The Volunteers Assemble
The first Self-respect Volunteers Conference was held at Pattukottai on the 25th and 26th instants. We have published elsewhere in this issue a portion of the presidential address delivered at the Conference. The address is teeming with the spirit of revolt which is inherent in every youth of the land.The president has clearly set forth that social revolution is the inevitable precedent of political advancement, and that the self-respect youths must be prepared to sacrifice their lives if necessary for securing equal privileges and justice. We watched with admiration the enthusiastic speeches of the youths and we were not a little struck with wonder especially when the youths boldly stood up showing their readiness for inter-caste and widow marriages. The ready rush of the sturdy youths to support their solution of temple-entry to all castes, showed their ardor in sacrifice their all on behalf of the depressed millions. The volunteers have expressed their willingness to work for those candidates who can extend their support to the Self-respect movement. In short, the conference has set a definite programme of work to be followed by the youths of the Self-respect movement. We only wish the volunteers begin their work in right earnest, and create a stronger public opinion before the elections. We take this opportunity of congratulating the organizers of the Conference and other youths who have keenly participated in bringing the conference to a success.
– Revolt, 29 May 1929
The Self-respecters Volunteers Conference,
Mr. P.S. Dhandapani, Chairman of the Reception Committee, in the course of his address, at the First Self-respect Volunteers Conference, said:
The aims and objects of the Self-respect movement are well known to us. The political, social and religious conditions prevailing in our country today are such that are derogatory to our self-respect. We will be only too glad to end them. But we try to put up with them, because they are ancient. Fear is the chain that binds us to this slavery of our times, and we must take heart to do away with them. Fortunately for us, we are under the yoke of a foreign rule which cannot connive at the Varanashramite reactionaries, as the governments of old did, in putting down the Buddhists and Siddhas when they rose in arms against them.
Some irresponsible hirelings have already begun a campaign of misrepresentation regarding our movement in the name of “theism.” Their calculated advocacy for the cause of the temples which even a Gandhi termed as “brothels,” is only a device to hoodwink the masses and to help the priest-craft to carry on their cruel exploitation. The temples are responsible for the enormous waste of our national wealth and energy. After all the Varnashramite Brahmin is the wire-puller who sets up the “Sad-Sudras” against our Non-brahmin brethren. This theism is a sort of an epidemic which usually breaks out during election times. It is no wonder therefore, that it is virulent now on the eve of the epoch-making elections to the legislatures. It is a truism that cannot be denied that the Brahmins have all along been successful in keeping us under abject subjection through a strong mobilisation of political power. Unless their attempts are thwarted, and political power wrested from their hands and manipulated by Non-brahmins, the day of our liberation is far far away. Such propaganda of vilification is to be strongly counteracted by organised effort on our part, and by returning to the legislatures such of the Non-Brahmins as support the tenets of the self-respect movement.
I should therefore like to suggest that among the many principles of the Self-respect movement, we place the repudiation of Brahminism, abolition of the caste system, and religious vandalisms as the immediate issues. If we should march on from one accomplishment to another, we should not only practice these principles but we must also take our sisters with us. If the movement should bear fruit, the support and sacrifice of our sisters for the cause is a paramount necessity. This can be only accomplished by educating them on the lines of the self-respect movement.
None of these things is possible without organised effort and disciplined action. The slender resources and ill-disciplined service of volunteers in their individual capacity will not be of great use. It is the duty of our elders and leaders to organise our forces for disciplined action. Their immediate objective should be a strong organised band of volunteers ready to carry the message of self-respect from door to door. I appeal to our leader Mr.E.V. Ramasami to open his institution for training Self-respect workers without any further delay. Before concluding I wish to point out to the youths that the destinies of our country rest entirely with us. The burning passion for self sacrifice and a strong courage for action should be our guiding principles. I eagerly await the day when we shall usher in the kingdom of happiness by our service and sacrifice.
Resolutions – S.R.Volunteers Conference
The following are among the resolutions passed:
- The conference decides that our volunteers should carry out in
action the resolutions passed in the First Provincial Self-respect Conference held at Chingleput by regular and united propaganda work.
- Even after our repeated warnings, without any attention or fore-thought, the Brahmins including Mr. Madan Mohan Malaviya and the newspapers like “Hindu” and “Swadesamitran” are using the degrading words like “Sudra,” “the people of the 4th caste” and “Panchama.” So this conference insists that if they persist in using these words any more, we will without any hesitation use the word Mlechas the equivalent for Brahmins as found in the Tamil Dictionaries.
- This conference decides to boycott those papers that use the degrading words like “Sudra, Panchama and the people of the 4th caste” and those that advocate the views of the Varanashramadharma.
- This conference decides that our volunteers among their propaganda work should include the Temperance propaganda also as one of the important factors.
- This conference decides that our volunteers in their propaganda work in the various parts of our Tamil Nadu should found Physical Training institutions and advocate that each and every youth should have his or her body strong and healthy.
- As passed in the Chingleput Conference, this conference resolves that the Self-respect Association should be registered and the newspapers ‘Dravidan’, ‘Kudi Arasu’, and ‘Revolt’ should be made to run permanently without any stop under its guidance.
- This conference welcomes the Act passed by Hon S. Muthiah, the Excise Minister that in the Government appointments all should have equal opportunities and it also requests the other Ministers and the members of the Executive to bring into force the same.
- This conference congratulates Messrs. Eswaran, Pasupathy and Karuppan who took prominent part in Erode Tempe entry and it requests the people to contribute liberally to support them.
- This conference enjoins the volunteers to make themselves ready for the Self-respect campaign in connection with the temple entry that is going on now in our country.
- This conference appeals to the Self-respect volunteers to promote, and contract inter-marriages and prefer widows in such marriages whenever possible.
- This conference strongly condemns Malaviyaji for his propaganda in favour of the iniquitous systems of caste and Varnashrama, the Vedas, Shastras and the Puranas, and also strongly repudiates his wanton misrepresentations of the self-respect movement.
Revolt, 5 June 1929