Chennai: In a surprising and sensational move, MDMK chief Vaiko, who proclaims himself to be a loyal follower of EVR Periyar, the rationalist founder of Dravidian ideology that spawned the DMK and other kazhagams, has now exhorted all the Tamils to visit temples, which he says are treasure houses of great sculptures.
"There's nothing wrong going to temples, 99 per cent of people in Tamil Nadu are going to temples and other places of worship. We must change our stance and stra-tegy to suit the changing times", said Vaiko addressing a MDMK rally here on the occasion of the Mupp-erum Vizha on Sunday.
Then came his political missile -- "We must change our strategy to defeat the designs of mathavaathi-sakithigal (communal forces)". Obviously, the 'forces' he referred to were the saffron outfits - the BJP, RSS and Hindu allies.
"The question will be asked why Vaiko, who has been an atheist all along, is now changed in this manner and if I had deserted Periyar's ideology. Anna himself had changed; he did not speak in 1960 what he had said in the 40s and 50s. We must change our strategy to prevent our enemies from taking control, winning power. Veeramani (DK president) may not agree with me", thundered Vaiko.
"If you do not want to go temples, do not go; but why do you criticise or poke fun at those who go to temples?" asked Vaiko, pointing out that "99 per cent of people in TN go to temples and you cannot stop them".
It may not be out of place here to recall that the late DMK chief M Karunanidhi had made fun of his party MP 'Aadhi' Shankar for wearing kumkum (he wanted to know he was bleeding in the forehead) and slammed his minister Andhiyur Selvaraj for walking on fire at a temple festival. However, his successors in the party have chosen to scale down on atheism - perhaps realising that not only did not yield them the votes but also went against public sentiment - and many in the household openly worshipped at the various famous temples.
Vaiko also said he was preparing to hold in grand manner the kumbabhishekam of the famous Sundaraperumal temple, built by his grandfather, at his Kalingapatti town. "The people there wanted it and I readily responded", said the MDMK chief.
Responding to Vaiko's statement, DMK spokesman TKS Elangovan, MP, told DC: "We cannot accept Vaiko’s version that Anna had changed his views over a period of time. Our party founder had stuck to the rationalist views and also propounded that there's only one community having only one God (Ondrey-Kulam, Oruvaney-Thevan). The DMK had only involved itself in campaigning for social justice and had not involved itself in any campaign against religious practices"....