What is the difference between the wise man and the fool? The wise man is not infallible nor is the fool necessarily a blunderer. Both are liable to err. Both commit mistakes. But the wise man learns from his mistakes. The fool does not. Science is an attempt to draw the attention of man to the mistakes he has committed. Science is a call to mankind to learn by past failures. He who heeds the call of science is wise. He who does not is otherwise.

Elsewhere we publish an article by ‘Simha’ setting forth the changes in our method of living necessitated by recent advances in science. The positive measures advocated by Eugenics may not win immediate approbation in the circumstances prevailing in our country, however desirable they may appear from a theoretic point of view. But there is a negative warning conveyed by Eugenics which we desire our readers to clearly understand. Investigations relating to loss of heredity have not only indicated the direction in which the humanity should advance if it would improve its breed but they have also brought into clear relief one false step we took in the past. One of the most serious of blunders that we have been guilty of is an inculcation of belief in the heritability of acquired characters. No other idea has created such bad blood between friends and neighbours or has produced so much unnecessary suffering and misery. Wars have been fought to enlist its application to one set of facts rather than to another, causing tremendous loss of lives and untold sufferings to the nations.

Pride of descent is born of our vanity. We like to think of ourselves as superior beings. We delight in imagining that others are our inferiors. The sense of our supreme worth is so pleasing to us that we desire to display into the public gaze. But no human failing can find vent in public unless it is reduced to a dogma and sanctified as a creed. We have therefore exalted our prejudice into a doctrine. We have postulated that our own superiority is such a magnificent affair that we could not have acquired it in a single birth. Our forefathers through their generations accumulated the treasure for us; our descendents will continue to add to the store. Heredity is made to pile up human qualities even as the miser who adds up one hard earned coin to another, never losing a farthing, ever on the look out to increase the hoard.

But science has stepped in and has expropriated our superiors from this ill-gotten wealth. It has been established that acquired characters are not inherited. A genius may be born of humble parents. The Shastri, learned in the scriptures may beget a son with antipathy to the sacred lore. The Devadasi may give birth to a Savithri (the Hindu puranic character, symbolic of wifely devotion – editors) A Gandhi may rise from among the Banias. It is no longer possible to construct intellectual dreadnaughts. The child at the Agraharam (exclusive and secluded Brahmin residential neighbourhood – editors ) is not the superior of his contemporary in the ‘cheri’ (an ‘untouchable’ residential quarter – editors) either in intellectual ability or in moral worth. Both are liable to error as both are liable to catch measles. The mighty edifice of Varnashrama has crumbled like a house of cards. The orthodox ostriches will not face facts. But let the intelligent reader learn wisdom from the conclusions of science.

- Revolt, 12 December 1928

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புரட்சி மொழிகள்

"பார்ப்பான், சூத்திரன், பறையன் என்கிற ஜாதி அமைப்பு இருக்கிற வரையில் இந்த நாட்டில் ஒரு இஞ்ச் அளவுகூட முன்னேற்றம் காண முடியாது என்று உறுதியாகக் கூறுவேன்" - பெரியார்


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