The New Daniel

It has seldom been our lot to come across an individual more perverse-minded and incorrigible than Mr. Vallabahai Patel. We had some hope at first that in spite of all the arrant nonsense he talked at Vedaranyam about the Non-Brahmin movement he would discover his mistake as he proceeded on his tour in the province and came into touch with the realities of the situation. But we now realize that we had built our hope on a wrong estimate of the mentality of the Sirdhar. Not only is he, wholly incapable of seeing things as they are, he is so much under the maya of the monopolist gang that he has neither the sense to think out things for himself nor the self-respect to assert himself and stand out against the insidious hypnotism of the patrons who lead him by the nose. To make matters worse, he has evidently an insatiable craving for cheap applause and incense things (sic) which the monopolist press is only too willing to accord in full measure to those who would play up to its tunes. Naturally, the great Sirdhar of Bardoli fame has been making a series of statements in the course of his lecturing tour – statements whose falsehood and absurdity are only matched by the extreme vehemence and impudence with which they have been uttered ad-nauseum. Malice, misinformation and ignorance are at the bottom of many of these effusions and so it is safe to predict, that except himself no one is going to be worse off for them.

In a previous issue we have dealt with some of these “Patelisms” and shown to our readers what a downright dupe or a consummate ignoramus their author is. We have no intention of going over the same ground now. We shall refer today only to a few more of the series which have since been paraded for the edification of a supposedly stupid public. Mr. Patel says with an air of cocksureness so characteristic of a swollen-headed monomaniac that the authors of the self- respect movement in this province have no other object but to snatch at power and office in the gift of the bureaucracy. A man who talks in this vein can hardly be taken seriously for even an ordinary school boy knows that loaves and fishes of office are the last thing aimed at by the earnest souls who in the name of the Self-respect movement are carrying on a relentless crusade against those manifold social and religious evils which are sapping the vitality of the race and retarding the progress of the country.

If Mr. Patel had but cared to read the literature on the subject or if he had but sought an opportunity to come into contact with any of the protagonists of the movement instead of meekly swallowing all the poisonous vapourings of his “spotless friends”, he could have easily understood that the bureaucrats and their favors had only as much to do with the movement, as say the Bardoli satyagraha had had to do with the recent outbreak of an undiagnosable disease in Bombay. However knowing as we do the personalities in the green-room who sent him tutored on to the stage, we have little reason to be annoyed or displeased with the performance of the Sirdhar.

Nor is it a matter for surprise that Mr. Patel should have rhapsodized so much over the khadi and the Hindi Prachar movements. The khadi movement supplies the living for many an unemployed youth of the monopolist community and unless the waning enthusiasm is somehow quickened up the Acharyas and Iyengars behind Mr. Patel will soon find their occupation gone. As a test of the truth of what we have said, will Mr. Patel call for a statement regarding the number of employees in the khadi service, to which community each belongs, their salaries etc.? When a statement of that kind is forthcoming even the incorrigible Patel will be forced to confess that his friends are not so spotless after all as he had been led to imagine and that it is not altogether a commendable spirit of helping the poor and serving the interest of the nation that has led so many of these “selfless workers” to interest themselves in that organization.

So also is the case with the Hindi Prachar stunt. Has Mr. Patel, we ask, ever stepped into the premises of the head office of the Prachar in Madras? Has he noticed how many clerks are there in the office, what salary each is being paid and what relation each bears to the other? We have reliable information to the effect that practically all the members of the staff are in inter-related in a family way and that some members at any rate have only as much of ability and qualification as to condemn them forever in this competitive world to be unemployed but for the filial pull of the chief of that office. Further how the Prachar movement is abused will be clear if some investigation is made as to how the Bharathi Prachuralaya is being worked. Is it not true that both the institutions are housed in the same building and that the same staff does the work of both?

Be that as it may the time is fast approaching when it will be altogether impossible for scandals of this type to be hushed up. Today the “spotless Brahmins” may get hold of an invertebrate Patel to beat the drum for them and cry down the Non Brahmins but it will not be long before the realization dawns that tactics of this kind are of no avail. In the meantime let us congratulate the “spotless saint of Salem” on his great success in having got hold of a ‘nam-key-waste’ Non Brahmin to advertise him throughout the length and breadth of the province (1). And let us also hope that the rumour will prove well founded that on his return to Madras purnakumbhams and aarthies (symbols of a ceremonial welcome – editors) will be presented by the local Brahmins to the New Daniel from Gujarat who at their instance and under their inspiration has undertaken the arduous journey to this distant province to pronounce a judgment on the Non Brahmin movement so agreeable to them.

- Revolt, 15 September 1929

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


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