Tamil Nadu has been a veritable ground zero for divisive ideologies and anti-national forces. Building on themes and narratives provided by the book Breaking India , the third conference held at IIT Madras examined various divisive theses prevalent in the polity and socio-cultural milieu of Tamil Nadu.
In addition to the scholarship on the themes of critique of the Dravidian movement, themes engaging with the realities of caste in Hinduism, the significance of the spiritual streams in the region and their relevance to modern Tamil society, exploring the embedded sacredness of Tamil life in terms of its traditions and practices were unique themes, both in scope and in terms of being new academic territory as much of traditional sources of knowledge had to be engaged with.
The conference also had interesting panel discussions in addition to plenary sessions and 46 papers. The panel discussions addressed the motives and implications of the Harvard Tamil Chair, the current state of the Aryan Theories, contemporary Dravidian Hinduphobia in Tamil Nadu, the spiritual traditions in Tamil Nadu and the pan Indic nature of traditions showcasing the integral unity of the civilisation. The wide range of scholarship and ideas engaged with was in many ways truly uncharted.
The core divisive ideas and the ideology of the Dravidian movement was engaged with head on and all of its founding theses were critically examined and refuted with evidence. Dr. Nagaswamy in his plenary showcased the theme of the conference in no uncertain terms – Tamil Nadu as the land of Dharma.