அறிஞர் அண்ணாவின் கட்டுரைகள்


"If 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 their statement.

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 excuses.

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 of Regionalism.

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 forth!

"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 of industries."

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.

(Editorial - 02-03-1958)