It is about a year and a half since C. Rajagopalachari came to power in our province. In what way have the public benefited during this period? Can anyone assure that his Government has not undertaken any measure that is against public good? He is determined that the province must be taken backward towards Manudharma days. All government offices have been Brahminised, Dravidians being completely cut off from such opportunity. He has introduced a curious educational policy which is meant to reconstruct Varnasrama, and prevent the sudras from getting educated. He is unmindful of all opposition, with scant regard for democratic norms.
When I opposed the system tooth and nail, many people from other parties, including the Congress, many panchayats, municipalities, district boards and also experts in the field of education have voiced their opposition to it.
Can anyone assure that the scheme is not aimed at Varnasrama Reconstruction? As per the scheme the school children will be taught only for half a day. In the remaining time they are told to go home and learn their caste occupation. Which people undertake all the bemeaning manual work in the name of caste? Are they all not sudras? The son of a barber has to do hair-cutting, a potter’s son has to make pottery, a washerman’s son must wash clothes, a cowherd’s son has to graze cattle, a pigherd’s son must tend pigs. While they ask us to follow the caste occupation, the Brahmins have given up their caste profession altogether and are after office jobs. They get employed in Government and other offices and steadily keep moving upwards.
When we raise our voice against this injustice, they say it is a communal argument. Questioning injustice, according to them, amounts to communal hostility, sedition, atheism and what not. I have nothing against C.Rajagopalachari, there is no enmity or ill feeling between us. He always works for the uplift of his community. He is irked at the growing awareness among us (the Non Brahmins), which impedes the march of the Brahmins, who consider him an avatar.
Brahmins keep growing at the cost of the non-Brahmins, keeping them under subjugation. It therefore follows that the welfare and the development of the Dravidians, bringing their servility to an end is possible only by removing the Brahmins from their elevated position. That is why we oppose them.
Rajagopalachari is under the impression that we are ashamed of manual labour. Not at all. We do not consider manual labour bemeaning. We only want all manual work to be proportionately shared among all communities. We are against the social system which relegates in the name of god, religion and scriptures, all manual workers to the lower strata in the caste system.
Is it not true that Brahmins – the Aryans – are aliens who came here in search of livelihood? This is revealed in history written by Brahmins themselves. They also assert that the Dravidians are the natives of the land. What right have the Brahmins got to exercise authority over us?
The British did keep our people subjugated, yet they conducted our people as humans; they did not observe untouchability. Those who are called ‘paraiahs’ were their cooks and butlers, weren’t they? But these Brahmins won’t even touch us, lest they get polluted. They say they originated from the face of Brahma, and hence come highest in the caste hierarchy, and we came out of the god’s feet, and hence belong to the lowest caste. They have restricted our mobility in all fronts and keep us permanently servile; the government, the judiciary, the religion, god – every factor is so organized as to ensure this servility. Why should we not pack these aliens off our land?
Even Rajagopalachari is aware that our relationship has come to a now or never stage. He has started talking of a renewed Deva-Asura warfare – Aryan-Dravidian showdown. All the Brahmins from the wisest to the imbeciles have realized this. Only our people, the Dravidians – refuse to understand it.
Are we undertaking the task for selfish gains? Are we not fighting for the good of all the Dravidians, including the sudras, and the untouchables, to remove the inglorious epithet of sudras, which means bastards? Even my friend Rajagopalachari is not striving for any post or pelf. His aim is ensuring permanent security for his Brahminfolk and eternal bondage for the Dravidians. If only we had been aware of our racial honour and had united in our endeavour, could the Brahmins have reached such heights? It was Gandhi who offered all out support to the Brahmins and transferred power into their hands. After all this, when he tried a little to give educational opportunities to the non-Brahmins, he was shot by a Brahmin. And another Brahmin has done everything to keep education out of our reach.
When Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy introduced a Bill in the Assembly for the abolition of the Devadasi practice, a Congressman, Satyamurti Aiyar opposed it vehemently, saying that it was against god and religion, since the practice was sacred. This prompted Muthulakshmi to retort. “In that case, let your women folk undertake their practice.”
While all the Brahmins get united even when there is the slightest threat to their position, the Dravidians keep supporting them unaware of their real designs. Should they not realize their predicament and try to get out of their servility? Should they not rise against the brutal oppression?
(From a speech delivered on 15th November 1953, published in Viduthalai)
Translated by : Prof. A. Ayyasamy