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Dear President, respectable ladies and my dear comrades!

You are all aware of the clandestine conjectures and efforts taken by a section of the people to scrap the Communal G.O. (Government Order).

periyar 327I issued an appeal to observe ‘Hartal’ (An agitation by the closure of all shops) tomorrow (14.08.1950) completely. I appealed to the students to abstain from attending the schools and colleges. I appealed to the merchants and businessmen to keep their shops closed tomorrow. I appealed to all the people in our State to participate in the procession in large numbers to demonstrate the public opinion in support of the Communal G.O.

Some people have come forward to criticise me for giving such an appeal. They mistake me!. They allege that I intend foaming up some sort of serious trouble to them by some agitation. Even some ministers have talked like that. Congressmen attribute some political motives. They write as they like. Let them do anything as they please. I am not at all bothered.

I wish to tell you that you should not do anything just because I appeal or just because they say something. Do not blindly submit to what all I say or take everything they say straight away. You, please think over and find out the truth yourselves. You are rational beings. You, please think over the pros and cons, good and bad, right and wrong and then come to your own judgement. If you find there is a reason, justice and truth in what I say, then do as your conscience dictates.

The communal representation of the Dravidian Race is not a talk of very recent origin. It has been the raging issue even in 1916. Even in those days, our leaders, our elders and wise people demanded communal representation; ensuring justice for all communities should be implemented in the field of education and in the matter of giving jobs. It was to be based on the population and the respective strength of the various communities. One thing you will have to notice is that those who raised such a demand were for some time in Congress party. In other words, they were in Congress till they realized the importance of communal representation. When they found that there can be no communal justice meted out to all communities through the Indian National Congress, they came out of it. The fact that Congress party stood for the welfare and progress of one particular community of Brahmins came to limelight. Having failed in their attempts to set Congress house in order, they revealed the truth that Congress party was eternally against the interests of the Backward and the Scheduled Caste communities of Dravidian Race. They came forward to champion the cause of the Backward and the Scheduled castes, who were all along been groping in the darkness for peace, progress, and prosperity. They raised the voice for communal justice. People began to assert for their rights strongly. This is what took place here in South India.

In North India, the same demand was raised in 1900 itself. They asserted for communal representation in all walks of life-based on population. It is the Muslims who first demanded the introduction of communal representation. They were the pioneers to agitate for the same. It may be that many of us are not aware of this part of history even now. But at least some of the elders could certainly recollect what actually took place. Some of us know the matter clearly. Congress opposed the Muslims for demanding the communal representation policy to be implemented. Congress party failed. The then British government of India brought in a new scheme granting separate electorates for Muslims. The British accepted the policy of communal representation even as early as 1900. They came forward to render justice for all communities. They felt right that the communal representation policy is the only boon to help all the communities. At that time, the capital of India was Kolkatta (Calcutta). Majority of the residents of Kolkatta (Calcutta) were Muslims. So it was very easy for Muslims to gain success. Somehow the Muslims succeeded in getting separate electorates. The Britisher’s gave the green signal by supporting the communal representation policy for all communities in all walks of life.

Subsequently, Congress started what is called the Swadesi Movement. The inner motive of this movement was to create strong opposition to the granting of the separate electorates to the Muslims. It was a move against the splitting of Bengal. The gullible people were misled to believe what Congress said. They had very high hopes of Swadesi Movement. They expected miracles to happen, not being aware of the real motive behind the movement. They did not realize that it was not right to deny the Muslims of their legitimate share. What led to this sort of ignorance? Even now, many of our people are ignorant of the fundamental principles of politics. A common man in this country believes what the leaders and others say. They are not sufficiently educated to know things. It was much worse then. They straight away believed that the Swadesi movement was a patriotic movement. But the Muslims were strong and united. They faced the strong opposition of Congress resolutely and succeeded in securing their rights.

Even in the year, 1910 separate constituencies were allotted to Muslims and Hindus. Further problems arose when they were bifurcated. It was a very difficult thing to evolve the constituencies on this basis. Finally, constituencies were divided as Muslim constituencies first, and the rest were called as Non-Muslim constituencies. Congress, which was against the Muslims, met with failure. Yet, it was not prepared to accept the defeat. There was no other go for Congress than to yield. At last, Congress accepted on the condition that the British should give up the idea of splitting Bengal. This was the agreement. Somehow the Muslims succeeded in getting separate electorates in 1910. Even after this, Congress continued to pursue its anti- Muslim policy. This resulted in strengthening the hands of the Muslims. The Muslim League grew up speedily as a powerful political body, as opposed to Congress. The League was able to withstand the onslaughts of Congress. All efforts taken by Congress against the League ended in a dismal failure. It has only led to the strengthening of League. Ultimately, Congress entered into a pact with the League at Lucknow in 1916, and that is the famous Lucknow Pact in the history of Congress. That pact has been responsible to enable the league to demand a separate sovereign state, which is now called as Pakistan.

It is after all these developments in the North that the Dravidian leaders here thought aloud and realized the need to demand separate representation for us. Muslims who were a minority there were able to get a considerable share in all fields on account of their solidarity. Their determination and struggle fetched them their rights easily.

When such being the state of affairs in the North, here in South India, those who are ninety percent of the total population have somehow forfeited their rights in all walks of life, and almost all the posts were monopolised by a particular community called Brahmins, which was, after all only 3% of the population. The majority (Dravidians) was dominated by the minority (Aryans) here. Their fate is very pitiable. They are very backward in all walks of life.

Sir P Theagaraya was a very powerful Congressman, and he was the secretary of Congress session held at Madras. Till 1916, Sir P Theagaraya and Dr. T.M. Nair, a versatile scholar and public worker, were not in terms. They were opposed to each other. They realized that by their mutual quarrels and enmity, Brahmins were gaining against the interests of the non-brahmins. They both realized that Brahmins were foaming up bitterness among them to exploit that situation in favour of the Brahmins. They both resolved to forget the bitter past and united together and laid the foundation for the Non- Brahmin movement. Since they had no courage to call themselves as Dravidians, they named the movement as the ‘South Indian Liberal Federation’, which was popularly known later as the Justice Party. As the principles of the S.I.L.F. were very reasonable and just, the movement gained the popular support of the Non-Brahmins. They participated in the first elections held in 1920 and scored a resounding victory. I was in Congress party at that time.

The Brahmins in Congress party were terribly jealous of the growing popularity of the Justice party (S.L.I.F). They had to counteract the growing influence of the Non-Brahmins in the political sphere. They sought the advice of Mr. Gandhi. At that time, Mrs. Annie Besant was very popular in Indian Politics. The reasons for her popularity was that she was a foreigner and her services were mainly to the advancement of the Brahmin community. Yet the Iyengar Brahmins hated her, because it was the Iyer community that was much benefited by her services. She ignored the Iyenger Brahmins and encouraged the Iyers. Sadasiva Iyer, Mani Iyer, Sir.C.P.Ramasami enjoyed the favour of Mrs. Annie Besant. This was hated by the Iyengars. They feared that the Saivite Brahmins would supersede them. They were afraid that the Saivite Brahmins would one day monopolise all fields leaving the Vaisnavites in the backwaters. They resolved to seek a new leader who would work for their welfare. They chose Mr. C. Rajagopalachari, who was considered a clever person. They went to Mr. Gandhi for his advice and consent. It is in this way that Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) became the leader of Brahmins. For what Gandhi has done to Rajaji, he made Mr. Gandhi, a very big leader in South India. It is at that time, I joined Congress party under the persuasion of Rajaji. The constructive programme of Congress was very much appealing to me. It attracted a large number of people of eminence towards Congress party. Many became the followers of Gandhi.

What are the things Gandhi preached to us? First, Hindu – Muslim unity. Second the eradication of untouchability. Third, the Khaddar cloth scheme for the uplift of the poor. Fourth, the prohibition. Apart from these, Gandhi stated clearly that the Congress party would not seek any post by contesting the elections. I sincerely believed that Congress is primarily a Social Reform Movement. I worked for Congress very sincerely. Naturally, Congress became very popular.

When the Justice party won the elections and formed the cabinet, Congress carried on intensive anti-propaganda. Congress did not reckon the good works of the Justice party as great. They stooped to follow very cheap politics. They had lowered their political levels. They attacked the Justice party unnecessarily. They made a big fuss about the salary of the ministers. They heckled them for travelling in the first class by train. They talked of their eyeglasses, caps, etc. By these, they wanted to win the hearts of the poor people. They posed as if they were the only champions of the poor. By these methods, they managed to dupe the public, and in 1926 elections, the Justice party faced a defeat in the elections.

Congress managed to form an alternative government with the independents led by Dr. Subbarayan. Ranganatha Mudaliar and Arogiasamy Mudaliar were his colleagues in the cabinet. But it could not remain in power for long. Except Dr. Subbarayan, all the other ministers submitted resignations. Later Mr. S Muthaiah Mudaliar and Sethurathina Iyer became members of the cabinet. The Justice party supported this ministry. This cabinet did a lot of good things to the people. What all the Justice party was hesitant to do during its period, this cabinet boldly implemented. Of all the good things done by this cabinet was the implementation of the Communal G.O. which is most important and praiseworthy. Without caring for the opposition in many quarters, Mr.Muthaiah Mudaliar boldly passed the order, ensuring communal justice to all the Communities belonging to Dravidian Race.

For this good act of meeting justice to all communities, the Brahmins took cudgels against Mr. Muthaiah Mudaliar. They described him as a ‘Rakshasa’ (Virulent Savage). They defeated him twice in the subsequent elections. But Mr.Mudaliar was not at all perturbed. He knew the consequences and boldly acted to lift the suppressed sections (Dravidians) of the society. He took the defeats as the reward for his good acts.

Being the pioneer of the Communal G.O., he has throughout his life dedicated himself to safeguard the same from dangers. He took all the attempts to resist the efforts made to invalidate the G.O. either by legal methods or otherwise. He stood firm to save the G.O., whenever there was danger by the enemies. That is why you find him now very much worried. You find some people criticise him for this. If he has no right to fight for the G.O. I ask, who else has the responsibility? Let the critics understand this much.

I was in Congress when the Communal G.O.was first sought to be introduced in 1921 by the Justice Party. Even though I was in Congress then, I had a very unshakable faith in the communal representation of the Dravidian Race and, I had a specific understanding with the leaders that Congress would implement the same. In those days, Thiru.Vi.Ka. (Kalyanasundaram) and Dr.Varadarajulu Naidu, despite being Dravidians, were opposed to the communal representation inside Congress. But I was very strong and stubborn. For my sake, Mr. Rajagopalachari also supported me. His view was that some seats atleast should be reserved to the Non- Brahmins. He did not totally agree with the communal G.O. So far as I am concerned, I did not attach much importance to the same. If anything serves the purpose, it was enough for me. That is why I agreed to the proposal of Rajaji.

Even before this understanding with Rajaji, we started in 1917 the Madras Presidency Association to counteract the activities of the Justice Party and Non-Brahmin movement. We began to work against the Justice Party. Mr. Kesava Pillai was the President of the Association. Myself and Mr. Govinda Doss were the Vice-Presidents. Dr.Varadarajulu Naidu and Thiru.Vi.Ka.were the Secretaries. It was clearly accepted that fifty percent should be reserved for the Non-Brahmins.

But this was not acceptable to Messrs. Kasturi Ranga Iyengar, S Satyamurthi Iyer, Srinivasa Iyengar and other leaders of the Brahmin caste in Congress. They accused Mr. Rajaji for having extended his support to me. They thought Rajaji was afraid of my influence. They even went to the extent of overthrowing Rajaji. They formed another national organization with Vijayaragavachari as President, myself, Rajaji and T.Prakasam were elected as secretaries. Messrs. Kasturi Ranga Iyengar and V.O.Chidambaram were elected as Vice-Presidents. Even in this it was clearly understood that everyone should talk of nationalism after getting the due share for all the communities in national matters. The quota for the Non-Brahmins was tentatively fixed at 50%. This national association gained the mass support because we announced 50% to the Non-Brahmins. But Mr. Rangasami Iyengar and Mr. S Satyamurthi became very jealous. They secretly planned and announced the working programme of Congress and their plans were accepted by the working committee. I think it is clear to you that Congress too accepted the principle of proportionate representation to ensure justice to all the communities based on the population.

In the year 1924, the Tamilnadu Congress session took place at Thiruvannamalai. I presided over the conference. In that conference Rangasamy Iyengar and Srinivasa Iyengar, induced their followers to attack Sir.P.Theagaraya Chettiar and other Justice Party leaders vehemently. They used very abusive language. I was very much provoked at their indecent behaviour. Myself and Mr.S.Ramanathan decided to pay them in their own coin. Being the President I permitted Mr.Ramanathan to speak. He condemned the Brahmins as communalists. Next Mr. Shafe Muhamed came forward to speak. He attacked Ramanathan without rhyme or reason. Next Messrs Annamalai Pillai and Venkatakrishna Pillai came forward and replied to the speech made by Shafe Muhamed. I mention this to enlighten you that I remained in Congress even though I had a difference of opinion with the Brahmin leaders.

Another session of Congress party was held at Kancheepuram in 1925. Mr. Thiru. Vi.Ka. presided over the same. A day before the conference, I convened the meeting of the Non-Brahmins at Kancheepuram itself. Messrs. Muthaiah Mudaliar, Sir.R.K.Shanmugam Chetty, Vellingiri Gounder, Ramalinga Chettiar and other Non-Brahmin leaders attended the same. We resolved to table a resolution in Congress session demanding Communal representation to be accepted. I myself took the resolution to the working committee. The Brahmins objected stating that such a resolution should not be permitted in Congress.

I then argued, “In our propaganda we have criticised the Justice Party and proclaimed that Congress is the only true representative of the Non- Brahmins. I remind you that Congress had already accepted the principle of communal representation. It has already fixed 50 percent as the reservation quota for the Non-Brahmins. As such it is unfair to disallow the resolution”. They did not reply to any of the arguments. They simply disallowed the resolution. I once again rose up and argued that “as Congress has now decided to enter the Legislative Assembly, there is the necessity to take up the resolution as relevant. It is known to all that Swarajist Party is the offshoot of Congress. When it contests the elections Congress is bound to extend its support. As such the question of reserving 50 percent to the Non- Brahmins is absolutely necessary. It is our moral obligation to assure all the Non-Brahmins in view of the elections.“

After all these, the President said the resolution could be taken up in the open session the next day. I agreed. That night the Brahmin leaders met privately. They hatched a plan. Thinking that I would not have the support of delegates, they asked me to submit the signatures of atleast thirty delegates of the conference. I accepted their terms, and I procured the support of 50 delegates. After all these, the resolution, was bluntly disallowed stating that it was against the very fundamental principles of Congress.

I was shocked to hear the verdict. I rose up and said, “You wanted the support of 30 delegates. I got the support of 50 delegates. I was assured yesterday that the resolution could be taken up for consideration today. In spite of all these the resolution is simply disallowed. Is there any justification? I want a clear verdict from the President”

Immediately the Brahmins started shouting. “The President of the conference has delivered his ruling and passed on to the next item in the agenda. So nothing can be done now. You sit down, sit down” That is what the Brahmins were able to do. I observed their behaviour and retorted saying “This is a matter between the President and me. It is for him to say whether I could press or not. If he says that I should not speak I will obey him. You please keep quiet.”

The Brahmins again started to shout “Sit down, sit down”.

Facing them I said, “There is no use of your shouting like this. We can also shout. If we do so your cries will not be louder. All of you may have to get away”. Utter pandemonium prevailed in the conference. Then I realized that there was no use of my remaining in Congress any more. I walked out of the conference. Many more followed me. It was for the sake of Communal representation for the Dravidian Race that I left Congress in 1925.

After that, my friend Rajaji and Thiru Vi.Ka. came to four or five times and asked me to join Congress once again. It was all because there were others still in Congress who wanted the Communal representation. Only about 30 to 40 delegates left Congress with me at Kancheepuram. Those who remained in Congress with my view had no courage to take a bold decision.

The Self-Respect Movement was started by me soon after leaving Congress. I stood for political reform along with social reform. I was for the eradication of all the social evils first. When Muthiah Mudaliar became a Cabinet minister, he boldly brought in the Communal G.O. (Government Order) I was the first person who felt very happy. I took it as my victory. If only I had continued to be in Congress I would have gained many big positions. Why did I leave Congress? Was it for any post or power? No. I did not even think that I would become a leader championing the Communal G.O.

That is why we are all much worried about the Communal G.O. now. We want to save it from the danger. We cannot afford to lose it. That is why we are determined to fight for it. Please do not think that we are now agitating, just because the High Court has held the Communal G.O. as invalid. Even if the Supreme Court gives a judgement tomorrow setting aside the orders of the High Court, we have got to agitate for the implementation of the G.O fully in the fields. Why do I say so?

Even this G.O. does not ensure proportionate representation to all the communities based on the population. By the present G.O. the Brahmins who are three percent of the population get fourteen percent reservation. The Christians who are three percent, get seven percent. The Non-Brahmins who are eighty seven percent, get only seventy two percent. You please study these figures. Could it be said that proportional representation is fully ensured to all communities of Dravidian Race? Why should the Brahmins who are only three percent of the population get fourteen percent by this G.O. Why should the Non-Brahmins who are eighty percent get only seventy two percent? Why should they lose? Is it not right on our part to agitate?

Another factor we have got to seriously consider is the Brahmin dominance in the Government services. They are already monopolising the services. In some departments their representation exceeds 60 percent to 70 percent. As senior officers they enjoy 90 percent of the posts. You would have read the details of the facts and figures published in the - Tamil Daily Newspaper “Viduthalai” during the past few days.

In spite of all these, we find the Government Order declared unlawful in the Madras High Court. Even if it were declared lawful, do you think that it is really a just G.O.? So it is clear that the ideal of rendering justice to all communities is yet to be reached. We have been demanding this for the past many years. That is why I say, that the ideal of rendering justice to all communities is yet to be reached. We have been demanding this for the past many years. That is why I say, that even if the Supreme Court passes an order against the judgement of the Madras High Court, and declares the Communal G.O. as perfectly valid, we will have no other go but to fight for the fulfilment of our long standing demand for proportional representation in proportion to population. Any day we have got to agitate and secure our legitimate share. We cannot be docile. We should seek equal justice for all communities based strictly on the population.

Another important fact we have got to realize is that this G.O. is now implemented only at the State level. This G.O. is not binding on the Central Government. Many malpractices are seen in the recruitment of personnel to the services. The Brahmins are hunting for jobs from the State to the Centre. At present the Centre is not heeding to the wholesome principle underlying the Communal G.O. That is why you find Brahmin domination in almost all the Central Government Services. Even big posts are held by them. They enjoy 70, 80 percent of the posts in the States already. They are monopolising almost all the posts in the Centre. They easily get the jobs as if the Government is their own. They create vacancies easily. Sometimes one Brahmin is sent on leave and another Brahmin is appointed temporarily. By the time the leave expires another is sent on leave. Simultaneously steps are taken to provide a post permanently. By that time he will be drawing Rs.500 a month. This is one of the ways Brahmins are helping their own community to get jobs.

See what is the position in the Railways Department? Everything is in their hands. Atleast in the foreign rule we were able to get some jobs. Today the Railways are monopolised by Iyengar Brahmins. They have shifted the recruiting office from Madras (CHENNAI) to Bombay. Almost all the members of the selection board are Brahmins. When the matters are like this, how is it possible for our people to get jobs? If at all we are in the majority it is only in class four services as peons. Nowadays even for the peons’ posts they are also competing. It is said that out of the 65000 peons 1300 are brahmins.

Under these circumstances is there any justification for the Brahmins to go to court? They say that they are denied admission in the educational institutions. Let us see what the position is. They are undoubtedly enjoying more than their legitimate share. When we peruse the figures given by the government we are shocked. They are snatching away 90 percent of the places in the colleges. They are today going to the court stating that they are discriminated. They are not worried at the great injustice meted out to all other communities. They even went to Congress leader Mr. Gandhi thinking that he would support them. But Gandhi replied, “Most of you are already educated in large numbers. It will be appreciable if you could devote for service to God for some time. Let the Non-Brahmins who have not been educated so far, read”. This is what Gandhi said. The Brahmins were disappointed. After some time Gandhi was shot dead.

I am telling this to make you realise that justice is on our side. The wise world will ever support our cause. Imagine what will be our future, if we are not worried about the communal G.O. now. What will be the fate of our next generation? Now only we are considered as human beings fit to learn. It is the Justice Party that opened our eyes. It is only after the G.O. that our communities have started to enter the schools and colleges in large numbers. Some of us were able to get some jobs. What was the position before the advent of the Justice Party and the Communal G.O.? District Judges, Tahsildars, Munsiffs, Sub-Inspectors were all Brahmins. Before the Justice Party came to power the Non-Brahmins were cent percent uneducated. After 15 years of the Justice Party rule and even after independence and Congress Party rule, our literacy rate is below 10 percent.

If our Dravidian people are uneducated, it is not their fault. Can it be proved that we are unfit for education? The real fact is that we were not given sufficient facilities and encouragement. That is all. Most of the Sudras of Dravidian Race are working classes. They were paid the wages needed for their daily life. They are able to get higher wages only when the prices of commodities went high. Under these circumstances, how can we expect the son of a cartman, sweeper, cobbler, labourer, and others to read? Compare the conditions of the Brahmins. Even a water supplying Brahmin’s son is able to read in the B.A. (graduate) Class. He can become a Judge. For the Brahmins it is their highest caste that remains an asset. The sacred thread they wear is enough for them. We can see even poor Brahmins reading. Amongst the Dravidians, only the sons of richmen like Zamindars and Mirasdars (Land lords) are able to read. Even if we study with all these difficulties, we have no future. We are denied jobs and seats in colleges. The principle of merit and efficiency works against us. Even though our boys pass the examination and are declared eligible for higher studies, they are not able to get admission. We want our boy to read. Is it a crime?

There are many malpractices in the selection. This year (1950) 68000 appeared for the SSLC examination. 38000 students failed. Can it be said that the failed candidates are unintelligent. How much money would have been spent for studying upto SSLC (Secondary School final class)? Under these circumstances, is it fair to turn out so many out of education? I would only say that the teachers, who trained them were not able to observe honesty. It may be that our examination system is also bad. After crossing one hurdle after another, if our boys pass the examinations and seek admission in the colleges for higher studies, they are denied admission stating that they lack merit. Is this justice? When asked why we are not given jobs, they say that we do not have sufficient qualification. If we want to read and get qualified, we are denied scope, under the pretext that we do not score meritable marks.

Today marks are taken as the scale for measuring the talents. Can it be said that those who score high marks are the only intelligent? Afterall more marks are obtained by merely memorising. We know how marks are obtained. Soon after the examination is over, people go with money to places where the answer papers are corrected. Are not our ministers aware of this? Why, some of them might have passed this way!. People are aware that marks could be purchased for money. It is not open secret Brahmin boys are helped in many ways. Brahmin teachers help them. Our boys know only to go to the Vinayaka temple after the exam. The Brahmin boys do not go. They go to their teachers, examiners who are mostly of their own community. Under these circumstances is it right to determine the talents basing the marks obtained?

In Russia students are given education for a certain period. They are tested. After training they are given jobs. Doing a job well is the test there. It is only here examinations are made difficult. It is not so in other countries. Students are put to severe hardship here in the name of examinations.

Comrades, I say that every community should be alloted a definite percentage of seats based on the population. If any community enjoys even one percent more than their due share the government should take steps against the person employed and the person who employed him. It is a clear case of encroaching on the rights of others. So there is nothing wrong in the law taking action. Otherwise the forward sections would still further progress and the backward would become more backward. The dawn of independence to India has given more scope for the Brahmins only. They are progressing speedily. In those old days, ICS (Indian Civil Service) examination was held in London. As the Government met the expenses, the Brahmins were able to pass the exams. They cunningly included the Christians and the Muslims as Non-Brahmins, who were not opposed to the Brahmins. They obeyed the Brahmins in public life. They decidedly kept the Non-Brahmin out of the ring. Even after independence the IPS and IAS posts are monopolised by Brahmins.

What will be the fate of our people working under Brahmin officers? They will foist false allegations and victimise our people. How long can our people bear this and remain in service? The Brahmins monopolising these posts is detrimental to the Non-Brahmins, who form the majority of the population. Is this democracy? Is this the standard of our administration? If 87 percent of the population is kept under this sad plight, is this democracy? Is it just, reasonable and fair to allow the 3 percent of the population to monopolize and dominate? Is it wrong to assert for our rights? We, the Dravidians demand justice. We demand respect. We demand our share. When we claim all these, why should anyone get angry?

I learn that while addressing a meeting, Mr.Kamaraj assured the people that his government would look after the Communal G.O.. He says that his government will appeal to the Supreme Court against the orders of the Madras High Court. He did not stop with that. He accused me of having an axe to grind in this matter. I do not know what he means. During the last 30 years of my public life, I have played a selfless role. I never expected anything as reward for my services to the Sudras and the Untouchables. Can Mr.Kamaraj cite a single instance of my doing anything for myself? My work is the emancipation of the society. I am for the eradication of the high and the low. I want to restore dignity and respect for all men. I want equal justice and equal treatment and equal opportunities for all. Redemption of Self-respect and restoration of dignity to mankind are the dedicated tasks of mine.

If I had not pursued this policy all these days, will Kamaraj be the President of the Tamilnadu Congress? Would it be possible for eleven Non- Brahmins to be ministers in a cabinet of 12 Ministers?

It is for them to think over where these gentlemen were, when we started the Non-Brahmin movement? So far as I am concerned, in addition to hold the positions of President, Chairman, Secretary of various bodies, I was also doing big business. I was not a nonentity at anytime. It is our Non-Brahmin movement that has made them hold a high status today.

Today the Non-Brahmin leaders are advising the students not to pay heed to my words. Let them discard me and go to wash the feet of Brahmins! What do I lose? After all I am aged and with one foot in the grave!

What for do our Dravidian boys read? Should they not go to colleges from school? Should they not get good jobs? Is it not the responsibility of elders to settle these matters aright? This year I gave a letter to Dr.Subramaniam. I recommended a student who got a first class. He did not get admission. In the past I used to give many letters like this. All used to secure seats. Today no one is selected. It is very distressing to see our boys, with creditable marks not being able to get selected to prosecute their studies further.

Are we to study simply to waste money and remain as slaves? How many crores are spent for education? It is agonising to see our boys not reaping the benefits. That is why, I want a solution to all these.

Our next programme of action is a difficult one. We will have to sacrifice a lot. It is not for violence. We are not to beat anyone. We are not for throwing acid on anybody. Without giving any trouble to anyone, we will have to bear the difficulties and pain to achieve success. By that agitation we will gain a lot.

Why should we have a government at Delhi which does not do anything for us? Can we not rule ourselves? Does our country lack in natural resources? We have a coastline of 1500 miles. Our ships can go to any part of the world. We have railways. Can we not flourish? Why should we give away our rights and powers to Delhi? When they are there as ministers, we are naturally exploited. What if we have a government of our own? They do not give due respect even to our Tamil Nadu ministers here. Dr.A.L.Mudaliar gave a clean breast of the affair in the debates of the Legislative Council. Even our ministers have accepted the fact many times.

In India, the North is ignoring the South. South is being exploited. Why should we be suppressed? If we had powers in our hands, we would have solved our problems. To solve the food shortage, we could have directly imported food grains from abroad. Today we, the Tamil Nadu people, do not have the powers. The Government of India procure food grains and take them here and there and by the time we get our quota they are almost unfit for consumption. North Indians are suffering here. They are playing. Why should this situation be allowed? Should we not sacrifice even our life and gain full freedom? Let us redeem our land of Dravida Naadu.

The present agitation is not an agitation for mere communal G.O. It will lead us to agitate for the separation of Dravidanadu. Rajaji’s imposition of Hindi made the Tamils unite and solidly demonstrate the solidarity of Tamils. Similarly by the present agitation, we will consolidate our strength against the dominant and exploiting Aryans. With zeal and vigour, we will get our motherland. We will rule ourselves. We will soon be free to solve our problems.

So I appeal to you all to get ready for playing your role in the agitation.

(Address of THANTHAI PERIYAR at a public meeting on 13.08.1950, organized by all parties)

(From 'Collected Works of Periyar E.V.R.', compiled by Dr. K. Veeramani, published by 'The Periyar Self-Respect Propaganda Institution')


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