Thursday, September 28, 2023

Malaysian daily promotes Church Pongal picture on first page, Hindus condemn appropriation


With Dravidianist influence on the rise, Malaysian media appears to be encouraging Christian appropriation of Hindu practices.

The Sun, a free national daily reported Christians celebrating Thai Pongal, a Tamil Hindu festival in a church, on its first page. Efforts are already on to appropriate Pongal in Bharat with Dravidians and Tamil nationalists spreading lies that it is a secular festival.

The Sun, a free national daily in Malaysia, published a picture of the Pongal celebration in a church on its first page even though it is a Hindu festival and celebrated with pomp in all temples. This is seen as an attempt to appropriate Thai Pongal, the Tamil festival, as a secular, and eventually a Christian festival by the church and its agents. Strengthening of Dravidian ideology through Periyarist organisations is feared to be the cause of this blatant attempt at appropriation.

Periyarist organisations have been finding roots in recent years in Malaysia. In 2019, Dravidar Kazhagam leader K Veeramani was invited to an event organised by the Indian High Commission concerning the screening of the movie “Periyar”, an autobiography of EV Ramasamy. But it was canceled after severe opposition from Malaysian Hindus. Veeramani hurt Hindu sentiments by abusing Bhagwan Krishna in 2012 in an event held in Ipoh.

Malaysia Hindu Sangam condemned his speech then and actively campaigned against his visit in 2019. Malaysian Tamils who opposed his visit said that they had rejected the anti-Hindu Dravidian ideology a long time ago and Veeramani’s visit would only bring discord among the citizens of Malaysia. Malaysians believe in “Rukunegara kepercayaan kepada tuhan”, which translates into “Believe in God and in achieving a more perfect unity amongst the whole society” in Malay language. It is the Malaysian declaration of national philosophy instituted by the royal proclamation.

Malaysian Hindus feel that Dravidian ideology is against this principle as it advocates hatred against Hindu dharma and thus sows discord between people of different faiths. Yet cryptos and followers of Dravidian ideology seem to have gained influential positions in Malaysian institutions. In 2021, such people who infiltrated educational institutions included a chapter on EV Ramasamy in 6th standard Tamil book. But parents caught them early and the chapter was removed after Malaysia Hindu Sangam took up the issue.

At that time, parents expressed their displeasure at their children being taught that Pongal is not a Hindu festival and Tamil New Year falls on the first day of Tamil month Thai. Since then the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, along with World Hindu Council and other Hindu organisations, has been fighting against the Dravidian misinformation campaign about Pongal and Tamil New Year. It implored Malaysian Tamils to not fall for the cheap politics of politicians “camouflaging as saviours of the Tamil people and Tamil language openly condemning the Hindu religion”.

Unfortunately, Dravidianists avail enormous resources, whether it is money or manpower and appear to have infiltrated important fields in Malaysia as well. There is little other explanation for the first-page picture of a church celebrating Pongal in The Sun. The campaign to deHinduise Pongal is not that different in Tamil Nadu. While usually only reports of Samathuva Pongal(Equality Pongal) being celebrated by Christians find mention in the media, this year, news reports of Christians celebrating Pongal early morning in churches were reported by the media in a great number.

Dravidianists and Tamil nationalists have been trying to either dissuade Tamil Hindus from celebrating major Hindu festivals like Deepavali, claiming that Narakasuran was a Tamil oppressed by an Aryan god Krishna or deHinduise them by trying to paint them as secular festivals. Apart from destroying Hindu practices, it also tries to cater to the new converts who cannot entirely give up the lifelong practices. As such, whether it is Malaysia or Tamil Nadu, Tamil Hindus face the same issue of busting missionary propaganda to save their traditions.

(This story was posted first on Hindu Post and it is being republished here with permission.)

(Articles and opinions reflect personal views, perspectives and arguments of the author. Opinions expressed in columns and articles in no way represent views and opinions of Town Post, its editor or its editorial policies.)


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