அறிஞர் அண்ணாவின் கட்டுரைகள்

Truth — Triumphant

“Oh! These Justicites - rank reactionaries - stooges of British Imperialism” - the spit-fires in the Congress camp are fond of making such scathing remarks. In and out of season, big and small, used to pour forth such filth hoping thereby to shatter truth. They had their say and day; and even Truth seems to submit sometimes before their onslaught. But it is not so. Truth triumphs — as it is always bound to succeed.

“It was by no means, as is sometimes supposed, a thoroughly reactionary party. It was not anti-nationalist in its outlook. It was only more moderate than the Congress party and it sought to attain its goal of full responsible government through Constitutional methods.”

Dr.B.S.Baliga, curator, Madras Record office, writing on “Nationalism is S.India,” in the Independence Day Number of the “Hindu” exposes the fallacy so often indulged in by Congressmen. We are happy to note that the curator’s article is both educative and interesting and throws ample light on the otherwise dark alleys of South Indian Nationalism.

No impartial critic can ignore the part played by the Justice party - in the humble but delicate task of working a system of government with too many short-comings. They had to face, the arrogance of the Britisher and also the sneers from the Congress camp and they had to keep certain ideals before them and carry on the day-to-day administration. They were very mush in the position of those who attempt at prison reforms, themselves confined in a prison!

Passions were roused, from the Congress pulpits, and scorn and condemnation were hurled on their heads; but calmer times and cooler heads, are to be found today and the curator has come forward with the much needed explanation.

Wading through the pages and columns in the “Hindu” the Congress bosses, would be mildly surprised to find this explanation - and find to their dismay, that despite vituperation and vilification, truth is triumphant. Better late than never.

Let us hear, what the Doctor, has to say further on this matter:—
“It (Justice party) came into existence in this State towards the end of 1916 and gathered strength gradually during the Home-rule, the Non-co-operation and the khilafat. Its first pillars were P.Thyagaraya Chetty and Dr.T.M. Nair, both of whom enjoyed the confidence of large sections of Non-Brahmins. ...... ...... ...... It held several public meetings in the city and the districts and urged that in the coming reforms, communal representation by communal electorates as well as communal representation in public services, should be provided. When the Reforms of 1919 were introduced, although they were not palatable to it, it accepted office and tried to work them”.

The British plan at that stage was, to place before the country a set of reforms full of pitfalls and defects, so as to scare away one and all - and when such a situation arises, to go before the bar of public opinion and exclaim that enough talent is not coming forward to work the reforms successfully, and take a stride forward.

The Congress, of course, met this challenge in an entirely different way - it said, these “doles are not enough - give us our Birth-right.” The Justice party on the other hand took the other path of shouldering the burden and thereby prove to the world the capabilities inherent in our men.

It proved a thankless job, indeed. True, the system known as ‘Dyarchy’ was worked out in a more successful manner, compared with other provinces - but the political climate was not conducive either to the growth of constitutionalism or calmness. The political arena was hot and buzzing.

When once the Justice party realised that it had taken upon itself a thankless job, it did not shirk its responsibility of speaking out the truth.

“The Justice party, although it co-operated with the British in running the dyarchy under its leaders, the Raja of Panagal and Sir A.P.Patro, very soon began to lose faith in dyarchy.”
writes the curator.

So there was nothing dirty in the game; the Justice party attempted to meet the challenge of the Britisher, succeeded to a remarkable degree, but found out that that scheme was not enough, and forthwith announced its findings to the country.

The curator in his analytical article narrates the different stages in the history of South Indian Nationalism, and students of political history are sure to be enlightened to a great extent by this contribution. We are in fact deeply impressed by the impartiality that has althrough guided the curator. It is indeed a correct appraisal - and a much needed one - and the ‘timing’ is significant.

Perhaps it would be the duty of the new generation to analyse and re-valuate the different and seemingly contradictory phases and forces in the freedom-fight not with a view to emit enmity but with the more laudable object of understanding the different points of view. To see ‘the other side of the medal’.

Three distinct stages - or to be more correct three distinct methods - are to be found in the freedom-struggle.

The first of course - and the most thrilling certainly - is the first attempt at revolt - the heroism and self-sacrifice shown - men and women being mobilised in haste to march against the might of the alien. How reckless, many today are bound to exclaim. But those were days not of the logician, but of patriots - to do or die, perhaps do and die. And they died in numbers, and a new spirit was born from out of the ashes, around the gallows, and from inside the prisons. The first phase, had nothing to do with the later day Gandhian philosophy of Ahimsa. It was a ‘he-man’s’ way, as they termed it - blood for blood!

The next stage was the constitutional method - there was not, and there could not be, any halo around this method - in fact, there arose an odium against those who stood up and said that we could build up our salvation, bit by bit, laboriously and patiently. One step is enough for me - was the motto.

The Justice Party chose this path and was forthwith condemned as job-hunters - toadies - stooges - and the like - and the leaders of those days patiently withstood all the onslaught, planned out by cunning politicians and carried out by an infuriated mass.

The Gandhian era was the third stage - and of all the three stages, the most laudable, for this one fact - maximum advantage was reaped by the minimum of struggle and sacrifice.

Those who sponsored the first method inspired only the warriors just as the constitutionalists were able to convince only the Oxon’s and Cantab’s and not the tiller and the toiler. The Gandhians were able not only to convince the man in the street and woman in the hearth but also formulated methods of struggle, in which the masses could play a notable part.

Thus, on an analysis we could find the different stages in the struggle. Perhaps these were necessary stages too! And to get a correct picture, one has to be impartial in considering all the aspects of this problem. We are glad the curator has given a fairly correct appraisal.

As Dr. U.Krishna Rao the Speaker of our State Assembly has stated, the celebration is ‘ a day of stock - taking’ and a correct valuation cannot be arrived at unless, we are bold enough to place all the facts available for our consideration.