you want compartment without lights and fans which will
not work and pipes which won't give water, you have
only to travel in the Madras-Mangalore express and the
Madras-Cochin express", stated Mr.Madhava Menon,
M.P. in the Rajya Shaba, last week—and Mr.menon fortunately
happens to be a member of the Congress party. Had it
been otherwise, those at the top and others who sit
at their feet to get the crumbs thrown from the table,
would brush aside the criticism as an exhibition of
political insanity. Mr.Menon, being a Congressman, had
the rare opportunity of ventillating a grievance, without
the risk of being snubbed.
Mr.Menon was offering his views about the railway administration,
when he passed this stricture. But this is not all—and
what makes his criticism more significant and interesting
than those expressed by others, is to be seen, in another
portion of his speech. That the trains are not kept
trim and neat and safe, is a general criticism. But,
Mr.Menon had something special to say—and that is this:-
"All rickety and dilapidated compartments were
relegated to the south."
So, Mr.Menon was not joining the chorus of criticism
levelled against the defects in the Railway administration,
but was pointing out a definite injustice, a calculated
injustice perpetrated by the Central government—he was
pointing out ,how callous is the Centre towards the
South. Possibly, Mr.Menon himself world turn round and
ask us, not to club him with the with 'Separatists!'
He might be taken to task by the top men, for this 'uncalled
for and unpatriotic' remark. But the fact is there—anybody
with his senses on the alert, is conscious of this one
fact; the South is being treated as the Cindrella! Instances
crop up in abundance in almost any field—be it the Railway,
be it heavy industry or irrigation-in any field of governmental
activity, to show and prove the step-motherly treatment
meted out to the South. Mr.Menon, it is to be carefully
noted, is not merely complaining that the compartments
in the South are rickety and dilapidated-that would
mean merely either mismanagement or paucity of funds—the
M. P. from Kerala, registers his protest against the
injustice done -Rickety and dilapidated compartments
are relegated to the South.
We are glad, Mr.Menon had boldness to say this—in spite
of his Khadi! We are glad to note that, instead of simply
munching the injustices meted out to the South, some
at any rate, rise up with a remarkable amount of boldness
to point out the injustice. And we are thankful to Mr.menon
for having rendered yeoman services towards a cause—dear
and near to us. We do not forget, that Mr.Menon is not
a 'separatist' - he swears by the 'Unity' of India!
And, because of that, the strength in his statement
attains a high quality. Mr.Menon is bearing testimony
to the fact, that the talk of the Separatists about
the step-motherly treatment meted out to the South,
is not all bunkum—there is a solid amount of truth in
The difference between ourselves, and men of Mr.menon's
persuasion is this—they point out the injustices and
demand eradication of the evils, while we, probe into
the problem, and instead of palliatives, demand a radical
and permanent cure! We demand the right of managing
our own affairs according to our tastes and talents
instead of allowing others to manage our affair.
We are certainly not trying to rope in Mr.Menon or men
of his persuasion—we are very sincerely and seriously
pointing out the 'trends!' None is able to escape the
'truth' - sad and sordid as it is—none is able to munch
the injustices-one after another they come out, some
murmuring, still others protesting, a handful issuing
warnings! The 'key' is different—and the 'timings' too,
but the burden of the song, is the same; the South is
not happy !
From time to time one comes across such statement even
state ministers express their discontent in distressing
tones; and there is a pathetic note of helplessness
in most of the replies given by the ministers on the
floor of the House.
"The Reduction in the Rebate" the Minister
for Industries in our State, states "is uncalled
for." There is almost a sort of righteous anger
in his tone when he says, "the poor Handloom Weavers
are hit hard by this." He marshalls out an amount
of courage and independence of thought when he declares,
"this Government has sent its disapproval of the
Central government's policy of cutting the Rebate ."
But finally, a sort of sheepishness gets hold of the
minister, and he mutters, "but we have got no powers;
we cannot go against the Central government's policy."
In fact, the State ministers are asked to eat the humble
pie, on almost all issues. Even such a doughty warrior
as the Finance Minister of our State reserves all his
power and agility, to pounce upon the opposition here,
but when confronted by the Centre, the problem before
him is only this, "to be or not to be"!!'
No amount of black-out, vilification and gross mis-representation,
could stem the tide. Truth marches despite a thousand
and one hurdles. Congressmen are of course enraged to
hear talks about 'separation' - but how could they suppress
their feeling of infuriation when they find, "rickety
and dilapidated compartments relegated to the South,"
It is sweet and also profitable to sing ballads about
"Bharath, one and indivisible", but to sit
in rickety compartments is neither comfortable, nor
does it enhance one's dignity—national dignity. Hence
we find, now and then, one or another of these "nationalists"
beating the muffled drums.
We are certain that no foreigner with a keen sense of
observation could fail to find out this stark reality;
they might not mention it, but they are not expected
to be immune to all sense of justice and fairplay.
Some of them too, have from time to time expressed the
fact, that the South has not progressed as much as the
North, industrially. We are sure, that some of them
would point out—if only the central government would
not mistake their intention—that the industrial development
has been lop-sided, and that the South is being neglected,
to such an extent, that there has arisen a visible difference
between the North and the South, in the economic sphere.
What the foreign observers would not express, Mr. K.Santhanam
who headed to Finance Commission has stated—of course
without forgetting that he is a Congressman!
Mr. Santhanam, has been delivering a series of discourses,
on matters of absorbing interest to the public and to
those in power. And he was, as was expected with this
problem of North versus South. But, being a Congressman,
one can't expect him to speak in that way—and hence
he spoke about the clash of interest between Nationalism
and Regionalism. Very convenient words these—Regionalism,
Linguism, Casteism and the like! They are of much assistance
to those in power—not of course for solving problem,
but for shifting, side-tracking and finding out lame
We are however glad, Mr. Santhanam, for whom this ancient
land is one and indivisible, from Kashmir right up to
Cape Comorin—is forced to take note of the fact—that
there is a clash of interest between Nationalism and
Regionalism and Mr. Santhanam deserves our thanks, for
having stated that fact; he is advocating the cause
Gone are the days when men of his mettle used to raise
their sonorous voice, against the claims of this or
that region! "Are you, so debased, as to differentiate
between one region and another?"—they used to thunder
"How silly are you, when you say that the North
is industrially developed while the South is neglected?
What if Bhakra is up in the North! It is in Bharath,
and Bharath belongs as much to you as those who saunter
on the avenues of that project. Hirakud is not certainly
near hear—but are you not proud as a Bharathi, to say
that it is as much yours! The wealth, the power, the
prosperity, which these projects produce, are going
to be a boon to you too! For if India is enriched, you
are! And whatever might be the region, wherein there
is fertility and plenty, as a son of the Soil, as a
citizen of Bharath, you ought to feel happy and proud!!"
Gone indeed are the days, when such arguments used to
be advanced by ultra-Nationalists. It was left to a
handful of those who are dubbed as separatists, to point
out the anomaly, the injustice, the economic disequilibrium.
None came forward to offer their approval and succour.
For years together the 'separatists' have been ploughing
the lonely furrow—but their patience has borne ample
fruits, for, Mr. Santhanam has condescended to recognize
the fact, explain its significance, and express his
willingness to assist that sentiment.
What are the views expressed by this ex-Lieutenant-Governor?
Devoid of course of such 'diabolical' sentiments as
'Separation', Mr. Santhanam at least should be credited
with good intentions, by those at Delhi. Says Mr. Santhanam,
"It was a fact, that economic development of the
various states had not been even." One would expect
an explanation for this uneven development; Since that
would land him in certain delicate troubles Mr. Santhanam
by-passes the issue, but forgets not to state further,
"there was a strong feeling all round that somehow
or other industries should be set up in all states".
Having stated this, Mr. Santhanam taking courage in
both hands, offers his advice too. This feeling deserves
to be respected!
This is no small gain!! All the while, leaders big and
small and even those in the 'offing' have been condemning
this legitimate, reasonable and understandable claim
for even distribution of industries, as something pernicious,
villainous, emanating from perverse minds and intended
for pernicious ends. Mr. Santhanam has now come forward
to say, 'this feeling deserves to be respected!' Our
aspiration has attained age, as it were!
Having stated that this feeling deserves to be respected,
poor Mr. Santhanam is perhaps reminded of those 'stock
argument' that he and men his camp used to advance to
pooh-pooh this feeling. Hence he has to rebut that argument
himself. There is a sort of humility in the form of
his argument, but on that account, it can't be called
ineffective. Let us hear Mr. Santhanam.
"It was true only to a small extent that increase
of wealth in any part of India accrued to the whole
people. The immediate benefit of a big irrigation project
was plenty of employment in its neighbourhood during
construction and after construction, a notable increase
in prosperity. It was so in regard to the setting up
What a revelation, and from what a reliable quarter!
Mr. Santhanam thinks that, that is not enough. He is
not satisfied with saying that the 'feeling is to be
respected.' Nor is he content with shattering the stock
argument that 'Nationalists' used to advance against
that feeling—but he wants to place the whole truth before
those at Delhi, hence he points out that this feeling
deserves not only to be respected, but also to be feared.
He is plain even to the point of becoming prophetic
when he says,
"These differences between the States and the Centre
had not come to an acute stage so far, as the same party
was in power at the Centre and in all States but one.
The conflict might take a more serious turn if three
or four State ministers belonged to different political
parties from that of the Centre"
Already, we find the Hon'ble Mr. Joseph Mundassery of
Kerala, stating that "the Union Government has
not acted properly in allocating the plan funds to Southern
States. Madras too had a similar experience. The Southern
States should make joint endeavours to secure their
legitimate share in the second plan"
Mr. Mundasseri happens to be the Education Minister
in Kerala, and we would request him to 'educate' his
partymen about this 'Joint Endeavour' as against the
unjust attitude of the Centre.
Thus we find glimpses of the dawn!
But, mind you Sir! This is not your 'separation'—those
whom we have quoted would spring up to say. We can very
well appreciate their trepidation—but we also know this—if
those who are wedded to the principle of Bharath one
and indivisible are forced by the stern call of circumstance,
to mouth so much, we and the millions who are with us,
who are convinced that this very theory of Bharath one
and indivisible, is itself a Myth, and a hoax, are we
not entitled to demand "Separation"? And is
it too much to say that those who have come forward
so far, are bound to progress further, and join the
movement that is afoot! None could say that such a thought
is too much, but many would say, suppressing their smiles,
that it is too early!
Already we hear the notes from the "Muffled Drum",
and that is no small thing. With patience, shall we
wait, till all those who are today indulging in taunts
and threats, march along the path of righteousness and
join hands with us. We need them, and they cannot escape
us! For, it is the call from a Nation—however dim disturbed
the memory is—the National call is bound to evoke the
best and the noblest in the hearts of one and all including
the Hon'ble Mr. Bhakthavatsalam, who is reported to
have made a hackneyed statement, that this demand for
separation is like "playing with fire!"
Mr. Churchill said it a thousand times—and with what
results, the police minister knows. We know that ministers
are expected to talk bravely, heroically—that is more
important today than ever before—for Delhi is keeping
a very close watch over all those who occupy the cushioned
seats, lest they fall a prey to patriotism and National
fervour! The police minister, known for his prudence,
hence, made some rattling noise—just for pleasing Delhi.
But what is uppermost in his mind, he has expressed
"these people who talk about separation have not
formulated the principle and programme in a definite
way." We are glad to hear this, and we appreciate
his position. He is infuriated just because he is ignorant—of
our principle! And he is very anxious to know about
our 'demand'. Let us not then be irritated at the outbursts,
but attempt to inform the minister, the meaning of our
mission and the significance of our demand. There is
an all round demand from diverse quarters, for an enunciation,
elucidation of the principle of Dravidasthan. Good sign
indeed, welcome sign, and let us, with redoubled vigour,
offer our sincere services to a noble cause—Liberation.