All India Untouchability Abolition Society’s Chennai branch organized a condolence meet “To commemorate Late Swami Sirathanandhar on 17th March 1932 in Gokhale Hall. It was chaired by Sir A.P Patro. After opening Swami Sirathanandhar’s photo frame, Patro said
The Hindu society has done limitless evil things to untouchables. Several reformers worked hard to eradicate these practices but still in India this horrible practice exists, it’s really sad. There is nothing worse than treating a community people lower than animals by not touching them. Leaders like Buddha born in this country but still untouchability has not been destroyed. It’s because of superstitious beliefs and practices among the Hindu society.
By this, we can understand that untouchability still exists in our country because of the Hindu religion and the superstitious beliefs and practices among the people.
At the same time Salem C. Vijaya Ragavachariyar said,
Now we have to think “how to eliminate untouchability”. Instead of that if we think about the origin of untouchability and then criticizing the Hindu religion” will not be a way to eliminate untouchability. And we can’t say that the Hindu religion imposed untouchability. Strongly I would say that the Hindu society never accepts the nonperishable untouchability.
He praised the Hindu religion and agreed to abolish untouchability. After listening to both, we can understand that Patro says “the Hindu religion is the source of untouchability” and Vijaya Ragavachariyar says that the Hindu religion never accepted untouchability. So criticizing the Hindu religion is wrong. But we will conduct research to find the truth.
Today Untouchables not allowed to walk in the streets of upper castes, restricted to take water from the ponds and well, were upper castes consumes. Even untouchables were not allowed to get admission in public schools. We ask them, that all the above mentioned is because of the Hindu religion and its superstitious practices or not?
Today the so-called orthodox Hindu upper caste people opposing the untouchable’s Satyagraha for temple entry in Guruvayur (Kerala). Similarly in Nasik (Bombay presidency) also the situation is the same. Like this upper caste orthodox Hindus opposing the untouchable’s rights. We ask them is there any other reason than that of the Hindu religion, Hindu religious Shastras?
In the name of Varnashrama dharma and Sanatana dharma Brahmins were organizing public gatherings and conferences; in those gatherings and conferences they were claiming that “seeking temple entry rights for untouchables and trying for it is against Hindu religion”. And they passed a resolution that “if untouchables were allowed to enter into the temple and mingle with upper castes equally, it will destroy the Hindu religion”. Brahmins passed these kinds of resolutions. For this act is there any other reason than that of Hindu religion, Hindu religious Shastras? This is what we are asking.
Thiru. Gandhi respected as Mahatma by the downtrodden people. He is writing and speaking about untouchability’s cruelty and the need to abolish it. He is telling “untouchability should be abolished, but Varnasrama should remain”, “there is a difference in everyone’s attitude by birth” and “equality is not for the body but for the soul. And he is searching for a way to abolish untouchability. It’s all because of Hindu religious Shastras which he read and the Hindu religion which he believes. This is what we are questioning!
Is there anybody to say that “there are some Hindu religious books which didn’t say about Varnashrama dharma?” Respected Gandhi, orthodox Hindu religious Brahmins and reformers are praising Geeta. Can anyone say that there is nothing about Varnashrama dharma?
Paartha! Women, Vaishya, Shudra were born from a pitiful vagina. But still, whose believing me they will reach heaven (Feet of god).
By holy birth ‘Brahmins and Rishis devoted and supporting me! Do I need to say this?!
Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 9, Slogan 32, 33.
What did the above-mentioned lines from Bhagavad Geeta teaches? Whether it teaches caste by birth itself or not? Do you think that the people who believe that “recitation of this Geeta is the way to achieve self-rule and heaven’ will agree for the destruction of Varnashrama Dharma?
Mystics equally treat souls of ‘educated, uneducated Brahmins, cow, elephant, dog, and dog eating Chandalas.
Bhagavad Geeta Chapter 5, Slogan 18
After looking at these lines from Geeta we may understand that it’s not in favor of untouchability. But in this, equality is given to the soul alone not to the body. By this, we come to know that there is no exemption for untouchability
In Bhagavad Geeta, there is no slogan other than this to support equality. If this is the situation then think about others.
Now Tamilians call Thirukkural a socialist book and there is no place for untouchability in that. Let’s check the facts!
All men that live are one in circumstances of birth;
Diversities of works give each his special worth.
By quoting these people used to say that Thiruvalluvar disagrees with the inequality based on birth, and he only talks about the inequality by profession. In one way he also agreed with the inequality, that’s our view. No one can neglect whether inequality by birth or by the job is the source for the production of untouchability.
We can’t say that Thiruvalluvar disagreed with Varnashrama Dharma
Though he forgets, the Brahman may regain his Vedic lore;
Failing in ‘decorum due,’ birthright gone for evermore.
Where guardian guardeth not, udder of kine grows dry,
And Brahmans’ sacred lore will all be forgotten lie.
The above couplets teach Varnashrama Dharma. If Brahmin forgot the Vedas, he can learn it again but if he gives up his birth’s discipline then his life will be spoiled.
If King would not govern well then the benefits of cows will be reduced. The six types of the profession holding Brahmin’s will forget Vedas.
After conducting research with the above-mentioned couplets and its meaning, Can we say that Thiruvalluvar not accepted Varnashrama Dharma, inequality differences and not given a space to untouchability? If this is the condition of the so-called ‘Tamil Veda’ ‘Socialist Veda’ Thirukkural. Then do we need to think about the condition of other books?
Even if we consider any Purana stories it has no space to abolish untouchability. There is no necessity to speak much about it. In Periyapuranam Nandanar’s story is enough to understand untouchability practice.
Nandanar was an Untouchable, who worships Nataraja allies Paramashivan and willing to enter inside the temple. But God Nataraja’s allies Paramashiva disagreed to worship him with the same body. So that he was forced to jump into the fire. After the death, he got a Brahmin body then entered inside the temple. This is what said in Periyapuranam. It has been said that there is a space to eradicate untouchability and equality in Periyapuranam. If Periyapuranam is like this then do we need to talk about other small Puranas?
Now, they are telling a story of a person called Sankarachariyar who taught to eradicate untouchability. One day he came after taking a bath in the Ganges. While coming back he met an untouchable and he left. Suddenly the untouchable asked him “what is the difference in the soul?” then Sankarachariyar realized the equality of the soul and hugged the untouchable with a wish. For this Sankarachariyar wrote a book named Panchadhasi.
This story also tells equality of the soul alone and there is nothing about equality of body. By this, we can understand that the difference between birth and untouchability has been agreed upon in this story. From the above-mentioned reasons we can understand how untouchability originated and existing because of Hindu religion and Hindu religious Shastras induced superstitious beliefs and blind habits. By hiding this truth-telling that “there is no space for untouchability in the Hindu religion so that we should not criticize the Hindu religion” is showing the blind belief on the Hindu religion. And it shows the thought of Brahmins that the Hindu religion has been eradicated then it will affect their honor and selfishness. We can say this only.
Vijaya Ragavachariyar told, “Thinking about the origin of untouchability and criticizing the Hindu religion is not a way to eliminate untouchability”. How venomous these words are. If we need to treat for a disease then we must need to know about its origin. Then only we can cure the disease and prevent it forever. Instead of that giving temporary medicine will not be enough. If we do like that then the disease won’t come again? Think about it. Like this, we have to find out the roots of the untouchability and treat. Then only Untouchability will be abolished fully?
So that if we think about the origin of untouchability every one can understand that it came from the Hindu religion. People who know the truth will come to the conclusion that if they want to eradicate untouchability then they must need to abolish the Hindu religion.
By understanding the benefits of Hindu religion, Brahmins started whatever they are doing in that they are preaching the Hindu religion because they know that if it’s not there then there will be no value for them. We don’t have any doubt that respected Vijaya Ragavachari belongs to the Brahmin Group and told that don’t do any research on the origin of Untouchability.
Several times we told how to abolish untouchability. So, we will see it shortly. We leave aside the orthodox group which claims ‘if Untouchability is there then only the Hindu religion will exist’. Let us see the other two types of voices to abolish untouchability. One group says that “There is no support for untouchability in the Hindu religion so that the believers of Hindu religion should be treated equally”. Another group says that there is a space for untouchability in the Hindu religion. So that only it’s getting ruined. So, we have to purify the Hindu religion by abolishing this cruelty.
But we disagree with both of them. They believe in religion and Shastras. They are trying to abolish untouchability and to bring equality with the help of the same. So, they are not willing to destroy religion and Shastras. Their faith will not become truth at any cost. Ramanujar, Chaithanyar, Guru Govind Singh, Guru Nanak, Dayanand Saraswathi, Vivekanandhar, Ramalinga Swamy believed in religion, Shastras and worked to bring equality by abolishing the untouchability. By these people is there any change that happened? Their attempts and preaching are not given any benefit because they worked based on religions and Shastras. There is no doubt that they searched support by giving philosophical explanations.
So, we conclude that unless eradicating religion and Shastras it’s impossible to abolish untouchability. Because of that, only the Self Respect movement works to eradicate religions and Shastras. In that too, with the emergence and importance to eradicate the Hindu religion and its Shastras. By eradicating the superstitious beliefs in the Hindu religion and its Shastras among so-called higher castes then only untouchables can able achieve equality. With Hinduism, one can never achieve equality. So, people who aren’t able to tolerate the cruelty of Untouchability, until eliminating the Hindu religion, they can leave Hindu religion and go for a better religion which will give equality. Our view is that there is no other alternative for those who desperately seek equality.
Translated by, R.Elaiyakumar
Comrade Periyar, Kudi Arasu – 27.03.1932