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
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
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
“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
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
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.