It is a known fact Thanthai Periyar E V Ramasamy had to quit Congress in 1925, as the Brahmin – dominated Tamil Nadu Congress Committee refused to accept the principle of Communal representation for Dravidian Race in Public Services. Till his last breath he safeguarded the reservation policy. His writings in “Kudi Arasu”, “Viduthalai” and birthday souvenirs about the need to implement the reservation policy for all communities are given below in a nut shell.
Communal representation is the accredited right of every section of the Dravidian people of this nation and its government. It is the common right of all citizens belonging to every community. The main motive of the principle of communal representation is to eradicate the unequal status amongst the citizens. Communal representation is a ‘boon’ to create a society of equals. When there are communities which are forward and progressive hampering the well being of all the other communities, there is no other go but to resort to the system of communal representation. It is by this way the suffering communities could begin to heave a sigh of relief. The need for the prolongation of the system of communal representation will automatically cease and it will be found absolutely unnecessary to continue the policy any longer, when all the communities have become equals.
Excepting the Brahmin community all other communities started to demand for communal representation soon after the talk of representation of Indians in governance began. For a long time, except the Brahmin community all other communities carried on agitation urging the government to implement the policy of communal representation.
The Brahmins, particularly of Tamil Nadu, resorted to many ways to put hurdles and create obstacles against the implementation of the policy of communal representation. They pursued cunning methods and conspired many times against the communal representation policy, which was a boon to all downtrodden Dravidian communities.
One could understand the Brahmins opposing the communal representation policy, if at all they had openly come forward to list out the evils of uplifting the downtrodden people. All those who oppose simply said ‘no’ and no one explained why? So far no one has clearly listed out the reasons for opposing the policy of reservation. What is wrong in making all people equals? What is wrong in giving equal opportunities for all? If there is nothing wrong in creating a Socialist society, and if it is undeniable that the present society composed of unequal should be made progressive, what else can be done without creating reservations based on population through the communal representation policy? Could it be denied that there are weaker sections in the society?
Moreover, when we have allowed the classification of the society based on religion, caste and community, we cannot stand in the way of the people demanding special rights, based on religion, caste and community. There is nothing wrong on their part or of any community in safeguarding their interests. I don’t see anything dishonest in that.
The caste system made the people to go backward. Castes spell more and more ruination. Castes have made us low and have-nots. Till all these evils are eradicated and everyone attains an equal status in life, the proportional representation policy based on population is indispensable. Many communities have entered the field of education only recently. All should be enabled to study and attain a civilized stage. Our people should get education and study well. Our people should get their due share in the public services and in all other fields according to their percentage in the total population.
In this country out of 100 people, only three are Brahmins. Sixteen percent of the populations are Adi Dravidas. 72 per cent of the population are Non-Brahmins. Should not the jobs be given to all in proportion to the population?
Merit and Efficiency
You find merit and efficiency among all people. All communities urge for concessions today. It is ensured to them by law. Even in the matter of merit of downtrodden they are given concessions. Because of this concession given to the Backward and Scheduled caste people you do not see any danger. It cannot be said that the standard of administration has fallen only on account of concession extended. It cannot be argued that good trait of humanity as honesty had deteriorated. No community is discriminated. All communities are treated equally. By the reservation policy based proportionately on the total population, all the communities derive their legitimate share.
When a student passes the (S.S.L.C.) Secondary School Leaving Certificate examination, it is clearly stamped that he is eligible for college course. The educational authorities declare that he is fit for college course. But when he puts up the application for admission to any college, once against his merit is judged by a separate test. Marks are taken into account to judge the merit. Higher authorities in the education department send orders to the principals not to admit students indiscriminately. Is there any meaning in all these? Who created this? Is it not the Brahmins? When once a student is declared eligible for college courses, it is the duty of the Government to give him admission, without any difficulty. Is it not to make the other community people get disgusted with education and ruin their future prospects that all these cumbersome, unjust and unwanted practices were created by the Brahmins?
By all these, the future of Backward and Scheduled Castes is doomed. In the matters of education they are buried fathoms deep by these cunning Brahmin mechanisation. The Brahmins are able to detain even those students who have a thorough knowledge of the lessons. Similarly they are able to detain even the few students who manage to get a pass by these tests and selections.
I am accustomed to watch closely the merit, ability and standard of all people all along. My considered opinion on all these matters is also known to you by my writings, speeches and publications. I am one who is dedicated to work for the welfare of the Backward and Scheduled Caste people of Dravidian Race. That is the main reason why I strongly oppose the theory of merit and efficiency. Why should you talk of merit and efficiency when once a student has passed a particular examination? What for such a thing? Is there any sense in doing so?
What are the benefits we have gained by the ministers composed of men with merit and efficiency? Is there any thing to be proud of? Think over!
Similarly what have we lost by the rule of those who are said to be inefficient and beneath the standard. Tell me.
So, I proclaim that there should be no place for merit and efficiency in the realms of government.
He who does not want rights for his community must be one who does not know the oppression of his community by the Brahmins. Otherwise he must be a suspect to the community he belongs. If a particular community demands certain rights for the said community, the vested interests condemn the community as unpatriotic and anti-national. I would say that any one doing so is a nomad not belonging to any nation or community. Our people have failed to assert their legitimate rights. It is on account of this serious draw back that we find only nomads (Aryans) over-riding us. When we become conscious of our rights, we can easily put an end to the domination of the nomads.
There are others who go to the extent of condemning us as job hunters. I don’t deny it. I am not ashamed of seeking jobs. What is there shameful in seeking jobs? What do the Brahmins of Aryan race do? Are they not seeking jobs? Are they not job hunters? Who are they? If they have the right to claim for jobs, how ironical it is to call us as job hunters? Please think over. Who really has the legitimate right to seek jobs. I would say that our people alone have the right to hunt for jobs.
If any Dravidian community neglects to seek jobs I would say that the community is irresponsible. I would condemn them as unpatriotic and anti social. They are traitors to the country.
Not only that. If any particular community is differentiated or ignored it will be disastrous to the society. If it is objected that jobs should not be given to a particular community based on its proportion to the total population that would amount to putting that community to disgrace and injustice. No community would be willing to continue as cowards devoid of self-respect forever. Any community that fails to assert for its legitimate share in the field of employment will be considered as degraded and shameless community.
(Kudi Arasu, 30th November 1934)
The government, which proclaims to root out communalism should have made the practice of putting caste marks as Namam on the foreheads as an offence and imprisoned the offender for one year. Similarly a law should have been passed to imprison for two years those, who wear the thread (Poonul). Are not these symbols indicative of the distinct communities? A government determined to eradicate castes ought to have given scissors to the policemen to cut away the tufts and Poonul. Simply saying that the government is not communal and yet permit the wearing of poonul, keeping tufts, chanting mantras (hymns), declare holidays for the birthdays of gods is condemnable. Under these circumstances, one cannot but condemn the government for upholding the communalism of Brahmins.
In the story of Ramayana it is said that Vali would acquire half of the strength of all those who opposed him. I say to those who oppose the communal representation policy, that they would only be strengthening the demand for communal representation by all their actions. The more and more they oppose, the more and more would be the demand for communal representation. The demand will go on gaining momentum. That is what is going on now.
(Kudi Arasu – 1st September 1935)
I might have changed my views many times in politics. But so far as my social life is concerned, I continue to be opposed to Brahmins. My hatred towards Brahmins is always constant. I became a rationalist and an atheist by this. To my dream of social reform, I strongly insist on crushing the Brahmin monopoly in the public services. I deem it as the very first step for social revolution. It is the ABCD of social reform. Because of this I am criticized as a communalist. I continue to be the embodiment of communalism of a peculiar nature.
Efficiency and Examinations:
For anything and everything, the Brahmins are insisting on Merit and Efficiency. It is an invention of the Brahmins as the “Mohini Avataram” in the epics. The only motive of the Brahmins is to spoil the prospects of the Non-Brahmin communities, who are now only at the threshold of progress.
In the days of the Britishers and during the days of the Justice Party rule in the Pre-independence days, jobs were given to all qualified persons. Then mere degrees were not considered as the stamp of merit and efficiency by Brahmins. People were trained before giving them jobs. The Brahmins do not now take their fitness as stamp of merit and efficiency. The only thing emphasized as the stamp of merit and efficiency is the highest marks scored in examinations. He, who obtains the highest marks gets the job, on the basis of merit and efficiency. However intelligent one may be, however experienced one might be, he will not be considered as one with merit and efficiency, if he gets the marks for a mere pass. I like to point out how foolish and mischievous the doctrine of merit and efficiency is.
Is there any record to show that those selected on the basis of merit and efficiency have exhibited their talents in their work with merit and efficiency?
Is there any means to find out how the employees belonging to Backward Class execute the work entrusted to them? Is there any such record to show that those who acquired very high marks in the examination alone were able to execute the work efficiently in a diligent manner? This is the way in which the merit and efficiency policy is being worked. Many people are holding posts as though they alone have the merit and efficiency to do the work.
Take the case of teachers. You find many teachers appointed on merit and efficiency basis. Is there any system to assess their work based on the number of students passing examination and the marks secured by the students? Do we have any means to judge the merit and efficiency of teachers on any basis after appointing them? Is it so in the case of other professions as doctors, engineers, judges, collectors and so on? Is there any means to assess their merit and efficiency while they are in service?
If it is said that securing very high marks in the examination alone is the determining factor and if we agree that only those who have succeeded in getting high marks are to be given high posts, I would like to ask one thing: Are the Presidents, Governors and Chief-ministers posts are given to those people taking into consideration any high marks they have secured in any examination?
There is another lacuna in this bogus merit and efficiency theory. If a particular person had secured very high marks in a particular field or subject, is he given a high post in the same field or subject? Do the high marks secured in a particular subject help him in the job he undertakes.? Is there any relevance or relation between these two things? Are the selections of candidates made by considering the subject in which one is proficient or the subject he has to deal with in service?
Children are sent to schools and colleges to acquire knowledge. What is the fun of admitting them after considering their merit and efficiency? This is absurd. It is not right to talk of merit and efficiency even for admitting students to various courses of study. I would say it is meaningless, unwanted and highly objectionable.
17th September 1965 Periyar’s Birthday Souvenir.
Really speaking, the people who have very few posts in the government services – the communities which have low representation in the government services – those castes which are enjoying only a few posts in the government services, should be treated as the minorities. They should be given adequate protection by the government. Special concessions should be extended to these minorities in the services.
How does India look like? It looks as a thick forest of various castes. Naturally the legislatures and offices too are flooded with castes. The State Assemblies and the Parliament also present the same look. But what about the staff in the State and Central Government offices? And that too what is cognizable, particularly in the Central Government offices, which has very many high salaried posts?
If you take pains to analyze closely, you will find out very easily that Brahmin community alone is monopolising almost all the posts in the States and the Centre. This may be tolerable, when other communities were not keen on claiming the posts. It might have been acceptable, when other communities were not adequately qualified for holding posts. No one would criticize the Brahmins under such circumstances. But, things have changed.
The Backward and Scheduled Castes of Dravidian Race are today adequately qualified like the Brahmins to hold any post equally. They are demanding their legitimate share in all the fields. They demand their share in proportion to their percentage in the population. What should the Brahmin monopolists do under these changed circumstances? Should they not silently yield to the reasonable demands of the Backward and Scheduled Castes? Instead of behaving in a just and reasonable manner, they are raising loud cries, and indulge in threats. What do we understand from this? Is there any reason or meaning in their behaviour?
It cannot be proved with facts and figures that those selected on the basis of merit and efficiency alone are efficient, diligent, brilliant, and honest in the discharge of duties. At the same time, there are no records in evidence to prove that those who were given jobs by reservation are dishonest and inefficient in the discharge of duties.
If we just take the pains to analyse we come to know that it is the so called high caste persons of the forward community, which is monopolising the high posts in the Government, who are found to be dishonest in their dealings, particularly the Brahmin minority community holding the majority of posts.
Their dishonest dealings and corrupt actions are generally hushed up because of caste feelings. The accused and the High Court judge or senior official belong to one and the same caste invariably. There is scope for pressure through recommendations and chances to seek concession. That is why many mal-practices are not let known to the public.
If every community is adequately represented in the Government services, it would bring to light all the malpractices and maladministration. Reservation is a must for improving the standard of administration. Reservation is a must to counteract the malpractices by the monopolists in all the spheres of activities of the Government.
Proportional representation of all communities of Dravidian and Aryan Races in the Government service is the only solution for achieving social and communal justice in the Society.
The talk of merit and efficiency is a bogus one. It is a hoax played by Brahmins on the innocent people. Not only that; it is a big fraud to deter the Backward and Scheduled Castes from achieving any progress, peace and happiness.
Source : Collected Works of Periyar