The Coming Elections
The elections are fast approaching and preparations are rapidly in the making. All that is necessary for electioneering propaganda is being cautiously prepared by individuals as well as political parties. So far as our province is concerned the elections will have its usual thunders, lightnings, effusions, vapourings and manoeuvres. In other countries at the time of the elections the contesting parties or candidates place before their electorate their qualifications and the work they turned out in the past. Personalities or sanctity of party names do not play any part, and in fact, cannot play any part also. Quibblings, interpretations and fire-eating promises do not help the candidates of other countries, as they do in our province.
The samples of such effusions and manouevres are already begun. The Swarajists of Madras who are famous for their unadulterated patriotism, their indomitable courage, their bearding the bureaucratic lion in its own den, have begun their vicious propaganda. They know full well that the cries of “Vandemataram” and “Allah-ho-Akbar” will no longer help them. Even as the Vedic hymns have lost their supernatural powers of bringing down rain at will and cursing the enemies, these two mantrams of Bharatamatha have, even before the last elections, lost their power of securing single votes. The Swarajists, who are past masters in the art of deluding the public, played their game at the head of the inevitable Mussolini of Mylapore in the name of Mr. Gandhi. It was at the last elections, that “Gandhi-ki-jai” was utilized as a successful weapon on the election field. And the years that followed were not so happy. Gandhi came to be regarded only as the name of an individual, and not a qualification for the candidates. The Swarajists by and by came to realize how the time has come to prove their past history to be nothing but a camouflage.
Now that the elections are drawing nearer, the Independents in collaboration with the Swarajists, are trying fresh attempts to succeed, not in the despised “job-hunting but in “obstructing the Government within its four walls”. Some of the erstwhile Congresswallahs are already at the game of forming a National party with no objections to office while admitting that Dyarchy is a failure and must be ended.
The Swarajist Deputy leader has already prepared the ground for “office”. Sriman Srinivasa Iyengar, inspite of his bragging patriotism is an Iyengar at heart. The history of his support to the Independent binamy ministry and his followers bid for office is fresh in the memory of his chelas who know his acclamations for what they are worth. “Job hunting” is a slogan to work the public against the Justice party. “Independence” is an election stunt in which neither the leader of the party nor his followers believe. What about the obstruction tactics of the Swarajists, their national demands, boycotts and what not? What was the result of the national demand? A grand walk out, and a grander entry into the council halls. What about the boycotts? “Simon-go back” was the cry intended for the public but the Nehru Constitution was for the Commission’s perusal.
This is the past history of the Swarajists’ fury, red in tooth and claw. They succeeded in their nefarious campaign so far but they can never do so hereafter. Their Congress is up again with the old game. Boycott of foreign cloth, prohibtion of drinks and the removal of untouchability are the three items on the Congress programme. Burning of foreign cloth has had its laudable career and at Calcutta was performed the cremation of the programme by the Mahatma himself with the dakshina of a rupee. None need be serious about the untouchability programme since the originators themselves know that it is a thing which won’t help them in their game. As for prohibition, the Chota Gandhi is up in arms against the evil. “Messages” are being manufactured from London in support of his programme. The very leader who stopped picketing of liquor shops at Madura after a few scores of volunteers had been clapped in prison and in order to appease his followers, invented the “Nagpur flag” while Jabalpore-flag fight started by Mrs. Sarojini Devi was ignored, is now seriously bent upon his prohibition programme. The readers are aware that he was likewise serious about it a few months before the last elections.
The future is yet hopeful for the Swarajist election programme. Mr. Gandhi is touring Andhra desa and the echo of his propaganda is likely to be heard in Tamilnad also. The “pussy foot” of Tiruchengode (6) is a sly cat indeed! Mr. Bajaj and the Hindi Nationalism have had their sojourn in Tamil nad. A few thousands of rupees are at their disposal. The Leader and the Secretary of the Hindi movement are those who won’t commit the folly of knowing the national language. Good election agents are they!.
All these preparations for the forthcoming elections may not stand in good stead as far as Tamil Nad is concerned. The Swarajist vandalism and the Congress hoodwinking are spent bullets, but the Swarjists brain is resourceful. “Religion in danger” is the slogan of Neo nationalism. The infidels must be impaled, the Self-respectors and the Justicites. The Pandits with their passion of Gnanasambanda (7) fresh with the blood stains of the Jains are up in arms against the infidels. The Council Swarga shall not accommodate the infidels. A few years ago, when the Endowments Act (8) was on the anvil, the Swarajists raised a hue and cry but they were then mere novices in this trade of religion. Unaided and unsupported they couldn’t succeed. Now there are pandits in plenty who are prepared to stand by them. They are now adepts in the art of fraud and camouflage. Congress, it may be argued, has nothing to do with gods and godliness. But the lawyer brain must certainly have an explanation which is not vouchsafed to the commonsensed man. “Patrotism is Godliness” is the new interpretation of Congress nationalism.
So we have the new code of Samuel Johnson, “God-head is the last resort of a scoundrel.” The Swarajists are free to go about bragging unchecked, and hoodwinking the public into the belief that the Justicites and the Self-respectors are Atheists. Gods must be saved, and the Justicites must be driven out of the Council. The people’s passion for god must be exploited and this is best done through the “gods”, “Vote for the Swarajists and save your gods” is to be the election cry hereafter. Indeed the gods on earth, the “bhoosuras” hope to attract devotees from the “Foot-born slaves”. Swaraj ki jai. But alas, the Swarajist is so blind that he can never see that there is no dearth for thinking men in the country even in the age of Swarajism.
– Revolt, 24 April 1929