Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Time to dump that mind-robber

Time to dump that mind-robber

Author: Chandrabhan Prasad
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: September 29, 2002

Southern Dalits consider Tamil Nadu the home of the anti-Brahmin movement, where non-Brahmins dislodged the upper caste from power and drove them out of the countryside. E Ramaswami Nicker Periyar is considered the ideological architect of that "great" game. But in the northern Dalits' consciousness, Periyar's stature is only next to Dr Ambedkar. It was not for nothing that Ms Mayawatiji in her earlier tenure had organised a grand "Periyar Mela" and in the process earned the displeasure of her BJP partners. This time, she is said to have ordered a huge statue of Periyar, which she has since clarified as being made for Tamil Dalits.

What a comical exercise? Tamil Dalits themselves don't install Periyar's statues but northern Dalits are going gaga. The move can only gladden the heart of an intellectually-malnourished Dalit, who has little or no fortune to know about the real character of that social conman. Nor does he have any idea of the consequences of Periyar's movement.

To begin with, certain facts need be placed. Of every 100 Dalit workers in non-Brahmin Tamil Nadu, 63.17 are landless agricultural labourers, as against 38.76 in UP's Brahmin-land. How do we explain this huge negative gap of 24.41 percentages points? Similarly, of every 100 Dalit workers in Tamil Nadu, 19.40 are cultivators as against 43.41 in UP.

The non-Brahmin movement in the south was organised in 1917 and five decades of sustained campaign catapulted the Dravida Kazhagam (DK) to power in 1967. Since then, DMK and AIADMK, both claiming a non-Brahmin legacy, have ruled Tamil Nadu. But every serious inquiry into development strategies in Tamil Nadu has lamented the pathetic response of successive governments to land reforms.

Socially, the Tamil society can be termed the ugliest in the world. On May 21, in a tiny hamlet near Tiruchi, two Dalits, Ramasamy and Murugesan, were tortured by red-hot iron rods and made to eat each other's excreta. This form of atrocity is unheard of in the Gangetic belt. In the Tamil countryside, Dalits can't even think of entering temples. In several places, roadside tea shops maintain separate tumblers for them. Barbers don't serve Dalits, either.

On the political front, the Tamil Dalits fare the worst. Many reserved panchayat seats go uncontested. Even elected Dalits have been murdered.

This is the social reality of Tamil Nadu, where for the past 35 years, Dravidian parties are in power and Brahmins are virtually absent from the countryside.

What about Periyar himself and his character? Periyar, a Nicker, a prototype of Kshatriya, just a little above Shudras, argued that Brahmins were Aryans by race and had invaded Tamil society to dominate. Was that true? In 1918, the Madras Presidency conducted a survey to find out the wealthiest citizens while preparing a voters' list. It revealed that of the 53,647 listed in the urban areas, Brahmins comprised only 20.38 per cent. And of the 2,73,036 wealthiest families in the rural areas, Brahmins comprised only 15.27 percent. In other words, over 80 per cent of Tamil wealth was in the hands of non-Brahmins. Then why was Periyar lying? When Periyar allied with the Justice Party in the 1930s, it was headed by the king of Bobbili. Periyar was organising anti-Brahmin, anti-God, anti-temple agitations in the Thajavar and Kaveri deltas, where Brahmins constituted six per cent of the population and had great influence over society.

But, in his native Erode, he continued to be a prominent member of the local temple board of trustees. While he advised Dalits to annihilate Brahmins, in his own interest, he remained a close friend of C Rajagopalachari, a Brahmin, who would often act as his defence counsel. Periyar's entire thesis was based on the Aryan conquest of Dravidians. Brahmins were described as Aryans, Sanskrit was defined as their language, Hinduism their religion and Ram as God. And all these had to be destroyed. Dr Ambedkar, in his book Who Were Shudras, rejects the Aryan race and conquest theory. Periyar had taken the Aryan route to avoid any discourse on dominance and oppression within the Dravidian social order. This trick worked, and Periyar, without targeting the Varna order and Shudra oppressiveness, got Dalit support on his side.

Glorification of Dravidian civilisation amounted to a glorification of Shudras and Tamil Dalits are now paying the price.

Periyar was a great social scamster, who plundered Dalit consciousness. He made a fix deposit of it for growth of what I call social fascism. Old Dalits bore the Periyar burden. New Dalits must dump that mind-robber.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements