All is Not Well that End Well
(By P. C. P.)
There is unholy satisfaction in some Non-Brahmin quarters that the Brahmin entry question did come up before the Nellore Confederation and was decided in the way it was done. The Brahmin himself, after the event, has been gracious enough to point out that he himself never wanted it. The Anglo-Indian seems to think that it was not the considered decision of prominent Non-Brahmins – whatever that might mean.
The question is not that what effect such a decision had upon others.
The question is: Has this suggestion itself of admitting the Brahmin any deleterious or enervating effect upon the Non-Brahmin movement as a whole?
It is perfectly clear that no Brahmin of any importance wanted entry. There is no use in blinking it. On the other hand, he has been in season and out of season, crying down the very movement. What the attitude of the Anglo-Indian is towards this question has been long immaterial. He may sometimes consider such a union dangerous to his narrower interests; he may at other times consider such a division as a standing reflection upon the prestige of his western politics and civilization. It all depends. Nor are we at the present moment concerned with that. As regards the Pro-brahmins among the Non-brahmins, there are those who by long association have come to regard any movement without the Brahmin in it as something inauspicious and there are others of them who have to live their political life upon the smile and in constant dread of the frown of the Brahmin.
Even as a political party, the Non-Brahmin Party had and even now has its own ideals. Those ideals may not be identical with those of any other political party in India. Or even if we accept for fiction’s sake that all political parties in India have the same or similar ideals and ambitions, it does not mean and has never meant that all political attention must centre round a coalescing of all parties.
All the three political parties in England, which count at the present moment have the same object in view, the betterment of their country. But no one party under normal circumstances, devotes any great attention to win over to their side the members of other parties. It does happen sometimes but it is purely casual and not the result of any sustained policy or effort. Such being the case, there are ever so many political organizations in South India, by means of which the Brahmin can achieve all his objects and ambitions. To mention a few most prominent, there is the National Congress; there is the Liberal Party; there is the A.I.S.A.; and there is Varnashrama Dharma, certainly not the least of these. Remove the Brahmin from any of these organizations and that particular organization will cease to function. At its worst, no Brahmin can afford to accuse the Non-Brahmin party of occupying a worse status than that of the Varnashrama Dharmite. And there are enough Non-Brahmins of influence and importance in South India at the present moment who are prepared to maintain a very strict attitude towards the Brahmin right up to the very end of the disappearance of Varnashrama Dharma. These you may classify as Self-respectors.
But says the political Brahmin, not all Brahmins are Varanashramites. The equally obvious retort is: Nor are all Non-Brahmins Self-respecters. The trouble is, that at present, there are as many political minded Non-brahmins with outstanding abilities as among the Brahmins, if not more so.
The Congress is accused of being a Brahmin organization; it is not, says the political Brahmin. Mr. R. K. Shanmugham the astutest politician in South India took the Brahmin at his word, entered the Congress and has become a Self-respector. He is there sticking in the political Brahmin’s throat. The Brahmin can neither swallow him nor digest him. And all the time Mr. R. K. Shanmugham’s reputation for sanity and sobriety is circling round the world. The South Indian Brahmin may one day burst.
It would have been simply a question of time and opportunity, say about three years back, for some of the ablest members of the Non-brahmin party to have entered the Congress – if it had shown signs of surviving – swamped it and driven the Brahmin to a corner. There was Mr. Shamugham’s lead anyway. If others – we mean by others, such of the Non-brahmins as have a following and a stake in the Non-Brahmin party, coupled with outstanding ability and not mere door mats, for all and sundry to wipe their foot upon – if these others were then hesitating it was simply because they felt in their bones that the Congress, as a National institution, was doomed. And the death-knell of the Congress in the South was clearly sounded when two of the best known Congressmen in all India Messrs. George Joseph and R. K. Shanmugham were at the front of it at Nellore with hands uplifted against the Brahmin. That day, the political Brahmin collapsed.
Well, may the bewildered Brahmin lament, that at Nellore, this question was raised, without his own consent anyway, in order to dig the grave of the political Brahmin’s pretensions. That is just it.
He does not believe in the political sincerity and good faith of such of the Non-Brahmins who at the risk of losing every shred of their reputation in their own party and with their own followers, attempted a friendly gesture towards the political Brahmin. He treats it as mere camouflage. And such of the political Non-brahmins who undertook the risk, must have known by this time, at any rate, the risk they did run.
If one may make bold to express, in all humility, to our honoured leaders, one and all of them what is felt deeply throughout the Non-brahmin world, it is this: The Non-brahmin party can ill-stand such a strain as even discussing such a question or even thinking at all, that without the Brahmin in it, the Non-brahmin party cannot function, can achieve no good. If you think you are going to have headache, sure enough you will have it. It is ordinary human experience; it may very well be coverism (an Australilan faith based on equivocation – editors) or auto-suggestion. We shall leave it at that, with the simple prayer that for the respect of the party no one will think of having anything to do with the Brahmin with or without his request, for a period of ten years to come, at any rate. The preferable course would be not to dream of it at all, till Varnashrama Dharma is wiped off the face of the earth.
– Revolt, 20 October 1929