Chennai: Tamil Nadu Sports Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin had made remarks about Sanathana Dharma based on his understanding of the speeches and writings of Dravidian movement leaders Periyar E V Ramasamy and Father of the Indian Constitution B R Ambedkar, the Madras High Court was informed on Wednesday.
Justice Anita Sumanth, who is hearing a writ of quo warranto against Udhayanidhi, had during the course of hearing asked on the basis of which literature he had understood that Sanathana Dharma promoted caste system. “Your understanding appears to be that it refers to varnas or the inherent divisions on the basis of caste...What is the research that was done to arrive at such an assumption,” she asked.
Influence of Periyar and Ambedkar's writings?
Responding to this, his senior counsel P Wilson, who is also a DMK Rajya Sabha member, said it was based on speeches and writings of Periyar and Ambedkar. He pointed out the petitioner, who had questioned under what authority Udhayanidhi was continuing as a Minister, has relied on a 1902 edition of ‘Santana Dharma - An Advanced Textbook of Hindu Religion and Ethics’ published by the Board of Trustees of Central Hindu College in Benares.
Sanatana Dharma - An Advanced Textbook of Hindu Religion & Ethics
This book states it is based upon four Smritis including Manusmiriti which propagates Varnas or division on the basis of caste assigned by birth.
To a specific question from the judge, the senior counsel said Udhayanidhi had access to this book even before delivering his speech at the conference to eradicate Sanathana Dharma as it was in the public domain. Wilson also submitted that Ambedkar had burnt copies of the Manusmriti.
The judge thereafter adjourned the hearing