Brahmins protest
Tamil Nadu's minority Brahmins demand reservation before the Assembly election. Picture: Hindu Brahmins, known as "pandas" (middlemen to God), protest against their eviction from the premises of Kalighat temple in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata Sep. 10, 2006. [Representational Image]Reuters

The Anthanar Munnetra Kazhagam (AMK), a party floated by Brahmins in Tamil Nadu, reportedly said Sunday it would support political parties that would accept their demands for reservation for Brahmins. A leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has not been able to form a coalition before this Assembly election, has expressed solidarity with the cause.

The AMK sought 3 percent reservation for Brahmins, who form 4 percent of Tamil Nadu's population, in educational and employment opportunities in a state that has a total of 69 percent reservation for backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, the Hindustan Times reported. The group also expressed its disapprobation of Tamil films such as "Pichaikkaran," which it said insulted Brahmin culture.

"It is a curse being born a Brahmin in Tamil Nadu," S V Shekhar, a BJP leader and former MLA from Mylapore, was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "Brahmins constitute less than 4% of the state's population, which is why they are neglected. Only a few of them are able to acquire education and migrate out of Tamil Nadu to lead a prosperous life, [sic]" the BJP leader added. The community will continue to languish unless economic-based reservations were made, he said.

Meanwhile, the AMK, which claims to have 15,000 members, announced its charter of demands right before the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.

They sought Rs. 1,000 as salary for priests and sivarchakas, and the formation of a temple board.

"We also demand protection from harassment and ridicule that Brahmins are often subjected to especially in Tamil movies," AMK President S Jayaprakash Iyer was quoted by the HT as saying.

Iyer also said it was unlikely any Dravidian parties would take up their cause as they had "attacked the Brahminical culture in the past." He also expressed surprise at the BJP being tight-lipped about the issue.