“Know you, what a grand scheme, your Arignar has given?
We were all awaiting with bated breath, about his plan!
And lo, it came! And, what do you imagine, is his plan?
Butcher stalls! Yes! He wants me to run butcher stalls
to augment the revenue! And that is, what your Arignar
has got to offer! Butcher stalls!”
Evening after evening, the finance minister regaled
his audience, with such ‘peppery’ talk.
It is natural that a finance minister of many years’
standing, should feel irritated and even offended, on
finding a section of the public bestowing their affection
on a D.M.K. man, by offering him a title, Arignar, indicative
of their affection while such a stalwart as Mr.C.Subramaniam,
is left unadorned by any such title. We strongly recommend
his case for consideration. That section of the public,
who have got affiliation with his political camp, should,
at least to soothe him, find out some title— ‘Subedar,’
would be a telling one!
But apart from this, what is the truth behind this ‘Butcher
When the D.M.K. members plead for lessening the burden
of taxation on the poor, the Congress ministers, become
furious. They assail the D.M.K. as being visionaries
and destructive critics.
“If more and more amenities are to be procured for the
people, more and more taxes should be paid by them.
How could the welfare schemes be put into force, if
there is opposition to the taxation proposals,” argues
the Finance Minister.
Answering that assault, the D.M.K., points out, through
its members at the Assembly, that a government should
raise is revenue through income-yielding undertakings.
And to indicate some of the possibilities, C.N.A., pointed
out that the State could undertake fishing industry,
dairy industry, and meat industry and such other industries.
He pointed out how, Australia, Argentina, Denmark and
a number of other countries, are getting fat with growing
incomes from such undertakings.
This has been mis-interpreted as the Butcher Scheme!
Of course that would have given some minutes of glee
to his hearers—but is that all the answer that a responsible
minister is expected to trot out? He dares not deny,
that there are countries getting huge incomes from such
undertakings! And he has not pointed out, any reason
to prove the impracticability of such schemes here.
He presents a garbled version before the public—speaks
as if the leader of the D.M.K., has asked butcher shops
to be opened and run by the ministers.
And the Finance Minister has not put forward any argument
to show, that meat industry is to be disparaged! If
the government of Madras, could produce ‘Malu’ and ‘Sudar’
and we do not know the name for their ‘Appalams’, why
not undertake meat industry?
Throwing ridicule over the suggestion, especially when
surrounded by an audience that has come to applaud,
is not a heroic affair—the lesser one’s stature, the
stronger becomes the temptation to indulge in cheap
jibes. But that apart, has the finance minister exposed
the scheme as being impracticable and unprofitable?
Once he attempted at an explanation—or rather a lame
excuse. Said this stalwart of sobriety, that those who
talk about dairy industry and meat industry, do not
know the real facts. “To run these undertakings, we
need vast, extensive lands, for grazing! Where could
these people with such plans, procure vast lands for
grazing! We need all available land for food production”.
The finance minister was applauded! Here is the sledge-hammer
attack—that has completely annihilated the opposition—declared
the loyalists of the lobby. But the finance minister’s
statement went unanswered—not because there was no answer—but
because occasion was not offered.
During the course of his speech about the Budget, C.N.A.
placed facts and figures to prove that, his scheme was
sound and workable.
“Denmark, Sir,” explained, C.N.A., “is a small country,
nearly one third in size of Tamil Nad, and yet, there
they have built up a profitable dairy and meat industry.
It is estimated that Denmark gets annually 300 crores
of rupees from this source alone. If there could be
the possibility of solving the problem of grazing land
by Denmark, is it impossible to tackle the same problem
here, in Tamil Nad, which is three times the size of
C.N.A. paused for an answer—got none. He went on,
“In Denmark, there is not room for extensive pastures
and the pastures are not of the best. Nor is the winter
mild enough to graze out of doors all through the year,
as they do in England. They (cattle) must live under
cover and be fed by hand. Cows spend most of their time
in the stable, going for air and exercise rather than
to feed. If in spite of so many impediments Denmark
is able to build up meat industry, why not Tamil Nad?”
Why not, indeed? The energetic finance minister did
not answer—nor did he pour forth scorn and ridicule,
as he is fond of doing, on the ‘thidal’.
Whenever schemes are presented by the opposition, pointed
out C.N.A., a responsible minister should not merely
brush it aside, pooh-pooh it, and pour forth ridicule—he
should first convince the House about the impracticability
of the scheme—and not content with that he should inform
the House that he has a better, more profitable scheme
on hand! Then alone, could the opposition be forced
to bow before the superior wisdom of the minister!
If instead of such a responsible method, the minister
thinks that he could pour forth scorn or ridicule, by
naming the scheme as a butcher stall, well, the opposition
would not find it difficult to retort! That is the easiest
game, anybody could afford to play.
“If not sheep, at least pigs! Why not consider a scheme
for starting pig farms Sir!”—the opposition could ask.
There will be no end—if the path of pooh-poohing is
So whenever, schemes are suggested it is upto the ministers
to point out the defects in them, and present alternative
Had they been pursuing schemes yielding incomes, the
opposition would be in a better position to point out,
the defects or good points in them. ‘Malu’ and ‘Sudar’
are the two outstanding achievements, that the minister
could now show! And what an achievement it is, is best
understood, by the significant silence that the ministers
maintain about those schemes.
C.N.A., has but suggested a meat industry—the finance
minister has been going on ridiculing it—but we ask,
in all seriousness, why not open butcher stalls!—if
you think that Malu and Sudar (Shoes and Matches) could
yield profit and prestige why under-estimate Butcher
Stalls! They certainly would yield more profit—and they
would not lower the prestige! Dignity of labour, it
need not be pointed out to the ministers, is a doctrine,
which they could not only preach but also practise.
If the finance minister is really annoyed at the suggestion,
he should come forward, to start, a more lucrative industry,
which would go to raise up prestige as well. Has he
any such scheme? Dare he draft any such plan?
In the absence of such boldness and freedom, why not
a butcher stall!—at least that!!
Mr. C.N.A. placed before the minister for consideration,
the scheme for the nationalisation of buses. What answer
did he get? None, except the scornful looks, from fleet-owners
who have entered the House, thanks to khadi and cheques!
Today, as was pointed out, the fleet-owners have become
a new class of capitalists—and the people know full
well, how they are the patron-saints of the Congress
party today. It is an open secret. We issue this challenge
to the Congress party—nationalise the bus transport
before the next general elections and capture but half
the number of seats—we bow then and leave the field
clear to your party. The public today talk openly about
the fact, that the fleet-owners finance the Congress
during elections. Of course, proofs could not be procured.
Even murders sometimes go undetected.
If the Congress party wants to disprove the charge levelled
against it, it should forthwith nationalise the bus
transport—that would bring none could dispute it—lucrative
income. That was one another suggestion made by C.N.A.
We do not know, how this would be misconstrued, by the
master propagandist. Perhaps he would go forth saying,
your Arignar wants us to become drivers and conductors.
The Congress bosses would not come forward to nationalise,
we are certain—unless the public organise a strong,
and persistent agitation for the same. The Congress
bosses would not take the risk; they pin their faith
in getting enough to finance the next elections from
fleet owners. So they would not come forward to nationalise.
To offend the fleet-owners is to lose a liberal band
of clients! But that can’t be said about goats and sheep,
and pigs and so, why not we once again suggest, that
if you are not daring enough to start big undertaking,
or nationalise the lucrative bus transport, why not
at least start a chain of butcher stalls? Try! That
would be more profitable than pouring forth scorn and
ridicule on the opposition.
(Sub-Editorial - 22-03-1959)