti and not his own.

Refusing to express regret for “quoting from the Manusmriti”, Raja said last week, “Let them move the court so that I could read the text out and explain inherent caste stratification in it with evidence.”

Kankaraj, a Democratic Youth Federation of India member from Coimbatore, alleged that “the BJP is mobilising its cadre by stating that Raja is repeatedly hurting the sentiment of Hindus”. “They are not revealing that what he said was taken from the Manusmriti,” he told Newsclick. “They ask, ‘Will Raja dare to speak derogatively about other religions?’ Thereby, they attempt to portray DMK as anti- Hindu.”

However, “the response from the public has been mixed”, Kankaraj claimed. “Some people are offended and asked, ‘How can A Raja speak like this?’ Others feel removing a portion of A Raja’s speech and circulating it was unethical.”

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi founder Thol Thirumavalavan on September 21 backed Raja’s comments. “He spoke about what is written in the Manusmriti: if we say we are Hindu, we might have to accept we are Shudras. Then, one has to accept what the Manusmriti says about Shudras. So, he asked those who are identified as Shudras … the Manusmriti says what he said about Shudras,” he told The Hindu.

Thirumavalavan, who had spearheaded a campaign against the Manusmriti in 2020, added that Raja merely reiterated what Periyar and Dr Ambedkar had said. “Why are Sanatan forces and Brahmins like H Raja (of the BJP) getting so angry? Is he a Shudra?” he asked.

Since the DMK has not issued an official statement on the controversy, there is no clarity on whether the party officially endorses Raja’s remarks—though sympathisers and the DMK’s IT wing continued to defend him.

Tiruppur-based journalist Thooyavan Velumani thinks that the “DMK is scared of being tagged as anti-Hindu”. “No big leader of the party spoke in defence of Raja. Only social media campaigns were happening,” he told Newsclick.

In fact, other organisations came out openly in support of A Raja—such as the Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam and Thamizhaga Makkal Otrumai Medai,” Velumani added.


Nearly 80% of the shops remained shut in Coonoor, Kotagiri and Gudalur following the Hindu Munnani strike call. “The bandh was successful but it is unclear whether people shut shops to condemn the speech of the MP of their constituency or in fear of Hindu Munnani,” said Kanakaraj.

Joint meetings of representatives from various political parties, including DMK, VCK, Congress and the Left, were held in parts of western Tamil Nadu following the strike call to ensure peace in the region.

The all-party meetings established Makkal Padhugappu Koottamaippu—common platforms to end communal tension in parts of Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Erode and Nilgiris. The initiative was taken up in Karamadai, near Mettupalayam, in Coimbatore, soon after the hotel named after Periyar was vandalised,” Kanakaraj added. “Efforts are under way in Avinashi, Annur and Sathyamangalam.”

Hindu Munnani has called for another bandh Tuesday to protest Raja’s comments on the Manusmriti. In response, the Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam organised a bandh against the BJP government’s policies at the Centre on Monday.

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