Self Respect - Human's Birth Right
The Modern Rationalist|September 2020
Self Respect -  Human's Birth Right
During 1927, Thanthai Periyar set out like a wild storm to spread his ideal and policy of Self-Respect all over Madras Province. His propagandist speeches in Thirunelveli and Palayamkottai etc. were briefly covered by the magazine ‘Kudi Arasu’, in its issue dated Feb 27, 1927. Excerpts from the speeches are as follows, in nutshell:
M.R. Manogar

Always Consistent

“Dear comrades and gentlemen I have been delivering speeches time and again in these regions. I have visited now to speak more or less on the same issues. But compared to those days of the past, today I find a much more enthusiastic crowd which has thronged the venue to listen to me. For a moment, I was confused it my policies have undergone any change with the passing of time. But I realise that I can always consistent in my belief and principles. I am steadfast in my policies without even an iota of change.

Before my association with Gandhi and congress I had my own firm views about many issues. They still remain unchanged. Prior to the non-cooperation movement, an exclusive Madras Presidency Association was formed to fight for the political and societal rights of the non-brahmins. I did play a vital role in it.

Representation Required

When I was associated with the Congress and had an affinity with Gandhi, our mission was achieving community-wise representations in all the spheres of the Government. Gandhi and I were uniformly on the same wave-length of principles. We had constructive objectives such as abolishing untouchability and banning the sale of liquor. Those objectives have taken deeper roots in my heart today. I believe that class struggle in our country cannot cease unless we achieve community wise and caste-based representations. Unity among various castes and communities is impossible if equal representations are not ratified. Fulfilment of constructive plans above can pave the path for self-rule (‘Swarajya’) in my opinion. Achieving equal representations and self-rule are the two major goals intertwined with every vein in my body. These two achievements alone can help our people acquire self-respect in life. No amount of physical torture can make me deter from my objective. I am soaked completely in it.

Human Chameleons

People who patronised me long ago in the issue of community-wise representations later changed their stands and exhibited different colours like chameleons. I understood their political gimmicks and hypocrisy. The betrayal of my supporters never tired me. Selfishness and ulterior motives of people in the Congress coterie merely caused disillusionment and a sense of frustration motivated elements had clashes even with Gandhi and I could not get along with any of the Congress leaders. I quit them later and started striving with my own moral courage and unflinching resolve, with my vision and mission.

The Madras Presidency Association became a coterie of brahmins. They had always opposed community-wise representations. Even Gandhi delinked himself and chose his own ways. I realised that it does not make any sense in striving further through the Madras Presidency Association through the Congress.

Wide-Gulf in Privileges

Would the brahmins ever agree to ratify community-wise representation? Being 3 per cent of the total population, this minority group has already grabbed 97 per cent of government jobs and are enjoying all the political rights and privileges. We form the majority as 97 per cent of the population but we are offered only 3 per cent of all the privileges as if we have begged the brahmins for alms. Would they be willing to forego 97 per cent of comforts and privileges if community-wise representation is implemented? Similarly, constructive measures would never be accepted by the movements dominated by brahmins.

Brahmins derive no benefits out of handloom cloth made by hand-spun yarn. They prefer luxurious fabric woven by machines. Brahmins do not suffer from starvation, poverty or hunger. They are against manual wearing and khadi apparels.

Ulterior Motives

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September 2020