G Babu Jayakumar
The Congress amending its constitution at the 85th plenary session at Nava Raipur in Chhattisgarh to provide a 50 per cent reservation to SCs, STs, OBCs, women, youngsters and minorities in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) two day ago was just a way of acceding to Periyar E V Ramasamy’s demand placed before the Congress a century back.
Periyar, who joined the Congress at the behest of C Rajagopalachariar (Rajaji) and was the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president in 1922-23 and 1924 and the secretary in 1925, first tried to move a resolution providing reservation in party posts at the Tirunelveli conference in 1920 and kept following it up in the subsequent meetings at Thanjavur, Tiruppur, Salem and Tiruvannamalai.
Then when the 1925 Kancheepuram conference president, V Kalyanasundaram, refused permission to even read out the resolution in ‘public interest’ even after Periyar’s supporters managed to get the endorsement of 50 members, which was laid out as a pre-condition for moving it earlier, he walked out of the venue in protest with his followers in tow and held an alternative meeting in Kancheepuram itself, which paved the way for the formation of the Self Respect Movement.
When Periyar was persuaded to join the Congress and the Freedom Movement, he was given to understand that the political party would offer him the ideal forum for social justice, which was close to his heart. But after entering the portals of the party, he was hamstrung in pursuing the dream as he could not mobilize adequate support for his idea of reservation in party posts.
So he parted ways with the Congress, launched the Self-Respect Movement in 1925 and then rechristened the Justice Party (South India Liberal Federation), whose leadership was thrust on him, as Dravidar Kazhagam, which spawned the DMK and AIADMK, which have been ruling the State alternatively since 1967, and a host of other parties, besides giving rise to the term ‘Dravidian Model.’
Reacting to the Congress accepting what Periyar had asked for 98 years ago, Dravidar Kazhagam President K Veeramani said that it was a victory for social justice. The resolution that was rejected on the ground that it was a class argument a century ago by the Congress has now been found to be acceptable, he said.
Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle