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Aathi Thamizhar Peravai Party, India

Last modified: 2012-03-17 by ian macdonald
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[Aathi Thamizhar Peravai Party Flag] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 28 June 2011

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Aathi Thamizhar Peravai (ATP) is the political movement of Arunthathiyar, a Dalit community in Tamil Nadu which is so low-ranking that it is frequently described as "Dalits among the Dalits". Its name, which means "Early Tamils Forum", reflects the attitude that the Arunthathiyar people are direct descendants of the earliest inhabitants of present-day Tamil Nadu, contrary to the belief that their ancestors have relatively recently migrated to the area, which they obviously understand as another means of their isolation by higher-caste people. ATP undertakes a number of activities aimed at improving the status of the Arunthathiyar and has also contested at the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly election in April 2011, but has not gained elected representation. [1, 2, 3].


The flag of ATP is blue with a red disc in the centre. It appears to have a variety of ratios: 1:1, 3:4, 2:3, 3:5, 1:2 and 3:2 [4, 5, 6]. The  size of the disc also varies a lot: from 1/3, through 1/2 and 3/5 to 2/3 of the flag width [4, 5, 6]. The flag colors also vary a bit: red is usually R+, but may also be R, while blue usually varies between B- and B--, but may sometimes be as dark as B [4, 5, 6]. Most flags look as if they are home-made, without following any specifications, which can be expected, considering the social status of their users and the hostility of higher-caste people towards their political activism; this is also the plausible explanation for such variations of flag design, which seem not to have been noticed for any other flag in India so far. Nonetheless, analysis of the available photos seems to reveal that the most frequent flags are those with the ratio 2:3, disk size equal to 1/2 of the flag width, shade of red close to R+ and shade of blue somewhat darker than B-, but visibly lighter than B. A good example of the most frequent color shades is the image shown at the previous ATP website at Google Sites [7] (the image above uses the closest Web-safe approximations of these color shades, which also closely approximate the shades used on most of existing flags, as well as the ratio and disc size emphasized above).

The flag design is probably derived from the flag of Dravidar Kazhagam. Its colors have also influenced the dress code employed by ATP, which is also based on that of Dravidar Kazhagam: blue shirts, combined with white trousers or dhotis, for men and blue saris, sometimes combined with red or blue cholis, for women [4, 5, 6, 8]. A specific feature of the dress code is that male activists of the ATP often cover their heads with kerchiefs, which are usually red, sometimes blue, but may also have the same pattern as the flag, in which case they folded so that, when they are worn, red semi-circles are seen above the foreheads [4, 5, 6, 8]. Such use of the flag pattern in dressing seems to be unique for the ATP, although colors of many other political flags are also used in similar way, but only as the long shawls in party colors which are worm by party activists (these generally do not reproduce flag patterns, except simple
bicolors, tricolors or tribands).

[1] ATP website - home page:
[2] ATP website - overview of the objectives:
[3] Wikipedia page about the 2011 legislative assembly election in Tamil Nadu:,_2011
[4] ATP website - list of photo galleries:
[5] ATP website - overview of events (includes many of the galleries accessible from the previous URL):
[6] ATP website - conference in Thirunelveli on 2010-08-22:
[7] Previous ATP website at Google Sites:
[8] ATP photo gallery at Picasa:

WARNING: individual galleries accessible from [4, 5, 6] require Flash player.

Tomislav Todorovic, 28 June 2011