promised to introduce to our readers the 'peg', who
spoke about 'North and South' on the floor of the Parliament,
and before we do that, we would like to place for the
benefit of our readers the salient facts in the speech.
(1) The Government of India has not been paying as much
attention to the South as it ought to.
(2) A steel plant is a dire necessity for the South.
(3) There are no heavy and basic industries in Madras
State though the available raw materials are rich and
Let us point out, that the demand—or—request—for a steel
plant, couched in this speech, was made, as early as
1949—and he who made this appeal, made it in the name
of the South. At that time he was not perhaps 'ashamed'
about this intimacy with the South! He did not possibly
think at that time, that to base one's politics on geography,
is unpatriotic and reactionary. He spoke for the South!
And now our readers could have the honour and pleasure
of getting introduced to this 'peg'—it was Mr. O.V.Alagesan,
a Member of Parliament, elected from the Chingleput
Constituency, who made such a fervent appeal to the
powers-that-be at Delhi, for 'justice' and fair deal
for the South.
And with what result? Were his words heeded to? Certainly!
He asked for steel and the Government of India gave
Mr. O.V.Alagesan, who paraded himself as a champion
for the South, was subsequently made a Deputy Minister!
And as a Deputy Minister with a decent salary, Mr. O.V.Alagesan
found, not steel plants before him, but silver mines!
And having seen the 'silver', this doughty warrior began
saying that to think and talk in terms of North and
South, is foolish, reactionary and unpatriotic. The
flesh being weak, we witness many a fall—and it is a
irony of fate, that often the 'fallen' are ferocious
in attacking those who dare to stand upright. That apart,
let us see, whether, besides providing a deputy ministership
for Mr. Alagesan, the Government of India took his appeal
into consideration at all.
Here is a news item that answers this question:—
The South India Iron and Hardware Merchants' Association
appealed to the Union Government to start a fourth steel
plant in South India as the iron ore deposits available
here were quite good for the purpose.
This 'appeal' was issued on the 28th of June—this year!
So the 'steel plant' is still to be born!!
And yet, these men think it fit to find fault with us
when we point out that United India is after all a device
to deprive the South of its legitimate and just claims.
Whenever the new imperialists find any one of their
camp followers express a murmur, or cough out a request,
they instantly employ all methods of persuasion, and
a Deputy Ministership is not always the bait, even a
place in some committee is enough—for, is it not prudent
to get something personally, than be pleading for a
cause and infuriating the bosses. But, all are not Alagesans!
If so, the political arena would have become by this
time, a stinking marsh, wherein only uncouth and ill-bred
creatures could thrive.
No! Undaunted by repression, misrepresentation, and
vilification, a handful of patriots stood up to say,
"Hands off the South"—and those who have succumbed
to temptations were asked to counteract the growing
influence of these patriots. They bark out their animorsity,
but find to their dismay, that day by day, more and
more people are beginning to realise that truth, that
the idea, 'India one and indivisible,' is after all
a myth propped up and maintained at a great cost.
True, all are not 'falling in line' with the D.M.K.,
in demanding, Independence; many of them are attempting
to analyse, understand the problem and some are keen
on finding out some solution other than separation.
Some of them endowed with vision and nobility of thought
refuse to employ the ludicrous logic and barbarous language
indulged in by the toadies who are in that pay of the
masters at Delhi—but appeal to our good sense, and plead
for accepting the idea even though it be a myth, for
the common good.
Mr. Ashutosh Lahiry, writing in the Amrita Bazar Patrika
(of June 22) analyses the 'Deepening crisis in Free
India,' though he pleads for maintaining United India,
has got the honesty to point out the real facts.
"Developments during the last ten years of freedom
seriously pose the question, 'Is India really a nation,
in the sense understood in the Western countries?' The
question never troubled anybody's mind, while India
was under foreign domination—it was almost unhesitatingly
taken for granted, and those who harped on the diversity
and multiplicity of India's races, languages and cultures
were dismissed as propagandists for colonial imperialism
and inevitability of foreign rule.
"The last few years of India's self-rule have however
brought this issue conspicuously to the fore, calling
for re-thinking of the Government's basic stand on unification
and solidification of India's races and cultures"
—points out. Mr. Ashutosh Lahiry.
This same point has been put forward by Mira Ben—the
much respected devotee of the Ghandhian shrine.
Ample are the lessons that could be drawn from the opinion
expressed by this noble lady on this subject, and we
propose to deal with that in our next issue.