The introductory speech rendered  by Periyar at Thanjai conference on 3.11.1957

My dear comrades! Beloved mothers!

periyar 34Last time when we met at Trichy to attend  Dravidan Party Cental Administrative Governing  Committee, you all can very well   easily recall  our  proposed resolution to burn Indian constitution and Gandhi photos.   Majority of the members felt that instead of passing  the resolution at the party central administrative governing commit, it was worth  to pass the resolution  in a separate conference   specifically called for this purpose,  thus  seeking people’s consensus.  Since then we had been planning to convene the meet.  I informed  twice to conduct on December. At that time my birth day celebration was conducted in several places at Tamil Nadu.  The members felt to convene  my birth day celebration  at Tanjore  where they had arranged to  donate silver equal to my weight.  We all could learn the possibility of more members participation  at that meet from all the districts of Tamil Nadu.  This was an  appropriate moment  for two valid reasons. One,   we did not have to encounter more expenses to convene such mass  meet.   Two,  we have  encouraged  members   for their free participation to have their opinion  shared and debated . The plan was just conceived on 20.10.1957 and the work commenced with in 10 days time. It should be well appreciated   the high spirit  prevailed  at that time in the minds of the members  which  has given more  participative strength  at the conference.

The Tanjore comrades were remarkably more energetic   in  materializing   my planning  and effort.  Since  during those days of my congress participation to this day of  latest Dravidian movement,  Tanjore has given  me an astounding ovation   to all my effort. At that time I had made my  awakening clarion call  for self respect movement , Tanjore stood behind me without second thought.  Even they supported my leadership in Justice party in those days.  However  my expectation was dully fulfilled through  out Tamil nadu, the Tanjore was very favorite and close to my heart always. They were selfless, generous, more disciplined  among all.

To be honest,  there were people waiting outside the conference. The ticket issuing authorities had  suspended issuing tickets for lack of space inside the conference.  During my 40 years of selfless live, I have seen  many conferences.  Even convened many. The Chengalpattu self  respect conference gathered more record participation in those time. It was attended by 60-65 landlords, assembly members, all the ministers.  It  was just half compare to Tanjore conference which was unbeatable through out the years.  Today we have portrayed this conference as Dravidian exclusive conference. I might be wrong. But this conference was very special and principle based.  People from different walks of life and from different  districts  gathered here to see me as one of their family members. I was indeed very much overwhelmed to learn  their innocent attachment with me. The gathering was an integral part of the conference,  mainly  to witness the great event of  silver donation equal to my weight.   This was a rare occasion not to miss to see their beloved leader to be honored .  There are such a variety of reasons,  the people  choose  to see their leader all the way from long distances jostling one another in the crowd. I do have the habit of telling  the truth about the gathering and never did I exaggerate the crowd strength beyond the actual. But to be precise the gathering is around three to four laks of followers at Tanjore meet. But in actual it may be even more. At the meet,  We are happily chatting with our friends about the strength of the  crowd. Even the rain has showered its mercy not to downpour at the time the  procession is taken place in the morning.  After waiting till the procession complete its venue it gently  starts to drizzle with such reluctance . I started convincing others about the conference being commenced in the morning itself. No way they might be  returning  the ticket collection  because of rain. I strongly hoped that they would prefer to distribute the silver  donation to me  atleast  selecting some shady  corridor if it rains heavily . As you all  know well,  I would never leave the issue as it is . Finally the rain ceased completely. When I was wondering the thatched conference hall would have been drenched due to rain, I was surprised to see you all comfortably  positioned in your place.

However the conference is very successful I  will say it will pave a way all the followers and the leader  to be imprisoned  eventually.  Even the  situation is very conducive  for arrest because of prevailing adverse political climate during that time. That is going to be the fruit of success of such conference.  I am awaiting for prison feast at any time. But it is not easily available now I believe. We broke Pillayar and burned Rama. Such acts are endless.  No one there to question us. None dare  to arrest us even during Rajai regime.  Now the leader ship has been changed to Kamarajar.  He can easily escape by declaring that  even  Rajaji could not make a decision on this issue, so am I and helpless. 

But the current situation is not like that. The upper clause circle, press and bramin elites usher government to take stringent action against us for defaming the gods. The straight reason behind this hate attitude is due to their restrictions in not being able to convey free opinion like us. How come they reveal their  pathetic plight  endangering the unfound religious faith and customs. The main reason to drive us behind the  bars was  mainly to save their religious dignity they had created over ages.  Their efforts are endless and untiring.   The government has the pressing need to arrest us despite their reluctance.  That is why my comrades I mentioned, this conference will lead me to prison with all such valid reasons I have explained so far.

Eschewing caste system is just an ordinary thing. But that has been portrayed as big. No one is inferior by birth. All are equal. This stand is very essential for us to maintain peaceful social togetherness.

“Some  rule the caste system because of their superiority they have created, the rest is neglected as lower caste. One group has to toil their level best  to have their daily grains and the other comfortably relaxing  and have their sumptuous feast”. Do such systems to be encouraged to remain in our society?

Is it not the duty of the government  to rectify  the rotten caste system.  We all should stand together to completely eradicate this. We humbly say all the caste are equal, but unfortunately this simple statement has made the high caste to rebel.

Other countries will simply ridicule if they know our existing caste system prevailing till date. Their simple  question on our   caste discrimination by birth  can not be substantially   convinced  to them   with any valid answer.

The Government can easily eradicate this caste system in a single  line,  if it is honest to the people with all its heart and not biased  by the ruling upper caste people.

The untouchability is some  thing against the  principles of agama. It is very essential for the government to eradicate untouchability  to  win the political gamble. They ofcourse  did it any way. Like that they could have contrived some plan to wean away the caste system brewing in our society.  What stops them to take any preventive measures?

Those who criticize me for preaching non belief  and against god could not understand our open agenda  is to eradicate the  ugly faced caste system  completely from our society. There is no one  to question the government’s responsibility to eradicate.

Where is the liberty when one person  is socially prevented to question about himself being branded as lower caste? This is the right time you should ponder about the helplessness of those  aggrieved. I never hurt nor punched any one during my 40 years of public life. None grieved nor wounded . I have my path with peace and tranquility.

Ironically when one could not achieve his principles  without being rebellious by just folding hands tight may I not be branded as a fool?

What will you do when you  are driven to accept the fact that the caste system can not  be uprooted without massacring atleast thousand  of bramins, without tossing atleast hundreds of them in the burning inferno? (laks of people congregated in the conference hall jointly roared  “ we will kill, we will burn”). Not only me, but  anyone will come to this conclusion. What a foolish statement that I am alone raising the voice where as laks  are behind me raising the same  voice.

I do not  say you to do it right now or tomorrow. When We have  no alternative tell me  what is our course of action to be?

Why do I belong to lower caste? Why  my birth be cursed? When we raise our questions  we are threatened and beaten paving way for us to retaliate with the same spirit   to honour our birth.  

In Muthukulathur you have burnt two thousand houses and killed hundreds of  lower caste. The bitter episode was diluted by arresting just a few. Will those died resurrect ? Will the burnt houses be retrieved?  The then  minister Bakthavatsalam  even has questioned  the blame shooters that  who ever  complain Ramasamy that he  had provoked wordy violence ,  he should come with such written proof  where and when. The moment the minister asked  the evidence, none was there and simply vanished without a note of protest. Few claimed it was published in the news paper which was not proved by CIT report. Unless the caste can not be eradicated with mere silence and without any force,   will you  remain as  a silent spectator folding your hands?

 We were rebellious  and nearly 750 persons have been punished.  None can suppress our voice by falsely accusing we are rebellious. We are not cowards. If we surrender it is nothing but our own  suicide. Even a gutless coward will not retreat  and venture suicide.

I make it very simple for you. First answer me “Do we eschew caste system or to remain as it is in the society for ever”? ( quickly laks of comrades raised their voice to eradicate the caste system). Do not  we have to seek quick remedy  to get rid of the social malice from our society? But   Instead, we are patiently  seeking  remedy  from the  unhelpful existing laws and  useless onion to eradicate caste system? Now itself we have to contrive a common plan of  action. ( the comrades assembled,  vowed  in support of the future plan). When the systems can not be corrected either by the laws or by the parliament let them all  go and have their deep uninterrupted  eternal slumber.

Does this government exclusively  belongs to bramins and north Indians only? It is just an eye wash hoodwinking us that the law will have its recourse for a better society. How many will just live their self esteem being scratched by upper class? Such sycophant , however  support the government view  it just  for their belly sake. We profess and practice to handle the situation with all our might. When the win or die situation arise we all will seek  the extreme  thus each one to add one more soul to his death list. None is resorting to  any solution to our caste  problems . But the suppression is prevalent  and continuous  every where,  throttling the  voice of innocent . 

There is a cartoon in one news paper with a sizable  circulation through out India,  depicting  a picture where   a lion is chasing the bramins and I am visualized  as a ferocious  lion. The bramins got scared and resort to a mad run as an escape from the lion. The news paper instead of seeking a solution merely kindle the fire and  their self respect is smeared   endangering the press dignity.  Such situation prevails only in India. Where as in turkey, England or Pakistan would not they be bombarded ? It is quite unfortunate only in India we are helpless and subject to constant sufferings.

When we just enquire about their beatings they raised their voice collectively that we venture to kill them. So far I have not killed any one. Suppose  when there is a compelling situation arise,  shall I not? (my question is answered by laks of   positive voices  at the conference) . we are not leaving to prison just for petty theft. Are we here to satisfy our personal welfare?   Never.  We cant accept their biased vedic based version to suppress us in the name of caste, where as we belong to 97% and they are just meager  3%. We never get  scared to step ahead in our endeavor.

With in a span of two years, I have been presented knife  in not less then twenty meetings, not just to behead myself. Nor to sell that for any consideration.  Or just to lend a silent kiss?  It shows me the collective strength of my  true followers, strengthening my agenda against caste system. When I said to demolish Gandhi stature, they gave me  hammer to strike symbolically. I have to return some thing to those who support me without a second thought.

I am not a man in haste. Just by a  mere reason I have full support from the staunch followers, I never resort to instigate killing. When we don’t  have any alternative what else I do? Daily news papers are flashing several murders like the one  the mother in law was murdered by her son in law, wife killing the husband, father killing his own son  at their convenience and choice. 10% plans to escape where as 90% accept the  imprisonment.  I never recite violence.  The government should understand I have been forced to accept to become rebel.

It is not new that a bramin is maimed and killed in the history. It is evidently clear from the Vedas they have written. In bhagavadham  7th division in its second chapter as noted by pandit  R.Sivaram shasthry  in the page between 715 to 716 it was explained from the saying of Iranyan.

“My benevolent, please listen to me.  Do it without  any delay.  Just rush to earth and kill those bramins who conduct yagna, practice meditation, conduct  pooja .  Such prayers conducted by bramins will honour and satisfy lord Vishnu. Hence search bramins any where available adhering to varnasram principles and burn them in their own yagna. Destroy them with out any mercy. On hearing this some burn them.  Some destroyed temple and the surrounding path with a spade. Even some burn their dwelling too. At that time the gods disappeared silently ,   sneaking in a comfortable  hiding place in the earth. The bramins  in those days manipulated every thing to their advantages. But they can not  do the same now and to win as before. It must be outright  to be convinced  by them that  their vedic puranas never  support nor favour caste system.    If at all we could not seek the solution to our problem in 1957, where we are heading to? Only the distrust has compelled us  to choose  an alternative provoking  thought which was branded by the government as rebellious. Is it not our duty to get rid of caste system right now?

None has uttered even a single word about the existence of caste system in our society.  I know they scared for bramins.  If the government  tactically  act in support of bramins, I know one day it will be certainly  deceived. So are  bramins. But never we be deceived at any circumstances.  We have other alternatives to be achieved to high light our sacred movement. If at all nothing could be achieved by non violent means, then  only we will seek an alternative plan of  action as the last resort  .

Did not it happen in Muthukulathur ? Two thousand dwelling was  perished in fire. What a pity! This would  undoubtedly  leave a dirty scar  in our history, how filthy the caste system was during our period.

- Thus periar ended his historical speech at tanjore conference. 

Translated By Mr.Premkumar

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