Mr. President and friends!

  periyar 90s          You would expect me to say a few words while I inaugurate this conference. You know my views on oppressed people. If you want to liberate the oppressed people from the atrocities imposed on them by others, it must be considered as a revolutionary work. Because the conditions of the oppressed people have been based on a strong foundation.

            The ideas that oppressed people belong to lower castes, people who are untouchables, are by birth having inherently low qualities, even Gods have created them only like that, the authority for such a situation could be gleaned in religious works and sastras (scriptures of religion), nobody should change the acts of God or religious rules, have all been built upon strong foundations. If anybody were to think that oppressed people should get equality or the principle of untouchability removed from human society, can be achieved through words of propaganda or by just requesting for such things from high caste people, let me say that such people are wasting their lives in such thoughts. Some among the oppressed think that if they take bath, adorn their forehead with the religious mark of vaishnavism or saivism, dress like vaidics (followers of the vedas), say that they do not drink alcohol or eat meat, have a name like samy, their condition would improve and untouchability would be abolished.

            This is a crazy thing to do: really cheating oneself while thinking that others can be cheated. Many people among the oppressed –the adidravadars—had done like this for a long time. There are many authorities in the puranas for this. One can boldly assert that for thousands of years nothing had been done to eradicate untouchability. The activities of some phony people may have benefited their selfish interests, but such show and devotion would serve no purpose: also there is neither any possibility.

            This is because they had built this around such strong foundations. Leave the subject of untouchability aside for a while, Even though so many have fought against it, many giants have fought against it, has the title ‘sudra’ been –imposed on 97 out of 100 people by 3 out of 100—abolished? Even though some among the sudras have been made mahatmas, sages, saints, alwars, nayanmars, people with divine virtues, etc. the column created to call the very large majority of people by the term ‘sudra’ has not been destroyed. And it is not easy to destroy it either. Yesterday the person who inaugurated the adidravidar conference here and the one who presided over the function here, both belong to higher castes. That is the Hon. minister, P.T.Rajan and your District Board President friend Samiappa Mudaliar are saiva velalars – that too, saiva velalars of Thondai Mandalam. People who say that their rank is next to brahhmins and some in their community would say that would not even eat in a brahmin’s house. Still the brahmins would ask such people whether howsoever high could a sparrow flies it could never become a hawk.

            Not only that, the brahmins will stamp them all and categorise them only as sudras, among the four varnas there is no special provision for Thondaimandala Saiva Velalars. Many Thodamandala velalars have for a long time stated that they were not sudras and that they had no connection of varnasrama system. Some others have claimed that they were not ordinary sudras' but were ‘sadsudras’. which was just like adorning the ‘broom stick with a silken kunchalam’. When that is the position, alas, while being placed in worldly life in a very low position, being denied any support and comfort, if you think you will be able to destroy or conceal this stigma of pariah, that too by just putting on a make up like adherent to religion, that will be something like a sparrow drying up a sea by drinking the same and nothing else. They proclaim that varnas were created by God. In Gita Bhagwan Krishna has stated, “I have created four varnas.” Castes were created by religion. In Manu code the manner in which the Chandala caste originated and other castes were created has been elaborated. Therefore, if God, religion and Gita and manu code are continuously sustained and supported, think how it is possible to abolish the stamp of sudra and the attribute of ‘low caste’.

            In order to abolish untouchability our friend Gandhi has shouted as much as possible. Collected many lakhs of rupees to achieve that end and handed them over to higher caste or varna people. Otherwise, he was not able to bring about the slightest change. On the other hand he also supports Gita, manu code, varna system and caste. Today those who are doing service, involved in the abolition of untouchability, 100 out of 100 such gullible people have full belief in and support for Gita and manu code. Even if they toil for a long time on this issue, it is just like trying to fill up a water tank, drawing water from a well using a vessel full of leaks only. So for abolition of untouchability or caste, you must first destroy or abolish your religion. If you are not able to destroy the religion, you must atleast leave that religion. It is a firm position that unless your religion is destroyed, you cannot destroy untouchability or pariahhood. People who have become ‘touchables’ after being `untouchable’ are those who have dismissed the shackles of religion imposed on them. Statistics can be given listing crores of people who have done this by giving their names and place of living.

            Therefore, don’t ever be deceived into thinking that by saving religion as well, you could abolish untouchability. Friend Gandhi is an ardent religionist and not a deep humanist. He has been saying that untouchability must be abolished only to save Hinduism: otherwise he is not having his principal objective of the abolition of atrocities perpetrated against you. Congressmen also do not bother about it. That is because most of them are brahmins. If in practice they follow untouchability, they know that they themselves would become untouchables in the long run. Because when untouchability is abolished, the high caste attribute of brahmins will also be abolished or disappear. If they lose their stamp of high caste people, who would care about them? So if any type of liberation is to be done for those called untouchables, it can be done by the government. A government is duty bound to abolish atrocities prevalent in a society and also atrocities perpetrated against one section of the people against others. Not only that, the government that is ruling over us does not practice untouchability. As a sign of good times for the untouchables, Indian sovereignty is not in the hands of Indians but in the hands of a ruler of a different continent. Congress says it is trying to bring sovereignty back to Indians and efforts are also taking place.

            Accordingly, you must make efforts to remove your grievances before this rule comes to an end. Do as much as possible to oppose the transformation of this rule into a brahmin rule. Swayarajya or self-rule are nothing but Ramarajya, Gita rajya, Manu code rule, as you know. It is far better if India were to be destroyed by earthquakes or hurricanes or floods rather than reverting back to Manu code rule or Ramarajya. Therefore, make all your efforts to free yourselves during the British rule itself. All the olden, past administrations could not abolish untouchability. It is during this rule that you became Collectors; you became judges; you became lawyers; you became doctors; you became teachers; you became members of legislatures; you got titles like Rao Bahadur and Diswan Bahadur: you may even become ministers. Therefore, to address your grievances, in order that your society could improve and you be treated as others, there is scope only in the British administration: I would stress that it would be impossible in Hindu religious Hindu Administration or Ramarajya or the rule of Manu code, or Gita rule, or under the rule of local swadeshi rulers.

Do not bother about or participate in the political agitations of others. They are all just to gain more dominance by the rich or the high-case people, or the educated crowd. You are not in any of these three categories. To get them you must depend only British. All others have been devotees of the British administration, loyal subjects and have obtained the present high positions and clamour for still higher positions. You must agitate and gain equal posts and then, later on, clamour for and try to get higher posts.

Friends, these are my views in this matter. Then it is up to you to think and come to your own conclusions.

Translated by Prof.T.Marx

(A lecture in Sirkazhi, 10.7.1935 – ‘Republic’, ( kudi arasu) 28.7.1935)

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