Justice Party, the pioneer of Dravidian Movement released the ‘Non-Brahmin Manifesto’ on December 20, 1916 in the Madras Presidency of the British India. That was the organized starting point to stake claim in education and employment for the representation of the vast suppressed sections who were denied of those opportunities historically for many centuries.
As per the Montague – Chelmsford Reform measures in 1920 for the first time in the British India, elections were conducted. Justice Party by putting the Manifesto to the public notice contested, won the elections and assumed the ruling power of the Presidency under ‘diarchy’ system. The contents of the Manifesto were translated for implementation one by one that became the role model for the rest of the British India. The reservation policy commenced was emulated and provisions were included on the said lines in Indian Constitution, thereby made applicable for the whole of India after independence. The achievements in Tamil Nadu on Social Justice front are still praised and assimilated by other States.
Dravidar Kazhagam (DK), the parental organization of Dravidian Movement, founded by the social revolutionary Periyar E.V. Ramasamy (1879-1973) in its State Conference held at Thanjavur on 23rd February 2019, released the ‘Dravidian Manifesto’. Dr. K. Veeramani, DK President while releasing the Dravidian Manifesto reaffirmed the principles and pronounced policy measures of the arduous mission of Dravidian Movement after having journeyed for more than 100 years.
Self Respective Humanism has to be the expectation and the practice of every human. Rationality is a virtue of humanity and so it should be natural that humans extend love and fraternity beyond their family to fellow human.
‘All humans are equal by birth’ is the philosophy of the Dravidian philosophy. It has been narrated in ‘Dravidian Manifesto’ to suit the philosophy to the current socio, political and economic environment of the country. Periyar strived for equity in the distribution of wealth, its possession, laws, perception, consumption, participation which are the some of the key indicators of an advanced, civilized, honest and an egalitarian society. The hurdles to attain equality have been correctly exposed as god, soul, heaven, hell, meaningless customs and traditions which had kept the vast toiling masses of the country enslaved.
Periyar Movement pointed out rationality in discharging the human responsibility and the same finds a vital place in Indian Constitution as Fundamental Duties of the Citizens. Dravidian Manifesto reaffirms fostering rational and scientific reasoning and subjecting everything to questioning and scientific examination. It stressed Women’s Liberation and their empowerment in par with men in all areas – education, job, politics and economic status. It advocates for women the same rights of priesthood as applicable to men of all religions. It ensures equality for all Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender and Queers (LGBTQ) whose identies are decided by their birth and discriminating them in any form is to be wiped out. They are equal to others in all respects and so they have equal rights to everything. Differently abled both in physique and cognitive sense should be ensured of equal rights.
Apart from the fundamental rights to everyone, fundamental economic needs have to be provided and it must be the solemn responsibility of the government. To the extent of collective contribution of the country’s production, the equitable distribution has also to be ensured.
The Manifesto directs that the wide gap between the rich and the poor should not exist and so is the gap between the employer and employee; the relationship between the employer and employee should be a partnership. It should create an egalitarian society with no bias of economic class, social class or gender.
State and religion have to be separated absolutely with no link between the government and religions. Laws should not discriminate against atheists. It should work towards enacting laws that will guarantee both atheists and theists the same and equal rights including rights to propagate their views and ideals.
Any two persons over the age of twenty should have the right to live together or marry without the interference of others. Decision to live together or marry should solely be left to the parties involved. Any interference to disrupt togetherness of two adult individuals should be treated as an offence. The woman alone has the right to decide on matters related to child bearing.
Death penalty should be abolished. There should not be any restriction on freedom of thought, expression or propaganda. Art that undermines humanism or self respect under the pretext of ‘art for the art’s sake’ cannot be accepted. Art should be constructive and should support the message of humanism and self respect.
Overall Self Respective Humanism has to be the expectation and the practice of every human. Rationality is a virtue of humanity and so it should be natural that humans extend love and fraternity beyond their family to fellow human. Globalizing humans to exercise their rights and discharge their responsibility must be the essence of humanity to establish the egalitarian society everywhere. The narratives are not exhaustive of Dravidian Manifesto. The manifesto does not restrict with mere declaration but policy prescription would be worked out for its implementation, a unique feature of Dravidian Movement.