"No Tamil Kingdom was ever brought down by an outsider, except when there were internal rivalries

Thanjai Nalankilli in An Analysis of Tamil History (book in preparation)


Nine Hundred Year Historical Perspective of how Tamil Nadu Lost its Sovereignty and How Selfish Politicians are Selling out Tamil National Rights Today

Part I

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, December 2001 (ID.2001-12-01)

Click here for MAIN INDEX to archived articles


People whose mother tongue is Hindi (similar to Tamil speakers are sometimes referred as Tamilans or Tamilians).


AIADMK- All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

BJP - Bharatiya Janata Party

DK- Dravida Kazhagam

DMK- Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam


Part I

1. Introduction

2. Feuds within the Dravidian Parties

3. Brief Sinhala Occupation of Parts of Tamil Nadu in the Twelfth Century

    3.1 History

    3.2 Lessons to be Learned

Addendum 1: Emerging Sinhala Aggressiveness towards Tamil Nadu today

1. Introduction

Dravida Kazhagam (DK) (The Dravidian Party or The Dravidian Organization) was started by E. V. Ramaswany (popularly known as EVR and Periyar) in 1944 to protect Dravida Nadu (the Dravidian Nation) comprising the southern regions of the Indian subcontinent from northern domination (more specifically Hindian domination) by establishing an independent Dravidian  Nation. (NOTE: Actually DK was not a new party. The original Justice Party, which had essentially the same goals as DK, was renamed and reorganized as DK in 1944.) DK garnered very little support in southern India except among the Tamil people of Tamil Nadu. Thus DK's goal of achieving an independent Dravida Nadu meant achieving an independent Tamil Nadu, separate from India. (In fact, in later years, Periyar explicitly stated that his struggle is for an independent Tamil Nadu.) 

When C. N. Annadurai split from DK and formed Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)  (Dravidian Progressive Party) in 1949, DMK's goals were identical to those of DK. Reasons for the split were personal differences and not ideological. Annadurai said that DK and DMK are together like a two-barrel gun with the same target, the liberation of Dravida Nadu (or more specifically, Tamil Nadu) from India

DMK's entry into the election arena in1957, its fair showing in the 1962 elections winning 50 seats in the state legislative assembly, its stunning victory in the 1967 elections trouncing the ruling Congress Party because of the brutal manner in which the latter crushed the Tamil Nadu Students' Anti-Hindi Imposition Agitation of 1965, and the continuing reign of DMK and its splinter offshoot All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu ever since 1967 raised some hope of a new era in which Tamil national rights may at least be partially protected within India (although DMK's renunciation of "independent Tamil Nadu demand" in 1963, following Indian Government's threat to ban the party, was a disappointment to Tamil nationalists). However that promise of protecting Tamil national rights at least partially never materialized. The selfish infighting between DMK and AIADMK leaders and the pursuit of power, pleasures and money on the part of some top-rung politicians resulted not in the protection of Tamil national rights but in the sellout of Tamil national rights and the total subservience to the Hindian overlords of the Indian Government in New Delhi. (Hindian domination of Tamil Nadu culturally, continued Hindi imposition, economic discrimination of Tamil Nadu and the total impotence of Tamil Nadu politicians to do anything about it have convinced Tamil nationalists that Tamil national rights cannot be protected within India and the liberation of Tamil Nadu from Indian rule is the only solution.)

2. Feuds within the Dravidian Parties 

Ever since M. G. Ramachandran split from DMK to form AIADMK in 1972 because of personal differences with the then DMK chief M. Karunanidi, these two parties contested elections in alliance with All-India parties like the Congress Party, Janata Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). These Hindian controlled all-India parties do not recognize Tamil national rights or even the Tamil national identity separate and distinct from the "Indian-Hindian identity". Both DMK and AIADMK paid lip service to such pro-Tamil policies like anti-Hindi imposition and devolution of power to states but did absolutely nothing to achieve even these very limited goals except to talk about them when it suited their selfish political agenda. Instead of pressuring their Hindian allies in the Indian Government for at least limited Tamil national rights, it has become a routine exercise for DMK and AIADMK leaders to kiss up to their Hindian allies (such as the Congress Party, Janata Dal and the BJP) to protect themselves from corruption charges, to stay in power in Tamil Nadu State and selfishly enjoy the fruits of power. 

DMK and AIADMK leaders are more interested in keeping each other down and taking revenge on each other than in protecting Tamil Nadu from Hindian domination in the spheres of economy, education and culture. During the reign of DMK and AIADMK for the past three and a half decades, Hindian domination in these and other spheres did not decrease but increased multifold. Hindi imposition continued ... Siphoning off of wealth from Tamil Nadu (and many other non-Hindi states) into Hindi states continued. (TAMIL TRIBUNE had published several articles about how wealth from non-Hindi states is transferred to Hindi states. A few samplings of those articles are listed at the end.) 

In the contest between DMK and AIADMK for power, whenever one lost in the election, the loser tended to seek help from the Indian Government to interfere on its behalf, over-riding even the very limited state rights offered in the Indian constitution. The total bankruptcy of principles and the utter selfishness of Tamil Nadu political leaders came to forefront in 2001. The personal feud and hatred between DMK chief M. Karunanidhi and AIADMK chief J. Jyalalithaa reached a super critical state in June 2001. Having faired so poorly in the 2001 state assembly elections, and unwilling to bear the victorious Jayalalithaa's furious retaliation and wait for his turn in future elections, Karunanidhi turned to his Hindian friends in the Indian Government. He pleaded with them to virtually take over all state rights thus allowing for and accepting the total supremacy of the Hindian controlled Indian Government over Tamil Nadu. This, coming from Karunanidhi, who paid at least lip service to the rights of Tamil Nadu all these years, was in fact very disappointing. The Hindian politicians in the Indian Government refused to do what he wanted, namely dismiss the AIADMK Government that was elected by the people with an overwhelming majority. Instead, taking this opportunity, the Hindian controlled Indian Government boldly made further inroads into law enforcement, education and culture in Tamil Nadu. In essence, Karunanidhi unwittingly paved the way for more Hindian control of Tamil Nadu, more control than ever before. Even the very limited rights Tamil Nadu enjoyed have been curtailed thanks to Karunanidhi's selfish pleading to the Indian Government for help. 

This current political scenario of Tamil chieftains quarrelling among themselves, inviting outside powers for help, and the outsider taking advantage of the situation and taking control of Tamil Nadu are all starkly similar to past historical events several hundred years ago. Those events resulted in the past in untold sufferings to Tamil people, looting of the Tamil nation by outsiders and the loss of sovereignty for Tamil Nadu. It would serve us well to meditate on past mistakes and avoid repeating them again and again.

3. Brief Sinhala Occupation of Parts of Tamil Nadu in the Twelfth Century

3.1. History

Tamil Nadu was divided into three principal kingdoms, namely, Chera Nadu, Chola Nadu and Pandya Nadu, and ruled by Chera, Chola and Pandya kings. (This arrangement goes back to from the very beginning of written Tamil history.) During the reign of Rajathi Raja Cholan II over Chola Nadu  (1163 - 1179), there was a quarrel within the Pandyan royal family for the throne of Pandiya Nadu. Both Parakkirama Pandyan and Kulasekhara Pandyan claimed the throne. Local chieftains within Pandya Nadu (who ruled small principalities subservient to the Pandya throne) took sides and a civil war ensued in Pandya Nadu. 

Parakkirama Pandyan held the capital city of Madurai and Kulasekhara Pandyan laid siege to it. Instead of keeping the fight within Pandya Nadu or even seeking help from a fellow Tamil king, Parakkirama Pandyan sought help from the Sinhala king Parakramabahu who was ruling the nearby island of Lanka. (Lanka is today called Sri Lanka. British called it Ceylon when it was part of the British Empire. Tamils used to call it Eelam or Ilankai. In recent years "Tamil Eelam" is used to refer to the historical Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern regions of the island.) Parakramabahu sent an army under the command of a Sinhala general, Lankapura (Lankapuri in Tamil). Before the army reached Pandya Nadu, Kulasekhara Pandyan capture Madurai and killed Parakkirama Pandyan. His son Veera Pandyan fled the capital and went into hiding. By now the Sinhala army landed in Pandya Nadu with orders from King Parakramabahu to defeat Kulasekhara Pandyan and put Veera Pandyan on the throne. The Sinhala army captured the coastal town of Rameshwaram and destroyed much of the famed Hindu temple for Lord Sivan (Lord Siva).

The Sinhala army marched from the coast into the interior of Pandya Nadu. It looted and burned many Tamil villages on the way. In the ensuing battles between the Sinhala army and Kulasekhara Pandyan's army, the latter met with defeat after defeat. Lankapura brought Veera Pandyan from hiding and installed him as the Pandya king in Madurai. 

Kulasekhara Pandyan gathered all forces in Padya Nadu loyal to him and waged war again and won a major victory against Lankapura. Veera Pandyan fled Madurai again. Sri Lankan King Parakramabahu sent reinforcements under the command of another Sinhala General, Jagat Vijaya (Jagat Vijayan). The combined forces of Lankapura and Jagat Vijaya defeated Kulasekhara Pandyan. The latter fled to the south (what is now known as Thirunelveli District) and sought help from the Chola King Rajathi Raja Cholan II. Rajathi Rajan sent an army under General Pallavarayan (Pallavarayar) to Pandya Nadu. He fought several battles with the Sinhalese army. Some of the major battles were at Thirukkanapaer, Thondi, Pasipon Amaravathi, Manamerkudi and Manjakudi. In the end Sinhalese army lost and Kulasekhara Pandyan became king of Pandya Nadu. 

Furious at reports of the devastation of Pandya Nadu under the Sinhala army (looting and burning of villages, killing of villagers, desecration of the Rameswaram temple), Rajarthiraja Cholan ordered General Pallavarayan to capture and execute General Lankapuri who commanded the Sinhala army in Pandya Nadu. Pallavarayan pursued Lankapuri, captured him and beheaded him. The severed head was hoisted on a spear at the gates of Madurai, the Pandyan capital. Crows and other birds ate the flesh of the head, and the skull remained on display at the gates for months. Thus ended the occupation of Pandya Nadu (about one-third of Tamil Nadu) by the Sinhalese army. [NOTE: The beheading and the public display of the severed head may look uncivilized and barbaric today but it was not an uncommon practice in those days. Today war criminals are executed in private (example: many German and Japanese officers were executed after the Second Word War in the 1940s).] 

3.2. Lessons to be Learned

At the root of this bloody and shameful episode in Tamil history is the feud within the royal family of the Pandya dynasty. Unable to settle their differences within the family as to who should ascend to the throne, they fight. Then the loser, instead of accepting defeat, seeks help, not from a fellow Tamil king, but from a foreigner (Sinhalese king). He allows for the foreign army to come to Tamil Nadu. The foreign army comes in, puts its puppet on the throne and plunders and loots the Tamil land. The foreign soldiers, who are alien to Tamil culture and have no respect for the Tamil people, brutalize the Tamil people. It took the military might of another Tamil king (the Chola king) to evict the occupying foreign army (the Sinhala army) from Pandiya Nadu. Much blood was shed in this liberation war. 

Today's Tamil Nadu politicians should learn a lesson from this bloody episode of internal squabbles, collaboration with foreigners, foreign occupation and suffering of the Tamil people. Internal squabbles should be settled within Tamil Nadu without inviting foreigners to come in. Losers of internal squabbles should accept loss gracefully. If you need allies, ally with other Tamil leaders, not with outsiders. Allying with outsiders and inviting them into Tamil Nadu leads to misery for the Tamil people in the long run. We will discuss this within the context of the 2001 political situation later in the article in more detail. In brief, competition for the throne (chief ministership) between DMK President Muthuvel Karunanidhi and AIADMK General Secretary Jeyaram Jayalalithaa should be settled within Tamil Nadu. Loser in an election should accept defeat gracefully and wait for his/her turn in the next election that should come in 5 years.  The loser should not invite foreign rule (dismissal of the elected Tamil Nadu Government and imposition of Presidential rule by a non-Tamil governor whose loyalty is not to the Tamil people but to the Indian Government which is dominated and controlled by Hindians). Ally with Tamil Nadu political parties and not with the so-called All-India parties (be it Congress or BJP or Janata Dal or whatever). These parties take their orders from outside of Tamil Nadu. War between Parakkirama Pandyan and Kulasekhara Pandyan for the Pandya throne and the loser (Parakkirama Pandyan) inviting the foreign Sinhala legions into Tamil Nadu lead to nothing but misery for the Tamil people and plundering of Tamil wealth. Today the same is happening. Taking advantage of the situation, the Hindian dominated Indian Government has quietly made further inroads into education, entertainment and police powers in Tamil Nadu (we will discuss how the Indian Government is using the battle between DMK and AIDMK to make further inroads into state powers in the final section this article.) History is repeating itself. 

In the twelfth century, there was a powerful Rajathi Raja Cholan to put and end to the Sinhalese occupation of  parts of Tamil Nadu. Is there any one today to end the Hindian (Indian) rule over Tamil Nadu? Is that leader currently in the liberation movement? Is he/she yet to enter the liberation struggle but is working or studying today? Is she/he in college today? In she/he in school today? Is that leader just crawling out of the cradle today? Or, is that leader yet to be born? The Tamil nation of Tamil Nadu waits for that savior to rise up and liberate the Tamil land from the Hindian (Indian) rule!

Addendum 1: Emerging Sihala Aggressiveness towards Tamil Nadu today

The Sinhala-Tamil civil war (or the Eelam Independence War) in Sri Lanka is international news now. We are not discussing it here. This addendum is about emerging Sinhala (Sri Lankan) aggressiveness towards Tamil Nadu today. Much of the information about Sinhala aggressiveness against Tamil Nadu today is from Usha Ramanathan's articles that are listed at the end of this article. Permission was obtained from the copyright holder.

In Section 3 we discussed the Sinhalese occupation of parts of Tamil Nadu in the twelfth century. As noted there, this foreign occupation ended with the decisive victory of Rajathi Raja Cholan's Tamil army under the command General Pallavarayan. Though there were wars between the Sinhala kings and kings of Tamil Nadu in later years, the Sinhala army never again tread Tamil Nadu. Now, over 800 years later, we see the present day Sinhala nation (that is, Sri Lanka) taking an aggressive posture towards Tamil Nadu, with the active connivance of the Indian Government.

During the past few years some 150 Tamil Nadu fishermen were shot and killed by the Sri Lankan Navy and many more wounded. Sri Lanka's excuse is that Tamil Nadu fishermen had entered their territorial waters. The fishermen claim that the shootings took place on the Tamil Nadu (Indian) side of the waters. Even if the fishermen did wander into Sri Lankan waters by mistake or purposively, Sri Lanka has no right to shoot at them under any international law, norm or protocol. (It is an easy mistake to cross into Sri Lankan waters because there is no visible borderline to demarcate the two sides. They might have even crossed into Sri Lankan waters purposively because the fish catch was better. Either way, Sri Lankan Navy has no right to shoot them under any law.)

Sri Lanka's aggressiveness has even reached Tamil Nadu soil. In October 1999, Sri Lankan war ships came all the way up to Tamil Nadu coast near Rameshwaram and shot at fishing families' houses (the same coastal area where the Sinhala army landed in the twelfth century and desecrated the famed Rameshwaram Hindu temple). Sri Lanka claimed that it pursued a boat carrying Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres fighting the Sri Lankan military. Sri Lankan Navy has no right to come all the way to Tamil Nadu coast and shoot at houses. It is against international laws. Suppose, during the Afghanistan war of 2001, the American Army entered parts of Kashmir in pursuit of the Afghan army and shot at Kashmiri Pandits, will India keep silent? No. But the Indian Government is yet to warn Sri Lanka about the killing of Tamil Nadu fishermen or the shooting at their houses. Though powerful Indian war ships stand just a few miles from where Tamil Nadu fishermen are being shot and killed, they keep a blind eye and do nothing to protect them. For the Hindian politicians who dominate and control the Indian Government, Tamil blood (Dravidian blood) is cheap. They don't want to quarrel with their Aryan (Sinhala) brothers of Sri Lanka over spilled Tamil Dravidian blood.

It is at times like these we wish that Tamil Nadu is an independent country (not a state in India) with its own military. In the twelfth century we beat the Sinhala army and navy back to Sri Lanka and executed the Sinhalese General who committed war crimes in Tamil Nadu, because then the Chola king of Tamil Nadu had an army and navy to protect the Tamil people. But, alas, today Tamil Nadu is not a sovereign nation and thus has no army, has no navy, has no air force to protect its people. We beg the Indian Government who rules us and whose military is paid for in part by Tamil taxpayers. Blood of Tamil fishermen spilled in the southern seas by Sri Lankan bullets mean little to the Hindian politicians who dominate the Indian Government; they are expendable Dravidian blood. Had it been Aryan-Hindian blood, the Indian Air Force and Navy would have rushed to destroy the Sri Lankan Naval ships that shoot at the fishermen. (See Usha Ramanathan's articles on the subject for more details on Indian Governments step-motherly treatment of our fishermen and the reasons behind it. These articles are listed at the end of this article.)

I see in my mind the vision of the mighty Tamil Army of Rajathi Raja Cholan under the command of General Pallavarayan battling the powerful Sinhala Army to protect the Tamil people from Sinhala soldiers. Sword to sword they clash at battles of Thirukkanapaer, Thondi, Pasipon Amaravathi, Manamerkudi and Manjakudi. Finally the Sinhala army was defeated and in the run. General Lankapuri was captured and brought before Pallavarayan in chains. At the orders of Emperor Rajathi Raja Cholan, sentenced to death for war crimes against the Tamil people and was executed. The vision in my mind's eye fades and I come to the reality of today. Tamil Nadu fishermen are shot and killed by the Sinhalese Navy of Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu State Chief Minister pleads and pleads to the Prime Minister of India to protect the fishermen. The Prime Ministers refuses to act. Killing of the fishermen continue. Wailing of the widows and children left behind by the fishermen continue. All that the Tamil Nadu State Chief Minister could offer are a few drops of tear and sympathy!

Oh, how we wish that Tamil Nadu is an independent nation with its own Army, Navy and Air Force under the Prime Minister of the Republic of Tamil Nadu. Will the Sri Lankan Navy even dare to turn its guns towards our fishermen? 

(Part II of the article traces the history from the thirteenth century to today. Article discusses in some detail how and under what circumstances Tamil Nadu lost its sovereignty, and why it is yet to recover it.

Click below for Part:2

Nine Hundred Year Historical Perspective of how Tamil Nadu lost its Sovereignty and How Selfish Politicians are selling out Tamil National Rights Today: Part II (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, February 2002.


Archived articles on Economic Discrimination of Tamil Nadu by Indian Government (OR Search the internet with the following key words: economic discrimination Tamil Nadu India)

Gujral and the Fishermen (by Usha Ramanathan), TAMIL TRIBUNE, December 1997 (15 KB)

Remove all Indian Military Bases from Tamil Nadu (by Usha Ramanathan), TAMIL TRIBUNE, May 2000 (17 KB) (see Sections 1 to 4)

NOTE: Tamil names are sometimes spelled differently by different authors. Here are some variations of spellings of names used in this article:

Chera Nadu - Cheranadu
Chola - Chozha
Cholan - Chozhan 
Chola Nadu - Cholanadu, Chozhanadu
Kulasekhara Pandyan - Kulashekhara Pandyan, Kulashekara Pandiyan, Kulasekara Pandian
Madhavi - Madavi, Mathavi
Madurai - Mathurai, Madura, Mathura
Nadu - Nad
Pallavarayan - Pallawarayan, Pallawarayar, Pallavarayar
Pandya - Pandia, Pandiya
Pandya Nadu - Pandyanadu, Pandyanad
Pandyan - Padian, Pandiyan
Parakkirama Pandyan - Parakirama Pandiyan
Rajathi Raja Cholan - Rajathiraja Chozhan
Rameshwaram - Rameswaram, Rameshvaram, Ramesvaram
Sivan - Shivan, Siva, Shiva
Thirunelveli - Tirunelveli, Tinnelveli
Veera Pandyan - Veerapandyan, Veerapandiyan, Veerapandian

----    2001-a1d

Your comments on this article or any other matter relating to Tamil are welcome

(e-mail to: tamiltribuneatasia.com Please replace "at" with the @ sign.)

Copyright 2009 by TAMIL TRIBUNE. All rights reserved. No part of this article should be copied or distributed in any form by any means without written permission from TAMIL TRIBUNE. Those interested in re-publishing this article read http://www.tamiltribune.com/gen/permit.html for details or e-mail us.