advocates of the 'status quo'—which for all practical
purpose means the present state of serfdom to North
Indian Imperialism—assume an air of unassailability,
and assert, that the South is not at all being neglected.
Finding themselves face to face with the D.M.K., these
advocates accept that the South is not being as intensely
and as rapidly industrialised as the North, but point
out that it is not because there is any 'neglect' but
because of the fact that there is a lack of essential
raw materials especially coal. Instantly they become
primary school teachers, and begin a series of explanations,
about the most elementary problems, the necessity for
obtaining coal for industrialisation, the potentialities
of power and the like. And they think that they have
had the last word on the subject.
They are not stating the whole truth, when they say
that there is a dearth of raw materials here; nor are
they correct when they point out the absence of coal
in the South. They forget and fondly hope that others
too would ignore the cardinal point, that the 'potentialities'
of a country, is the factor to be taken into consideration,
not the actualities alone. That a country having had
a glorious past, should naturally be a repository of
rich materials, is a point which even teen-agers would
like a point out.
That apart, there is another factor, and we are glad,
an industrialist with rich experience, has come forward
to present that factor.
Dealing with the scope for industrial development of
Madras, Mr. Murugappa Chettiar referred to complaints
that the South and the Madras State in particular had
been neglected in the matter of industrialisation and
said it had been argued that the absence of raw materials
and non-availability of coal within easy reach were
reasons for this. He would say this should not stand
in the way.
The Ministers of our State, especially their mouth-piece,
would mockingly ask, what do you expect us to do, when
there are no raw materials? Are we dreamers, or scenario
writers? Do you expect us to build castles in the air,
or construct card-board citadels, the same as you find
on the screen?
Mr. Murugappa Chettiar is no dreamer, not one interested
in scenario writing. He hails from the hard boiled business
community and has had first-hand knowledge about the
intricate problems connected with industrialisation.
We are sure that the Ministers dare not cast aspersions
on him at any rate. And it is this industrialist who
says this with a definiteness that should whip up even
those who are gifted with an asinine patience. Says
Mr. Chettiar, that this should not stand in our way.
And he supplements this categorical statement with arguments
which none in his senses could brush aside.
"They had the example of Japan which imported most
of their raw materials, and yet enjoyed a very coveted
position among the most industrialised nations. Such
industries as had been established in their state had
gone to prove that some of those bogies that are raised
were net a serious obstacle to the establishment and
growth of industries."
This is what Mr. Murugappa places before the Doubting
If Japan, poor in raw materials, could build up such
a roaring industry, why not the South?
But, one fact should not be forgotten. In Japan there
is a Ministry which is not being dwarfed by the domineering
powers of the Centre.
It is not because of the non-availability of raw materials,
that the South is still chained to a pastoral economy,
but chiefly because, those who are at the helm of affairs
here, are treated by the Topmen at Delhi, as richly
attired chaprasis! Power is concentrated at the Centre;
policies are being formulated from there; Delhi has
got the purse strings in its powerful hands. Here there
are Ministers, Chief and chips, who dare not question
the authority vested in the Centre. One can well understand
the pitiable predicament in which the State ministry
is placed. It has to face the hungry millions, whose
questioning eyes emit sparks of scorn!
They have to bear the brunt of attack. Safely entrenched,
those at the Centre, are saved from the fury of the
masses, for, they have this explanation to offer; 'the
States have got the direct responsibility of looking
after the welfare of the people—we are concerned with
broad questions of policy and external affairs.'
The States are being treated as the galley-slaves! Some,
at any rate, of the State ministers, are against this
attitude—but what could they do—the Constitution has
made of them, just chattels. So there is a burning rage
in them—an impotent rage. And to screen this, they trot
out a platitude—the South is not being neglected—there
is not rapid industrialisation only because there is
a dearth of raw materials.
The Ministers of our State are attempting, though unsuccessfully,
to hoodwink the public, by placing an argument, which
can emanate only from an unpatriotic mind. The public
is not gullible today, and even if there is a remote
possibility of misdirecting the public, men endowed
with expert knowledge in the field of industrialisation,
as Mr. Murugappa, are there to disprove these ministerial
Mr. A.M.M. Murugappa Chettiar, is not a 'separatist'.
We know he would shudder at the very mention of the
ideal, Dravida Nadu. But even he has to stress the need
to build up Madras State into a highly industrialised
one if they were to be counted as a force in All India
To be counted as a force in All India affairs! Brave
But how could the State become a force to be counted
in All India affairs, when there is but a farce of authority
vested in the State? How could the State attain an honoured
place, when there are any number of men ready to pounce
upon the crumbs thrown?
Ashamed naturally of the degradation, those who are
taking part in this 'farce' have no other way than to
attempt to place an untenable argument. They say, that
there is a dearth of raw materials.
But, Mr. Murugappa smashes this rhapsody and argues
congently to prove that, that could not stand in our
way! And he illustrates his point, by citing Japan.
What answer do we hear from the State Ministers—especially
from him who has taken upon himself the role of being
the Drummer boy of Delhi Imperialism?