I, E. V. Ramaswamy, have taken upon myself the task of reforming Dravidian Society so that it shall be comparable to other societies of the world, in esteem and enlightenment, and I am solely devoted to that service.
I express, plainly and openly, thoughts which occur to me, and which strike me as right. This may embarrass a few; to some this may be distasteful; and a few others may even be irritated; however, all that I utter are proven truths and not lies.
It is my considered opinion that kings are redundant in the present-day world, and that they are demeaning in the self-respects of the people.
I am also one who says that besides kings, rich men, landed aristocracy, business, and Capitalist s are groups that should be eliminated, as they are parasites on men.
Not that all the people of the world should act according to my wish, but that come what may, surely in polities and in public life, humane justice alone, and not justice as prescribed by any epoch or religion should be imposed: such is my desire.
I shall never be a party to doing anything by instigating others from behind. Even if I am thus inclined by any chance, I have not the capacity to do so. To act from behind, certain means and machinery are required, Because I lack these, I have had not only to remain a servant of society throughout my life, but also to give expression to my views candidly, and to censure, where necessary, without fear or favour.
As far as I am concerned, I am never a party man. I have always been a man of principles.
In my public life, after I reached my years of discretion, I always volunteered to support the government of Non- Brahmins. In this, I did not see any dignity or indignity.
I had my strong conviction even from 1925 that superstition must be eradicated and that people should be turned into rationalists.
Till the end of my life, I shall never canvass for a vote. I shall not even expect a word of praise from any quarter.
I am one who has been ostracized by politics and religion. I have suffered pain and privation; sacrificed my self – esteem; and rejected a place in the ministry.
Indeed, it was my family and I who volunteered for the first time in India to court imprisonment for the sake of the freedom we cherish so dearly today.
I have supported whichever political party has done well to the society to which I belong, and opposed those that have done ill. I have not supported any party merely it is in power.
I serve only because I wish that our people and society should progress of other lands. In the best interest of society, therefore, I support those that are capable of doing well to our people, and those administrators who work for our social betterment.
When a peace-conference was convened for the suspension of the Civil Disobedience Movement, Sankaran Nair requested Gandhiji to stop picketing toddy shops and talk peace afterwards, Gandhiji remarked: ‘ Stopping the picketing of toddy shops is not in my hands. It is in the hands of E. V. Ramaswamy ‘s wife and sister in Tamil Nadu ‘. Thus my family and I courted imprisonment for the Gandhiji’s principles.
I am under no necessity to permanently support anyone for gaining selfish ends. I see no wrong at all in supporting that person who does well to us, who strives for the removal of our social degradation even if he is a foreigner.
I have no (political) heirs. My principles and ideas are my heirs. My principles and ideas are my heirs. Heirs should evolve on their own.
Even if I were to live in a place where I would have to experience much worse sufferings than those of a hellish life, I would considered it a pleasanter life than this mean, caste -ridden existence, if only I were respected as a man there.
Gandhiji said: ‘If the untouchables are prevented from drawing water from a well, let separate well be dug for them; if they are not allowed into the temple, let separate temples be build for them ‘. I said then: ‘if no amends are made for the abject humiliation that they cannot draw water from a well, let them the die of thirst. That they must be freed from this degradation is more importance than the provision of water to save their lives.’
For how long are we still to remain ‘sudras ‘ and allow our progeny also to be ‘sudras ‘, in this world? Should we not do something to attain human dignity, devoid of our ills, at least in this generation, during this age of science of scientific freedom? Is there a nobler deed than this for us? It is for this reason that I have dedicated the whole of my life for this cause: and not out of any perversity or spite.
Some say that eradication of caste is communalism, and hatred for the high-castes. Are we communalist? Have we ever harmed a single Brahmin, or set fire to a Brahmin locality? An appeal for the abolition of caste is not to be considered class-hatred.
In our country, those that endeavour class to put an end to the ills of caste are like those that administer medicine for malaria; they cannot prevent the incidence of the disease in others. But I am like a doctor who prevents it by destroying the malaria causing mosquitoes in the stagnant waters.
The oppressed and backward people -toilers, coolies, poor men- who are treated like animals, are an eye -sore to me. This sorry sight can be removed only by their being made equal among men.
Though I am more than sixty years of age, my feelings are not as old, only because of my contact with the young. To do nothing is something my mind is never inclined to. Rest and boredom are suicide to me.
People all over the world should unite. They should have an existence that does no harm to other beings. Means must be found for a peaceful life, free from envy, care, deceit, hatred and sorrow. This is my cherished wish.
I am aware that my capacity is limited. But my love for humanity is boundless. That is why I am impelled to action and utterance beyond my position and capacity.
You conduct yourselves according to what you deem proper, after an inquiry aided by reason, this is what I call reform.
Do not think I am selfless. I am a very avaricious person. My desire and selfishness are boundless; I consider the welfare of the Dravidian society as my own welfare, and I toil solely for that ‘Selfishness ‘
Justice, and nothing else, is my justification.
-Comrade Periyar – Original source: Dravidarkazhagam. www.periyar.org