From BoJack in veshti to black queen’s triumph, Chess Olympiad’s ‘Tamil id politics’

Chennai: As chess gamers give attention to their opponents’ subsequent strikes on the ongoing forty fourth Chess Olympiad at Mamallapuram, the occasion has given the Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) authorities a possibility to proceed its dialog on federalism and state autonomy, and the state a possibility to claim its personal id, in line with political observers.

From the horse-faced and vesti-clad ‘Thambi’ (which in Tamil means ‘youthful brother’), to the now-viral ‘Verify Mate’ dance The place a black queen beats her white opponent, the occasion additionally incorporates symbolism concerning the battle between darkish and lightweight pores and skin tones and the assertion of the Tamil id, say political observers.

“The Chess Olympiad has offered a possibility to showcase the political idea of federalism and state autonomy, whereas willingly and pleasantly collaborating with the Union authorities,” Professor S. Anandhi, who makes a speciality of id politics on the Madras Institute of Improvement Research, instructed ThePrint .

It was a “regular and acutely aware” working of democracy the place the paperwork labored effectively with a number of proficient artists in Tamil Nadu that helped make the occasion a hit, she mentioned.

“A few of us can relate to this occasion with out a lot dissonance for the reason that cultural program merged properly with the state’s articulation of its beliefs,” Anandhi mentioned.

“By mobilizing democratic areas properly, a spread of people that don’t have anything to do with the game can connect with the occasion,” she added.

Final Thursday, the inaugural operate of the Chess Olympiad, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended, emphasised Tamil Nadu’s historical past and tradition.

“It had an implied message that Tamils ​​are distinctive and Tamil historical past is completely different from the remainder of the nation,” mentioned Chennai-based author Maalan Narayanan. “They most likely wished to ship a message to the so-called nationwide forces that we relish our id as Tamils.”

Addressing the occasion, Chief Minister MK Stalin mentioned that chess was the trendy model of the normal board sport ‘saturanga vilayattu’ and that a number of items of proof of such a sport had been found at Keeladi, an necessary archaeological website within the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the meantime referred to the Chathuranga Vallabhanathar temple in Tiruvarur district and mentioned that “even God performed a sport of chess with a princess”.

Opponents within the state, nonetheless, accuse Stalin and his authorities of intentionally excluding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photos from posters for the Olympiad.

“He needs to make use of the worldwide occasion to showcase himself on a nationwide platform,” All India Anna Dravida spokesperson Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK) Kovai Sathyan instructed ThePrint.

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Darkish versus honest

The battle of darkish versus honest is an age-old one which Tamil politicians and filmmakers typically take up. Such because the 2018 film Kaalastarring Rajinikanth.

Okayaala means black in lots of languages ​​in north India, together with Hindi. “Black is the colour of labor,” Rajini says within the movie.

In politics, Vijayakanth, the chief of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazagham (DMDK) and a well-liked actor with the moniker Karuppu MGR (‘the Black MGR’), was projected as an alternative choice to J. Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi within the 2006 meeting election.

Extra just lately, the now-viral ”Verify Mate’ dance video — which was launched final week — additionally continues the dialog round color.

The dance, choreographed by Pudukottai district collector Kavitha Ramu and launched by Stalin, exhibits a black queen profitable over her white opponent.

Ramu mentioned that the video was not “political”.

“In chess, the white pawn is claimed to be extra highly effective. I wished that notion to be taken down. Right here, the symbolism is that an individual who has an advantageous place will also be overpowered too. The dance is about gender, energy, and shade itself,” she added.

The dance brings collectively classical, martial, and folks artists from throughout the state.

Ramu mentioned that by way of the video, she additionally wished to point out {that a} lady may very well be as highly effective as a person, and “he bows all the way down to her”.

“I wished the primary line of protection to be martial artists,” Ramu mentioned, including that each one districts had been requested to pitch in with their concepts.

Chess, Thambi, and Tamil id

D. Ravikumar, the MP for Villupuram and a frontrunner of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) — a Dalit celebration allied to the DMK — instructed ThePrint that assertions concerning the historical past and origins of chess play into the bigger Aryan-Tamil debate. Moreover, he mentioned, so as to add to the discourse of Tamil satisfaction, there’s additionally some buzz round aa younger chess grandmaster of Tamil origin — 16-year-old prodigy R.Praggnanandhaaa.

“For a few years Viswanathan Anand was the grandmaster, then Magnus Carlsen took over the title. Now everybody expects to see Tamil domination once more with Praggnanandhaa. It is going to give a giant increase to Tamil satisfaction,” he mentioned.

As for Tambi, the vesti-wearing horse-faced mascot has taken over town, whether or not it is the airport, the Marina seashore, and even the edges of presidency buildings. Information stories describe him as each pleasant and difficult. And in a world of black-and-white chess items, Thambi is brown.

Whereas inaugurating the Chess Olympiad Thursday, Stalin mentioned that they had determined to call the mascot ‘Thambi’ to honor CN Annadurai, a former chief minister of Tamil Nadu and founding father of the DMK.

“We designed the mascot in conventional Tamil apparel saying vanakkam. We named him ‘Thambi’. The identify is a logo of brotherhood, and it signifies all of us belong to 1 fraternity,” Stalin had mentioned. “CN Annadurai used to fondly name everybody ‘Thambi'”. The mascot’s identify is in honor of that endearing gesture,” he mentioned.

Narayanan mentioned, “The phrase Thambi depicts Tamil inventory. Besides that the horse may have been extra like a horse.”

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

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