On 18th January1953 Thanthai Periyar delivered a speech at a public meeting in Bangalore. The Central idea of his address was the advantages of reasoning and rational perspective in life.
The content was in nutshell as follows:
Dear Comrades, lend me your ears when I speak but do not accept blindly the entire content of my speech. Whatever may be the stature of a person and the topic of his speech, we must at all times use our own intellect to judge the veracity of his views.
Ability to Reason
The renowned sage Thiruvalluvar was quite right when he stressed this through one of his couplets in his work ‘Thirukkural’. According to that much celebrated couplet, it is a major flaw to take everyone’s views and thoughts for granted. Using our power of reasoning we should thoroughly examine them and decide whether to accept it or reject. It is man’s ability to reason which makes him different from the animals.
We have all been undergoing changes in life by the power of our thinking. Our progress and growth were ignited by our reasoning skill. Mankind today is not what it was about 2000 years ago. There has been huge transformation in every sphere of man’s life. With the passing of time man has mellowed. The changes in his life are unstoppable. Man continues to multiply all his comforts and make his life prosperous.
Bullock carts were once man’s mode of transport ages ago! Today he uses cars, trains and aircrafts for his convenience and conveyance. Various kinds of lamps were used for light and oil was the source of illumination. Today he uses electricity, consuming extremely high voltage. Behind all these advancements rests man’s mind-power and his ability to think sensibly.
An uninterrupted application of intellect has led to amazing inventions and rapid progress in life. The power of knowledge has showered on man comforts in abundance. Birds, beasts and all other living beings still exist as they existed 2000 years ago. We do not find any change in them. Even today the animals appear unclad as they were long ago. Do we find them clad in apparels? Therefore, I reiterate that the exceptional quality of man is his power of reasoning.
The benefits derived depend on the way one’s reasoning power is used. Blind acceptance of the views of others is a folly. Meticulously dissecting and ascertaining the validity of every statement is essential for our advancement and growth.
The thoughts and writings of sages, saints and scholars are not at all sacrosanct, to accept without questioning. Willing suspension of disbelief would only lead us to erroneous conclusions. Great inventors abroad were able to contribute astonishing inventions only by freely applying their knowledge. Automobiles, aircrafts, trains, radio and amplifiers are all their inventions. Every scientific marvel which has made our life easy is the outcome of a foreigner’s effort.
It is a pity that we have invented imaginary worlds, nether world, underworld, heaven, hell etc; we have been finding out the number of wives and concubines the so-called gods possessed. Our minds have always been operating on the lowest level of our intellect. Our knowledge remains unutilised. The elders of the ancient era are unquestionable authorities for us.
Taken For a Ride
It is because of this flaw in us that we were ‘Sudras’ 2000 years ago and we are still ‘Sudras’ after 2000 long years. We were low-caste entities then and we are the same even now. We worked hard and fed brahmins bellyful 2000 years ago. Till this date brahmins have been exploiting us. Today they survive by the sweat on our brow. We are the horses and they are the riders in mirth.
Abuse of Knowledge
By the abuse of our knowledge we exist on the lowest strata of life enduring inexplicable hardship. Hence I urge upon you all to use your reasoning power before accepting any thought of any person, whether it is about religion, god or any statement of the elders. Reject outright that which seems unacceptable to your sense. Never have a fear that you would be roasted alive in hell if you do not believe in them. Disillusionment is all that you badly need.
The Dravidians of this country, the miserable aborigines, have long been condemned to toil and feed brahmins. We are bound by shackles of religion and antique codes of conduct, prescribed by malicious people. It is high time we woke up and annihilated god, religion and ancient codes of conduct.
Time to Delink
We must recall and realise how we were all enslaved by brahmins and how they took advantage of religion, god and senseless scriptures to exploit us. The filth around Hindu gods and goddesses, their unabashed activities and nauseating conduct must be clearly understood by us for perfect awareness atleast now. We should abolish them all to delink ourselves from societal slavery. Let us use our power of reasoning and achieve this objective. This is my message today for all of you.
Translated by Prof. M.R. Manohar