அறிஞர் அண்ணாவின் கட்டுரைகள்


Pariyar E. V. Ramasami, is today behind the bars, and millions of our countrymen are pained at the very thought. He is four-score years old, and the Sessions Judge has stated, "he shivers when answering questions" —but legal luminaries would say that law will have to take its course.

It is not a new experience for Periyar— and as he has stated, it is the 'price' that he pays for the realisation of an ideal dear and near to him.

The very fact that he did not attempt at any 'defence' is enough proof to show, that he is endowed with a stout heart, and refuses to escape through loop holes.

In fact, on the eve of the day of judgement, addressing an audience at Madras, (it is reported) he stated categorically, that caste cannot be annihilated by killing some Brahmins, or burning some Agraharams.

That statement ought to have dispelled any small doubt, which the party in power had entertained about the motive behind the agitation organised by Periyar Ramasami.

But having invoked Law, the party in power, had to keep mum, and Periyar has been sentenced to six months imprisonment.

Law, having taken its course, it is now high time for the government, to take stock of the situation and act in a manner that would be conducive for the growth of a healthy political climate.

Anybody with an amount of political acumen should study the situation at ever stage.

There are certainly some who heave a sigh of relief, at the sight of Periyar behind the bars—they are men with little minds, for they know not that they are but exhibiting the jungle instinct.

There are still others who, blinded by anger, born out of prejudice and defeatism, are able to muster meanness enough to think and even say, that the sentence was not as severe as it ought to have been. Savagery in thought does not and cannot attain nobility, though attempts are made to couch it in coy terms and cunning words. No!

There are others too who think that this incident having driven the Mudukulathur affair into the back-ground, has been of some positive help too! Machiavelli has not written his 'polities' in vain! There are many, who have shaped their politics on that 'model'—and the most curious part of it is, some of them had not had even the benefit of having read the 'Prince'—it simply and naturally took possession of them.

The 'Up-country' bosses are perhaps happy in the thought that they have put down a 'rebel' and hence could snore delightfully well!

But, everyone of them forgets, that millions here, are pained at the very sight of finding such a venerable old man, confined in the prison—even after his outspoken remarks at the Madras meeting.

Call it a confession, an exposition, or explanation—he has stated categorically enough, that his intention is not violence, and he has expressed in very clear terms, that his object, the annihilation of caste, cannot be achieved by killing Brahmins or burning their abodes.

Legal luminaries may be mightily interested in sections and interpretations, but the people shape their sentiments on the explanations offered by leaders, for their actions. And Periyar's explanation, has been received with much satisfaction by all but the 'prejudiced'—and they argue, that after such an explanation, and a strong denial of any intention about violence, Periyar and his followers, should be released forthwith unconditionally.

We would urge the government to respect the wishes of the people, and release forthwith Periyar and his followers.

He has stated categorically that the 'Constitution-burning' is not to be continued - in fact it was but a token - a day's affair! He has also given an assurance as it were, that he is not intent upon inciting his followers to violence. He has gone further and stated that caste cannot be annihilated by killing Brahmins and setting fire to their abodes.

That Periyar has given expression to such sentiments, is to be welcomed and decency demands that the government should show a gesture of statesmanship by releasing Periyar along with those young men and women, who chose to defy the law, not because of wickedness, but simply because, they thought that they were contributing their mite, for a laudable object, the annihilation of caste.
If however the party in power fails to note, to take the cue, then, it would but be adding fuel to the flame. The public are bound to raise their voice of protest against the adamant policy of the government. The voice of the people may not be respected in a court of law, but their feelings are bound to have a bearing on the situation in the country.

By keeping Periyar and his followers inside the prison, the Government, is but creating a situation, which could not be termed as happy or fruitful. People are apt to think and talk, that the grand old man has been sent to prison, just because some persons of the Brahmin community, raised a hue and cry that their lives were in danger! Now, that would not result in communal concord. In fact, we charge some of the stalwarts in the Brahmin community, of gross negligence of their duty towards public zeal; they ought to have created an atmosphere of goodwill and trust, by contact, consultation, explanation - that does not mean submission to threat and intimidation as some are apt to think - but an effort superb and fruitful.

We are not mincing matters, nor is it advisable. Did not, Mr.C.Rajagopalachariar, get into contact with leaders of various and diverse political parties, to discuss the Hindi problem? Was not Periyar Ramasami there, to give his unstinted support to the move? What was the attitude shown by Periyar, on that historic occasion? He was all smiles, all affection, towards, C.R.

If, C.R. could muster together such diverse elements for a specific cause, is it beyond his ability to contact Periyar, and create a feeling of sympathy and trust? Is C.R.going to plead that it is beyond his province, or power? If he refuses to shoulder the responsibility of understanding Periyar, who else can? Aged as he is, C.R. certainly has not lost his agility - and in spite of so much of bickerings, we are sure, that they have still the highest regard for each other.

Instead of attempting such a 'Summit Talk', forces which are of an inferior variety, are let loose, and when the situation becomes ugly, then the ugliness itself is shown as a cause for either indifference or antagonism.

The awkwardness much in sight now, could be done away with, if men like C.R., along with others who are entitled to plead for the Brahmin community, or for communal concord as a whole, come forward with confidence and determination, to probe into the problem, by consultations, discussions, with Periyar, and arriving at a workable scheme of action for the annihilation of caste. For surely, none of C.R.'s eminence can argue that caste should remain—possibly it is natural that they are afraid of the jolts, the shocks, that might arise in the process of annihilation of castes - that can be avoided, if a scheme based on mutual understanding is formulated. Persons with forethought would not and should not, leave this as a sort of 'hunting ground' for the enraged and infuriateds. This is a problem, wherein, cool and clam, but sympathetic and rational thought is needed in abundance and that urgently.

This is not to be left as a problem, to be settled either by the sword or by Magisterial pronouncements. Neither are reliable and permanent solutions. Perhaps they but generate a spirit of vendetta, all around. This is not a problem at all between two communities.

Two sets of forces are unleashed - the pent up fury of the down-trodden is aflame, and vested interest is attempting to hold its own! No amount of railleries, satires, caricatures and cartoons, are going to solve the problem - in fact they but aggravate the situation. Nor could the force of the rod, put down the 'upsurge' completely.

This is a problem demanding the pooling of the good-will still in abundance, with a view to find out rational and lasting solution. It is not beyond the capacity of anyone of us; and certainly men who have shouldered heavier responsibilities should not now evade from the issue.

In the fragile frame of C.R., dwelt, a stoutness of heart, keenness of intellect, foresight, during those days, when the raging and tearing problem was, Pakistan, and he came forward to offer his services, and succeeded remarkably well. We are confident that C.R., is endowed still with that agility, sobriety and keenness. And hence, his attitude of supreme indifference or active antagonism, does credit neither to his goodself nor to the country as a whole.

He is not burdened with any office, hence he is eminently fitted to take up this task - of understanding his friend and colleague! It he refuses to work towards this end, people have got every right to come to the conclusion, that C.R., is not for the annihilation of caste.
Periyar is behind the bars, but very many others are today facing the bar of public opinion, and it is up to them to come out with flying colours, as champions of the people's cause. No better beginning could there be, than this one - all of them should demand for the release of Periyar and his followers - in as much as he has categorically denied the intentions attributed to him. And having realised the first objective - release of Periyar - there should begin a series of Round Table Conferences, for much of the heat could be converted into light, if all come together, around a table, with the intention of ending a strife.

Only by comig out of the catacombs and conclaves can we catch a glimpse of the Dawn—and we invite all those interested to join hands, for this noble task of enthroning Man, once more and permanently.

(Editorial - 22-12-1957)