i would imagine, it is more to taunt the tambrams, as other communities, even if they venerated rama, would consider periyar, more a reformer, whose actions benefitted them economically and socially.
at the expense of the tambrams.
from what i have seen, almost all tambram households give prominence to rama, including mine own. along with siva and lakshmi and saraswati. rama is a common factor of devotion between iyers and iyengars. periyar, in one stroke, could injure two birds.
dont know if DK has the guts or public support to do such stuff today.
when the slipper procession happened, it was a non issue in tamil nadu. most papers including tamil mainstream ignored it. probably except viduthalai. MK was ruling then, and he would not raise his hands against periyar. not sure what anndurai would have done if he had been alive. anna was more polished and had greater sensitivities to religious feelings.
Sir, please take into consideration that Rama is a tutelary deity for balijas, the social group to which EVR belonged. Some claim to be Raghukula. Am told the Balijas built temples for Anjaneyar, Rama, Krishna, Narasimha and Perumal / Vishnu whereever they went. To attack the God of one's own community is like making a statement. Which is what EVR did.
I suppose EVR proved his point, and showed he was not partial, as alleged by the supporters of Marimalai adigal. However, the act was seen as heresy and blasphemous by telugu NBs. I beleive sections of tamil NBs also saw it that way.
People detested being put down as shudras, their grouse was with varnas, but they were not anti-god and anti-religion. The political atheism of EVR was far too much for anyone to digest.
I too feel why should people give up their gods and their religion, after all it belongs to them as much as it belongs to brahmins or anyone else. I beleive peaceful interaction continued to exist despite all this.
Please also take into consideration that JP members were drawn from the wealthy sections, ie, those who had something to loose. Rich people are generally bothered about their social standing. Being dubbed shudras may have additionally affected them through the hindu personal law also.
The vast majority who were poor had nothing to loose. Also, from my mom's pov, the vast majority of brahmins (both iyer and iyengar) were not at all the sort to demean anyone (though stray incidences may have existed in non-urban areas).
I feel differences between B and NBFC (that is, those who considered themselves NB forward caste) existed at the high level (at the level of courts, lawyers, politics), but was non-existant / rare in the middle-class and poorer sections (or maybe initially atleast it could have been that way). Even amongst those who were well off, there were 2 sections. One was politically aware and the other was not quite bothered. I shall give my mom as an example.
My mom had no idea that something called anti-brahmanism existed until she went to college. Even then, it was somethng that happened "outside" (outside home that is). Mom's childhood was the secluded sort. She studied in a telugu medium school, interacted with very few limited people. A small transistor radio was a luxury restricted to her father whose interaction with his kids was a big zero.
Many brahmins, both iyers and iyengars, used to stay in the front portion of mom's father's house. They lived in a crowded area where space was scarce and agraharams were full. So brahmins who came from other parts of the state would work during day times and stay in their house after dusk. Due to their SSV past, mom's family had retained continous interaction with brahmins.
Mom's family was Vaishnavite but went to Pillaiyar koils. They also worshipped Gauri / Parvathy / Narayani (as the sister of Narayana) whose temple priests were invariably iyer saivite. Much later, the family developed a broad outlook and went to Shivan koils also, although prayers for Shiva did not happen within the household until mom married and experienced change of lifestyle. These were people who were not affected by the politics and differences of B and NB all the way -- such people also existed / exist.