அறிஞர் அண்ணாவின் கட்டுரைகள்


When on the floor of the assembly it was pointed out, on behalf of the D.M.K., "that there are thousands of young men and women in Tamil Nad, who, for the sake of what they sincerely feel an ideal dear to them, would brave any new legislation and court the consequences" some of the ministers had nothing but their blank look as an answer.

They tried to delude themselves by hugging at a comfortable sentiment. They perhaps thought that, the D.M.K., was attempting at a piece of rhetoric, when its spokesman warned the government that by their hasty and ill-advised measures they are but worsening the situation. Possibly they, in their heart of hearts, thought that they had only to show their mailed fist—administer some hard knocks to floor anybody. It is also possible that they were led to believe that the moment a new act comes into force, all the mobilised and marshalled out opposition would simply melt away.

That they were committing a grave error—that of wishful thinking—is now proved beyond doubt, for, thousands of young men and women have defied the law and are cheerfully courting the consequences—however hard and bitter they might be.

"We have the means at our command", the ministers might argue, "to deal with Law-breakers." But the strength of a government rests, not on its power to put down lawlessness, but in its ability in making lawlessness unnecessary—prudence is no mean virtue, especially during trying times, when we have to face problems bristling with complexities. It is easy to take the 'big stick'—but it is far more essential, though hard, to use the head and the heart. The 'fist' is the easiest of weapons—but that settles nothing, in fact, it creates new problems.

The State Government has passed a legislation to safeguard 'National Honour'—and what is the spectacle presented? No sooner than the ink is dry than thousands throughout Tamil Nad, defy it!

And would this state a affairs enhance the dignity and status of the party in power? Could they expect the world to pat them on the back, for the boldness and quickness with which they were able to deal with the problem? What has happened, can never be termed as a feather on their cap! And, to present a list of Law-breakers, and a recital of the punishment meted out, is no credit. It will only go to show that there is in the state of Madras a political climate, which makes it possible for the otherwise law-abiding citizens to defy the law in their thousands. And it is mainly the responsibility of the Ruling party, to crate and keep up a healthy political climate. That the party in power has woefully failed, in this, is what all the magisterial pronouncements—9 months R.I., 6 months R.I.—and the like go to prove.

Lawlessness is never and in no place an accepted tenet of any individual or political party. And certainly lawlessness on a large scale cannot be engineered all on a sudden. There can be no such eruption, in any civilised society.

Lawlessness is never encouraged by any political party unless it is driven to the wall, by the ruling clan. And this has also to be understood, no political party could mobilise thousands of youths to defy law, braving the consequences, on a flimsy ground or as a costly sort of hobby. No! Movements are never built up in that way. Only when honest attempts, civil petitions, sincere appeals, fail to get a response from the ruling junta, would any political party launch out what the Congress party used to term as 'direct action'. And when that stage has arrived, the mere fact, that their deeds would be dubbed as lawlessness could not, and would not deter, men and women with determination to launch a scheme of action for the realisation of their objective.

The Leader of the D.K., did not spring a surprise—he would be the last person to do that—he placed all the cards on the table—has been dinning into the ears of those at the helm of affairs his 'thesis'—and the point, raised on the floor of the assembly and reiterated here, is this, his thesis is not one that could be ignored or brushed aside—and this thesis has got for its background intensive propaganda and spadework spread over a period of more than two decades—and some at least—in fact many—of those who are in the Congress, Communist or other ranks, today were at one time or another, actually encouraging, assisting and serving the cause. And that cause is, the annihilation of caste, and the reconstruction of society on a rational basis.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru could afford to assume an attitude of supreme indifference or pass sweeping statements—he happens to be in an unassailable position—but we would respectfully submit, that, that is not the correct way of approach. There are certain stock phrases, Pandit Nehru seems to be very fond of them—"Childish nonsense", "Tribal idea", "Barbarity" "Savagery", "Foolishness", and the like—but to rely for ever on these stinging and stinking phrases, is not statesmanship. But we console ourselves with this thought—perhaps the great Pandit has got no time to spend over such "small" matters. But it is the duty of the Government of Madras, to present the situation in as clear a manner as is necessary. But no, while Pandit Nehru has got only some stinking phrases to administer, those at the helm of affairs here have nothing but vacillation till the eleventh hour and vindictiveness on the twelfth.

But, it can be argued, one cannot achieve the ideal, the annihilation of caste, by burning and bullying. True! But may we turn round and ask the party in power and Pandit Nehru, how is it possible to put down the urge for that ideal by putting some thousands of youths inside the jail? That would be only fanning the flame!

Had those in power taken note of the reality of the situation and attempted to work towards the ideal, which theoretically at any rate has been accepted by the progressive section in this country, much of the rancour could have been avoided. But that requires a spirit of understanding the other point of view, a vision, nobility of mind, an accommodating spirit—but Pandit Nehru unfortunately reserves all these noble ideals for the export trade—when here, Pandit Nehru and those who model themselves after him, are impatient, get themselves infuriated and have nothing but contempt for the other man's point of view. And this is exactly because of this one fact—that are in the possession of unrivalled power, they are entrenched in positions of vantage, and so long as there is no challenge to that—in the true democratic sense—they are bound to be aggressive in their attitude, unyielding, and would not shudder to use even ugly and unbecoming methods to put down opposition. It is this thought that was the foremost reason why the D.M.K. attempted to challenge the party in power, on the Parliamentary front—but alas, the motive was misunderstood, and the D.M.K. was left to meet out the combined strength of the Congress and the D.K., in this State. But that is by the way—the main problem that we would like to stress is this, unchecked political power has gone into their heads, and they are out hunting with a gusto.

Those at the helm of affairs think that because the methods adopted by the D.K., are not such as to evoke public sympathy or support, they could without any fear of being condemned or criticised, pounce upon thousands of young men and women and lock them up. The methods adopted cannot evoke the sympathy or support of the public—true—but would the leaders of the party in power argue, that the public would evince no interest at all, exhibit no sympathy whatsoever, when they do find batch after batch of young men who till yesterday were law-abiding, marching towards the prison gates?

They in power today, are by their aggressiveness creating that atmosphere—public sympathy and support—which the methods adopted by the D.K., failed to evoke.

But let us hasten to point out, that these 'burnings' are not adopted the by the D.K., as methods for the realisation of the ideal—but as only a 'shock-treatment', just to make the party in power, wake up and be doing, what is necessary for the realisation of an ideal—for which they also have shown sympathy—at any rate lip-sympathy.

By no stretch of the imagination could those exalted, personages now in power, argue, that a leader four-score years old, would consider it a hobby to take to the method of fire and the sword!

But, let us concede for the sake of argument that the party in power are out, out-beating the Britisher, just for the sake of putting down lawlessness and extreme sort of actions. What was their attitude when the D.K. was presenting arguments for the annihilation of caste, in cool and calm atmosphere? Did those in power, evince any sympathy? Did they show any encouragement? No! Or, could they even now point out that they are amenable to points presented in a moderate, considerate way? Certainly not! When 'submission' is the method adopted by the other side, those in power adopt a policy of indifference—and when measures calculated to wake them up are adopted, the party in power dashes forward with the 'big stick'. And where is to be found the solution? What is the way out? We say, even at the cost of being misinterpreted, that the only way of meeting out the situation, is to challenge them on the democratic front—to correct their arrogance born out of unchallenged power—and that, that could be attempted at with some amount of success, is proved beyond doubt, by the achievement—small though it be—of the D.M.K. faced as it was with the combined strength of the D.K. and the Congress.

But that is a long-range policy—and a tedious one at that. The D.K., would not be in a position to think calmly about this aspect now—but we are sure and certain, that in the not very distant future they would be convinced of this. But now, it is the party in power which should come forward with an explanation. Is their method of aggressiveness going to solve anything? Have they not, by passing a piece of new legislation, opened only the 'Pandora's Box'? Are they going to persist in this path of vindictiveness—and what do they expect out of this?

Let the party in power correct its attitude—come forward with statesmanship. The problem cannot be decided at the courts—but only at a chamber of good-will and understanding.

And any party in power should have not only its police force always on the alert, but also good-will and understanding in abundance—if that party is desirous of earning the respect of all the thinking section of society—and more than that, of posterity. A mere accidental combination of Khadi and Khaki, is no answer for the malady afflicting the public today. It needs statesmanship, not sabre-rattling. But, alas we are but harping upon principles held in very high esteem, by democrats, but those to whom we address ourselves, are so puffed up with power, that they have become deaf to all decent appeals. May the spectacle that they have seen this week, at least make them understand that the way of the wise, is not that of wobbling for sometime and war mongering as a last resort, but a careful appraisal, a correct approach, a sympathetic attitude, and above all a statesmanship.

(Editoria1 - 01-12-1957)