The Award function was arranged a grand manner in Patna, Bihar at Vidhan Parishad (State Legislative Council) Annex Hall on 9th April 2016. Thiru Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, Hon’ble speaker of Bihar Legislative Assembly presided over the function. After the introductory address, Dr.Lakshman Tamil, Director, Periyar International Conferred ‘K.Veeramani Award for Social Justice’ on Hon’ble Nitish Kumar. The honor was coupled with a cash award of Rs. 1,00,000/- The Chief Guest, Dr.K.Veeramani in whose name the Award is instituted delivered special address. Felicitation addresses were delivered by Thiru.Awadesh Narain Singh, Hon’ble Chairman, Bihar Legislative Council, Thiru.K.C.Tyagi M.P., and Secretary General of Janata Dal (United), Com.D.Raja, M.P., National Secretary of Communist Party of India, Thiru.V.Hanumantha Rao M.P., Convenor, OBC MPs’ Forum, in absentia, Dr.Mohammed Ayyub, M.L.A, President Peace Party of India and Thiru.Sanjay Kumar Singh MLC and Chief Whip – JD(U), Legislative Council. Hon’ble Nitish Kumar expressed thanks in his speech, Thiru.Ravindra Ram, representing Award Committee (Patna) welcomed all. Thiru.G.Karunanidhi, General Secretary, AIOBC compered the event and Thiru.V.Kumaresan, Secretary-External Relations, Dravidar Kazhagam proposed vote of thanks. MLAs, MLCs and eminent persons from different fields in public life attended the function in large numbers.
The Excerpts of the Speeches of the Dignitaries :
Dr. Lakshman Tamil, Director, Periyar International :
This award was instituted by the followers of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy, who are living all over the world, to honour great men and women and institutions who contributed to the cause of social justice in the world. Periyar is the boldest and most outspoken, champion of social justice of the last century. He continues to remain as one of the greatest icons of social justice movement in India.
Dr. K. Veeramani, President of Dravidar Kalagham is the torch bearer of Periyar’s rationalist ideals. Dr. Veeramani is now well over 80 years of age, dedicating his entire life to the cause of social justice and spreading the ideals of Periyar. He is a social leader of tall order. He deserves our gratitude and praise and so is this Award, named after him.
In the history of mankind there has never been so a tough task as to break social hierarchy of the caste system. The caste system has been unbreakable for the last three thousand years, from the days of Buddha to the days of Ambedkar and Periyar and still today it is alive.
Caste system is the greatest impediment for the growth and prosperity of India. It is an enemy within. In the last three thousand years all the wealth created in India has gone to enrich a few percentage of the population because of the caste system. It is the greatest scandal in the history of mankind. It is time this changes. Mr.Nitish Kumar should spearhead this change.
Mr. Nitish Kumar must be applauded for his commitment to social justice; his commitment to share equitably the nation’s wealth and opportunities among various sections of the society. He should be applauded for his commitment to create a safe, fair and equal opportunity for our daughters. For all these good reasons, The Periyar International, USA is proud to present to the Honorable Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, the 2015 K. Veeramani Award for Social Justice.
Dr. K Veeramani, President, Dravidar Kazhagam :
We are carrying the torch of Periyar. Periyar and Babasaheb Ambedkar are both sides of the same coin. What Phule had taught, what Chatrapathi Sahu had done, what Narayana Guru was doing, what the other people who were fighting for social justice, now and have been challenged very recently. The Bihar election held for the Assembly, in our perception, was not a political fight. It was more than a political fight. It was a social fight and you (Hon’ble Nitish Kumar) have come out with laurels and flying colours. We are happy to be associated with you, on this grand occasion.
Honourable Nitish ji, you are translating what Periyar had done even in 1929. Our leader, this august audience will be interested to know, Periyar, had passed a resolution in the First Self-Respect Conference of Madras Province at Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu in 1929 when most of us were not even born. Very bold and revolutionary resolutions were passed in that conference. It was for Women Empowerment. Through the implementation of Liquor Prohibition, you have empowered many women in their families.
Throughout India, Dravidar Kazhagam convened 44 conferences and 16 demonstrations and even in the capital of New Delhi to enforce the implementation of Mandal Commission recommendation. All these things bore fruit and at last in 1992, Hon’ble V.P.Singh, as Prime Minister was able to give, and only one part, the 27 per cent employment reservation for other backward classes in Central Government Services. Today Tamil Nadu holds 69 per cent reservation. In Tamil Nadu, nobody could dare to touch, whatever be the government, the 69 per cent reservation, because Social Justice is a live wire; no government will dare to touch in Tamil Nadu. The same thing should be there throughout India. In the highest judiciary not even one scheduled caste judge is there. And only two OBC Judges are there. That is the sorry, pathetic, pitiable situation. The oppressive forces which are against the dispensation of 27 per cent reservation, want to convert all the public sector services into private sector; thereby not only do they touch the economic aspect, they want to deny Social Justice too because there is no reservation in the private sector. That’s why we started a movement for the introduction of reservation system in private sector from Tamil Nadu and now it has caught up everywhere.
I am very happy to see a transformed Bihar. At the time of Assembly elections in Bihar, certain political forces levelled charges that only Jungle Raj prevailed in Bihar. And when we travelled yesterday upto Buddha Gaya through villages, I was searching for jungle raj. Where was the jungle raj? I couldn’t see any jungle, only Raj, I could see. That is your achievement. Greatest achievement Sir. Making an electoral promise on prohibition, you have implemented it meticulously. Tamil Nadu has welcomed it.
I congratulate you and once again I wish that you get many more awards. But whatever may be the awards, people have given you a very good award by your electoral victory and you have converted your electoral promises into actions that will go on. Our Best Wishes!
Hon’ble Thiru.Nitish Kumar :
I consider ‘K.Veeramani Award for Social Justice’ conferred on me as a great honour. I thank Periyar International and Dr.K.Veeramani, Chancellor of Periyar Maniammai University for the Award conferment.
I invite Dr.K.Veeramani to Bihar, frequently, carrying on with him the progressive ideals of Periyar. These progressive ideas must reach the people of Bihar.
Self-Respect Movement, the fore runner organization of Dravidar Kazhagam(DK) was founded in 1925. RSS was also founded in the same year. But the two organizations are opposing to each other ideologically. As to the extent of non compromise of RSS in respect of religious matters DK is very much committed to the cause of Social Justice. At present, Dr.K.Veeramani is leading the rationalist movement, founded by Periyar in a marvelous manner.
Dr.K.Veeramani has shared many thoughts on social justice. In Tamil Nadu, the total reservation meant for SCs/STs, MBCs and BCs remains at 69 per cent which is unique. This enhanced, of course inadequate, reservation must be made available in all the States and to all the oppressed people.
Caste system is a pernicious menace in the society and its atrocities have entered into Central University of Hyderabad, resulting in the suicide of Rohit Vemula. Reservation must be made effectively to all who are entitled to it and even if a socially oppressed person gets converted to other religion. The caste menace and its stigma continue, even after conversion. Full reservation rights must be extended to all the oppressed and religion converted people.
Besides, as pointed out by Dr.K.Veeramani, in the globalised environment the social justice must be extended to private sector, where reservation benefits have not become operative.
The prohibition laws enacted in 1915 is not equipped for the effective Prohibition Policy. So we have amended and implemented the new prohibition rules for the welfare and betterment of people especially, women folks. When anything, that is required for the welfare of the people can be made by the elected Government, why cannot reservation policy be amended and made applicable to private sector also?
The policy of Bihar Government is always welfare of its people along with the dispensation of Social Justice.
In all the issues related to Social Justice at national level, we will also involve ourselves for the joint functioning and fighting for the cause.