அறிஞர் அண்ணாவின் கட்டுரைகள்

Sermons are Heard
Sacrilege is Reared

Say you that there are no ‘extra-classes’—special lectures—expert talks—and the like for the benefit of students? You are terribly mistaken! We have these in plenty! Floods of them!

The lesser the influence the louder the talk!!

History can give but a glimpse of the World—past and present—the former to a greater degree than the latter! Teachers in this branch of education can and do deliver lucid lectures—but is that enough? No! Say some, in the fond belief that they are making historical pronouncements.

“Students! You are here to study—remember that!” these self-appointed instructors thunder forth; “You are the future citizens—the architects of tomorrow—the wealth in the nation’s womb—and you are not to dabble in matters other than educational and certainly should refrain from political activities in general, and pernicious political activities in particular". All and sundry are offering such a menu to the students.

Students ought to the disciplined—Parents and Teachers alike are to take particular care in this respect is the burden of the song of these sermonisers.

Beware of the Bacteria, says one!

Weed out the Virus, says another!

Root out the disease, says the third!

And all the while the students sit there with stoic calmness—wondering perhaps, why these good men are wasting their energy in fighting shadows and lamp posts as the famous Don Quixote is said to have done!!

All these good men when they talk about discipline and the like are thinking about the strange attitude shown by the students today towards the Ruling Party. Unlike Pandit Nehru who boldly confessed that the youths especially the students are today far removed from the Congress—these men scold the students in a roundabout way—and what they mean when they tell the students to be disciplined is only this—support us, rally around us, canvass votes for us, become the Drummer-boys once more!! Afraid to mouth such plain words, they beat about the bush, shed a tear or two and say, "Ah! These are bad days! Very bad days!"

Look at the lack of discipline in the student community! These children, who ought to be sitting at the feet of their masters, learning the rudiments of everything, are today shouting slogans, marching in battalions. They even demand political justice, redress of social evils, economic emancipation etc!

"Are there not elders enough and are they not energetic enough to demand Devikulam and Peermedu? Look at these teenagers marching along with placards in their hands, demanding these areas for the Tamils!

"Know we not that this State should be termed as Tamil Nadu!

"These students parade before the public, just for that. And did they succeed? No! How could they—when grown-ups like ourselves have failed!! And when we are able to bear this shame and ignominy, why not these youngsters!!" thus they seem to argue.

None of these notables, would care to or dare talk about such subjects as political morality, loyalty to principles,—certainly they would not have taken the trouble of explaining to the students, political terms such as Turn-coat—job hunting—Careerism etc. etc
These men seem to think that such knowledge can be had from anywhere—but not this one—Discipline—and it is ordained, they think, that those in office should offer this sermon—for who else can do that ? And what else can these men in power do?

Make hay while the sun shines! And they are making heaps of them!!

Not only are these Hon’bles sermonising to the students but also to the teachers!

“Your duty is to teach—in the class rooms and not to poke your nose in politics!” —say they. And why? They are told that members of the teaching profession are beginning to show an unsympathetic attitude towards those in power just because they find too much of cant and hypocrisy there. Probably they 'because of the patriotic fervour, think that the ruling party is heading towards a crash, leading the country into a crisis! And because they know, the history of the rise and fall of empires and kingdoms of parties and personalities, they regret that such a state of affairs exists here and now! And how could they keep silent when symptoms are so clear? So, they— some of them—do issue notes of warning—and most of them have lost the warmth that they once had for the ruling party.

“So it has come to that, hey!” mutter the bosses in the ruling party—“and if that is so, here take this and this and this” they add—and begin sermonising.

Many of those who are today the guiding men, in the State and Central Governments, were in their student days firebrands!! So they themselves say, when in a reminicent mood! So-and-So was a student leader—organised a College-wide Hartal—was debarred from attending the exams—was expelled from the college—was engaged in issuing cyclostyle copies of certain banned book—etc—etc.

Do we not hear stories of this sort—and were they not sold to the public and the student community, as National sweets!!
Do not mistake the calmness that you find on the face of this Hon’ble minister; beneath that there are embers. Ah! What a terror he was while in College—you don’t know!—one hears such talks.

And certainly, it was because some of the teachers, and students in greater number, evinced keen interest in live political issues that the county was able to mobilise, so much of energetic political acumen and heroic efforts.

Deploring the state of education in the State, West Bengal’s Chief Minister. Dr. Roy said that teachers should teach instead of engaging themselves in politics! Dr. B.C. Roy was himself once a part-time teacher of Medicine!! The Chief Minister of Uttar pradesh, Dr. Sampurnanand was a teacher-drafted on to polities later!! And what about the Vice-President Dr. Radhakrishnan? A teacher!!

But, now, all of them offer the sermon— "Do not take interest in polities"—and by that they mean—anti-Congress polities alone.

But, the students as well as the scholars who coach them up, can never remain stony and unsympathetic, when all around them they find so much of bungling and mal—administration. When noble principles are thrown to the winds and nefarious deeds become the order of the day, when shibboleths are put on the market for sale, and when stones are given for those who beg for the bred, how can they remain unconcerned and silent? Oh! No! It is an insult to the student community itself—to expect them to remain calm, when politics is being corrupted, policies are prostituted and unscrupulous men bathe in the blood of the poor, as it were.

Have not they been taught, when oppression assumes an ugly shape, the intelligentsia cannot remain outside the ring—allowing the people to be exploited and their hopes extinguished? When hopes are belied, love turns into hatred —and sweet was the hope that the Congress as a national organisation gave to the people, especially the youths—rosy the picture they painted about the future, and now, on finding that roaring lions have become the lap-dogs of imperialists and capitalists—the youths and particularly the students are fed up with the regime, and are raising their voice against the atrocities! How can sermons make them turn a deaf ear, to the groans of the poor and down-trodden! May be it is a minister of state who is making the pronouncement— but of what avail? When tyranny walks, naked and unabashed,the youths of any country, unless they are Nazified cannot remain idle and unconcerned. To falsify their hopes, to bungle in the handling of the country’s affairs, to unleash all the evils of a bad administration— and then to approach the students with a sermon on order and discipline, is to throw the babe out of the window, and scold it when it screams!!

The louder the sermon, the lesser becomes its effect —because the students find that this sermonising is part of the game, in which those in power are engaged—to get on the saddle, hold tightly the bridle and take to the paths of pleasure and profit.

Dr. Mohamad Hatta, ex-Vice President of the Indonesian Republic, is not sermonising like the Congress leaders here and his address to the students last week, is sparkling with truth—and we with pleasure, reproduce parts of his scholarly address—not so much for the benefit of the students, but for the benefit of those presons who are on the pulpit to offer these unsalable sermons!!

We hasten to add that we are not against discipline— nobody in his senses would advocate a lack of it—we are against the art of discipline just to hoodwink the public, and to screen away the dirty politics in which dignitaries are involved.

There ought to be discipline and we with pleasure and pardonable pride can say, that our students—of Tamil Nadu especially—do not lack this virtue and in fact they have even learnt to bear the burden which the elders have created.

Asking them to be disciplined is calling them names, and nothing short of it. But who knows not the reason why these sermons are being loaded.

The youths—and particularly the students—refuse today to munch whatever is given in the name of nationalism—they are engaged in the delightful though difficult task of defending democracy, in its purest and richest form.

And the students of Tamil Nadu, find today that there is a special mission for them and they are one with the D.M.K. in this mission
Sermons are the weakest of the weapons, in the armoury of those who want to cut asunder the bond of friendship, between the D.M.K. and the student community.

The louder the sermon, the bond of friendship and those who sermonise will learn this bitter truth by and by.

Was it not Shakespeare who wrote.

“The patient dies while the physician sleeps;
The orphan pines while the oppression feeds;
Justice is feasting while the widow weeps;
Avarice is sporting while infection breeds.”

“And sermons are heard while sacrilege is reared” he might have added.

But, the poet was not as unfortunate as we are—he was dead and gone, before such despots arose.