Ansari : Professor! What is your opinion about the proposal
of the Tamilnad Government, for encouraging inter-caste
Doctor Damu : Oh! That! That is just to cajole Periyar
I think ...
Prof. Pandu : Why do you jump to conclusions Doctor!
Is it to cajole Periyar that this scheme of encouragement
is adopted? It is most unfair, uncharitable, I should
say. Why do you think that eminent men other than Periyar
are not interested in inter-caste marriages. What about
Rajaji? Did Rajaji frown or fret when his daughter married
Mahatma's son..... and is not Rajaji today being almost
nursed by Kalki Sadasivam whose marriage came as a bomb-shell
to the orthodox section of society. Let us be fair to
the Government; its intention is to encourage an idea,
advocate a cause, further a reform - not to cajole anybody.
Doctor Damu : I was not making any serious stricture,
Professor! I was but placing before you what the ordinary
people might say....
Prof. Pandu : Even they, Professor, do not now defend
the caste system ...! They too accept the fact that
it is outmodee. None today advocates perpetuation of
the caste system. There is only a difference of opinion
about the method to be adopted, the speed and the like.
About the necessity for the annihilation of caste, all
are almost agreed.
Advocate Ansari : But prominent leaders of the Congress
Party do not come forward to boldly speak against caste
Prof. Pandu : Some of them do that, Mr.Ansari. I have
read somewhere a striking passage attributed to Mr.Asok
Mehta .... A bold statement too I should say. Mr. Mehta
has stated thus: "Let us make a quick job of ending
our caste system, our caste surnames, our caste occupational
structure, our caste practises, rites and rituals. Already
these are showing sigh of going as sociological studies
of many of our villages indicate. There is a discernible
mobility among our rural folk towards non-caste and
non-traditional occupations although the great majority
of them still follow the traditional pattern. Let us
put an end to this quickly." That was what Mr.Asok
Advocate Ansari : A brilliant talk I should say ....
and where was the discourse delivered Professor?
Prof. Pandu : At the Dr.Ambedkar Institute of Social
Doctor Damu : Oh! That explains the talk. It was exactly
because Mr.Mehta was before the Dr.Ambedkar institute,
such a radical speech was made. Dr.Ambedkar was the
pioneer in that field - a revolutionary... almost alone
he started the crusade against the caste system, and
has won remakable success. And so what Mr.Mehta spoke
was best fitted for the occasion and place ... None
could talk otherwise while addressing an institute bearing
the name of that noble soul...
Prof. Pandu : Sir, I admit there is much truth in your
reading ... Most of our leaders attempt only to make
their speech palatable to the audience they meet ...
not robust sincerity or zeal makes them talk radicalism
or any other 'ism'. You know the old saying, when in
Rome do as the Romans do. That seems to be their motto.
When addressing the Dr.Ambedkar institute they become
crusaders against the caste system, when in an Yagasala,
they wax eloquent about the ancient modes and moods...
Doctor Damu : That is their attitude, Sir, and that
is the reason why the practical results are so poor
Prof. Pandu : I am one with you Doctor? in that, When
in Trombay our leaders rise sky high in extolling modern
science, and when in the company of Astrologers or Sadhus,
they become all-enthusiastic about our ancient heritage
Advocate Ansari : And how is it we do not hear much
about Mr.Nanda of Sadhu Samajam fame ....
Doctor Damu : He has become frustrated I think; eminent
men when out of office suddenly become small and silent....
Prof. Pandu : Sir! It is all our fault. We do not correctly
measure eminence. You cannot get the correct measurement
of a statue, if you measure the pedestal too and add
it up. Eminence due to high office is an illusion in
most of the cases. About Mr.Nanda, though there seems
to be a lull in his activities, I found sometime ago
that he has announced his intention to start a new organisation
for reforming society and rejuvenating the Congress..
Advocate Ansari : Whoever prevents Mr.Nanda to utilise
the Congress itself for that purpose.
Doctor Damu : For that, Mr.Ansari, he should have robust
faith and optimism about the future of the Congress
party. Mr.Kamaraj exhibits that mood. Some days ago
he has declared that defeat and difficulty cannot destroy
the Congress party.
Pro. Pandu : But, whoever desires that the Congress
should be destroyed. I don't think leaders of other
political parties are of that opinion. They only want
that the Congress should be cut to size... and that
has been done. None wants the party to be destroyed...
at any rate none outside the Congress party...
Advocate Ansari : ..... which mean Professor, that some
inside the Congress want that party to be destroyed
... finished once and for all.....
Prof. Pandu : None in his senses would say so Mr.Ansari,
so bluntly. But if you carefully read the recent speeches
of the Big Boss of Bombay, Mr.Patil you will find that
there is a growing opinion in the Congress camp that
there is no future for the party unless it forges an
alliance or front with like-minded parties. Mr.Patil
issued almost a warning .... looked at from another
angle it was a sort of wooing .... all these go to show
that some of those in the Congress are not at all hopeful
about the future of the Congress.
Doctor Damu : Because of this we find now lack of unanimity
of opinion on vital issues. For instance there are Congressmen
who want to be just and soft towards the Princes, while
V.I.P.s like Mr.Chavan openly state that privy purses
to the princes, is barbarism in a new attire....
Advocate Ansari : And what would they of the princely
Prof. Pandu : Think, Sir! Some of the feudal chiefs
are powerful enough to make or mar the political set
up in their spheres of influence. There are I think
more princes in the Congress party than in the Swatanthra
or the rightist parties....
Advocate Ansari : Should not the Congress realise that
the entry of princes and plutocrats into the Congress
fold is but a negation of democracy itself.......
Prof. Pandu : Perhaps Sir, the Congress bosses might
turn round and say, that since elections have become
costly, purse has become a necessity and who but the
princes and plutocrats do have a big and bulky purse
Doctor Damu : That is not political ethics, Professor!
Prof. Pandu : And who is there today to preach about
political ethics to these people. The Mahatma has gone...
Advocate Ansari : Gone? Professor! bit by Bit we are
getting news about that fatal day when the Mahatma was
shot down dead.... and a genuine apprehension is slowly
arising, that the Mahatma was allowed to be shot down....
Prof. Pandu : If that were to be established Mr.Ansari,
then it would become a blot of the worst type.... none
in the world will have the least respect for our country
in general and Congressmen in particular....
Advocate Ansari : But cannot the Congress leaders correct
the mind of those in the party.... even if they be princes
or plutocrats...." Don't be avaricious, power-mad,
do not hunt after permits and licenses, do not indulge
in smuggling, black-marketing and antisocial deeds..."
Prof. Pandu : And Mr.Ansari, you expect that such a
sermon will have effect! You seem to be over-optimistic....
Do you know what these patrons of the Congress party
will do, if such 'prohibitions' are introduced... I
am reminded of a funny anecdote. Sir! An young man with
a broad smile, heavy purse, and loose morals, picked
up a damsel for an evening drive. The car was brand
new.... with many embellishments.... and she got in
... That young man whistled merrily and from time to
time gave his smiles and winks, ....! Well, the damsel
realised the truth.... and so said, 'Before we drive
any further, Mr.So an So, I want you to understand that
I don't first, so don't try to hold my hand or try to
kiss me. Is that clear?' And having issued this warning
the damsel asked,'Well, now that is settled. Where shall
we go.' "Home" came the answer from that young
man. Where else!! The moment, Sir, there is sermonising
in the Congress camp, these patrons would 'walk out'.
Doctor Damu : Money after all is most alluring ....
very very difficult to resist its charm ..... its temptation.....
Prof. Pandu : In ancient Sparta, Doctor, they thought
that they should make money heavy and less attractive
and so minted their coins in iron... the glitter of
the gold, the sparkling of the diamond, the radiance
of the gems are of course alluring, but to know the
reality about money... its baneful effects, you should
read, O' Henry....
Advocate Ansari : O' Henry was a story teller.... not
Prof. Pandu : And that was exactly why, he presented
the dry economic theory in a sweet story and made people
realise the truth about money.
Doctor Damu : Professor! Why not you just give a gist
of the story.
Prof. Pandu : Gist, Sir? O' Henry did not write volumes
about that subject; just a short simple but sweet piece...
'Tale of a Tainted Tenner' is the title of this brilliant
Doctor Damu : Can you not Professor, give us a short
summary of that story....
Prof. Pandu : Well, it is in the form of a talk - by
the ten dollar note - its journey from one place to
another, the company it found for itself from time to
time; the uses to which it was put to .... a fine narration.
Advocate Ansari : Professor! May I request you to lend
O' Henry .... just for this night......
Prof. Pandu : Of course, if you are desirous of reading
O'Henry. But the proper thing to do is to purchase a
copy for yourself. O'Henry would be a delightful companion.....
I would be glad to accompany you to the book seller
this very moment.... I too have to be there ..... having
ordered a Pearl Buck Volume.
Doctor Damu : Let us then move along.... the breeze
(Home Rule - 23-7-1967)