Rule of the Commoner: DMK and Formations of the Political in Tamil Nadu, 1949–1967

Rajan Kurai Krishnan, Dr B R Ambedkar University, Delhi,

Ravindran Sriramachandran, Ashoka University, Sonepat,

VMS Subagunarajan, Independent Researcher

About the book:

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has been singular in heralding and establishing a firm regional polity among the Indian states after the Indian Union was inaugurated as a republic. Academic scholarship has often treated the DMK as a Tamil nationalist or ethno-nationalist formation without conceptual clarity or critical insight. Rule of the Commoner demonstrates with persuasive evidence that the DMK appealed to a federalist and not nationalist imagination. The DMK’s combining of the non-Brahmin Dravidian identity and allegiance to Tamil language led to a counter hegemonic formation of the plebes and left populism.

Drawing on Ernesto Laclau, the book argues that the DMK achieved the construction of a people as Dravidian-Tamil, with Tamil being the empty signifier of the social whole, Brahmin vs. non-Brahmin divide functioning as the internal frontier leading to the formations of the political. It elaborates the conceptual scheme under the three rubrics of Ideation, Imagination and Mobilization.

First Edition | May 2022 | 318 pages

978-1-009-19717-5 (Hb)

Series: Metamorphoses of the Political: Multidisciplinary Approaches



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