M.N.Roy, his life and association with Periyar with Portrayal of ideals of Dravidian Movement – nietzsche

Manabendra Nath Roy, popularly known as M.N.Roy was an Indian nationalist revolutionary and an internationally known radical activist and popular theorist. Roy was a founder of the Communist Party in both Mexico and India and was a delegate to the Communist International held in Soviet Russia.

He participated in International Communist Movement  along with Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Bukharin. Following the rise of Joseph Stalin, Roy left the mainline Communist Movement to pursue the political independence of India. He played an important role in Indian Liberation fighting along with Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose. In 1940, Roy was instrumental in the formation of the Radical Democratic Party, an organization in which he played a leading role for much of the decade of the 1940s. Roy later moved away from Marxism to become an exponent of the philosophy of Radical Humanism.

After the formation of Radical Democratic Party, Roy got introduced to the ideology of Periyar E.V.Ramasamy and acquainted with him. In fact, Roy invited Periyar to lead Radical Democratic Party. But Periyar did not accept the invitation due to his decisive commitment of his non participative role with any political party but assured of co-ordinated endeavours.

In 1941, Roy toured the then Madras Presidency and addressed several meetings with Periyar in Madras , Coimbatore and Salem. Both the leaders  possessed very high respect mutually. Roy praised the public life of Periyar  and the services rendered by him as something unprecedented in the history. Similarly Periyar praised Roy in his own words thus:

 “ M.N.Roy is an intellectual exponent of humanist philosophy. He has enormously experienced in international arena by spending major period of his youth in foreign countries. His contribution to Indian independence is unparalleled. He was a faultless fighter for the liberation of India. No other Indian leaders would have suffered and sacrificed  as to the level of M.N.Roy for India’s Liberation.”

Roy’s line was clearly different from that of the mainstream national liberation movement in India. After Independence, he concentrated more on propagating radical humanism. He was the first Vice-President of International Humanist Association formed in Amsterdam in 1952. He had personal acquaintance with Albert Einstein and other scientists. He edited many magazines like Independent India, Marxian Way, Humanist Way, International Press Correspondence, Radical Humanists etc., He wrote books on Humanism, Renaissance, Russian Revolution, Philosophical Consequence of Modern Science.

He was born on  21st March 1887 at Changripota, 24 Parganas, Bengal of British India. In 1916, he married Evelyn Trent,  a Stanford University graduate. Ellen Roy, his second wife led the  Humanist Movement founded by M.N.Roy, after his demise on 25th January 1954 at Dehra Dun.
Commemoration of 125th Birth Anniversary of M.N.Roy by Periyar Movement

To  commemorate 125th  Birthday of M.N.Roy and to celebrate Dravidian Movement Centenary Thoughts, a function was organised by The Rationalists’ Forum, Tamil Nadu, India on 21st March 2012 at Periyar Thidal, Chennai.

Dr.K.Veeramani, President, Dravidar Kazhagam, unveiled the portrait of M.N.Roy and  addressed elaborately about M.N.Roy and his association with Periyar, reminiscing the sequence of related events in Dravidian Movement, focusing  the  support  through the views of M.N.Roy for the cause of the movement.

“The inherent thirst of humanism in M.N.Roy is unequivocal. He toured different parts of the globe, dwelled in various countries associating with Community Party in its international arena. He was in close association with Lenin and rendered his service    in  Eastern Oriental University in Soviet Russia, as its Vice-Chancellor. He was unable to compromise with  the strategic approach adopted by the leaders of Communist movement. and disassociated from it. After coming back to India, he joined Indian National Congress, felt  disgusted about its approach and at last came out from its fold. He formed his own political organization viz. National Democratic Party. Ultimately he concentrated on the propaganda of Radical Humanism by forming Renaissance Movement. During 1940s, he came in contact with Periyar, impressed about the cause of  Dravidian Movement and its nature of strategic approach to achieve it.  He was amazed looking at the public life stature of Periyar .While he addressed in Chennai in 1941, under the Presidentship of Periyar, he emphatically pointed out that nationalism in South India will be meaningless without the participation of non-Brahmin population. Justice Party, which commenced the movement of non-Brahmins organizationally in 1916 which ruled the then Madras Presidency of British India. In late 1930s, the  leadership  of Justice Party was vested with Periyar. The joint endeavours attemped by Periyar and M.N.Roy were not paid due coverage in print press media which was dominated by Brahminical hegemony. The initiatives and efforts made by both the leaders were victimized by the  ‘conspiracy of silence’ an advocacy of Dr. B.R.Ambedkar. Until  M.N.Roy remained in Congress, the original Brahminical party, he was popularised in press media. Later, his contributions were masked. All such historical and ideological journey of M.N.Roy with Periyar must be unearthed and be made known to the current contemporaries and the posterity. The mission of Periyar and M.N.Roy on humanism is alike.

The ideological advocacy of M.N.Roy was identical with the core philosophy of Dravidian Movement. Because of that ideological convergence, the stalwart of social justice of Dravidian Movement, Muthiah Mudaliar (instrumental force through his role as Minister in the cabinet of Madras Presidency in 1930s to bring communal G.O. which facilitated employment of non-Brahmins in government jobs) became functionary at a later time in National Democratic Party founded by M.N.Roy.

The core life style of leaders like Periyar, M.N.Roy is not their mere leading in public life, the major element of ideological advocacy dominated rather than their identity with the organizations, they  had associated then and there. Periyar expressly ventilated like thus:

“Never I served as a party man, though my life stood for principles
and ideology”.

To conclude, we have to affirm ourselves to bring back afresh the ideological propaganda of M.N.Roy and the cause for which he lived for. The final phase of his life reflected uncompromising adamancy in advocacy of Radical Humanism. The commemoration of 125th  Birth Anniversary of M.N.Roy is not ceremonial. It is  recommencing the journey in the  ideological path, treaded by M.N.Roy. Let us salute the great humanist stalwart M.N.Roy!”

Prof.A.Karunanandan, Secretary of Dravidian Historical Research Centre, addressed  encovering the contributions of M.N.Roy to communist movement and the disparities in the prevalence of social environments in Europe and India for the spread of communism.

“ In European and other countries, the role of religion became dismal and its significance in the society was made exclusive, personal and distanced from the political and economic map. The contradictory social position of capitalist employer and employee was crystal clear in revolutionized industrial environment. Whereas in India, religious influence prevailed anywhere and everywhere. Industrial revolution had not taken place. The leaders who took up the cause of  labour were religious minded. The contradiction between the capitalist and labour was converted as conciliation and adjustment more in favour of the capitalists. The Congress Party in British India fabricated philosophy of communism.

The Communist leaders in British India and later in independent India strategised their movement by imitating the style of Russia. M.N.Roy was  intellectual ideologue     as well as activist in the philosophy of communism. He experienced enormously with the functional approach of Russian communist party internationally and its supportive perception about the Indian Congress leaders who were against British Imperialism. M.N.Roy also subjectively experienced with the functional style of Congress Party. Both the international and indigenous political experience   enabled  M.N.Roy to expose the faulty approach in the name of facilitating socialism, a pre phase to reach communism. The basic commitment to humanism made M.N.Roy to get released from the folds of disguised progressive forces and it resulted in his culmination as Radical Humanist. This was the final message of M.N.Roy to the mankind.”

      V.Kumaresan, General secretary of The Rationalists’ Forum welcomed the gathering with a brief note that anti-Brahminical approach of Periyar Movement is founded on humanist  approach and not with any  deliberate hatred. R.Tamil Selvan and Dravida Puratchi, functionaries of the Forum discharged their role of introduction and proposal of vote of thanks respectively. Versatile audience comprising humanists, educationists, scholars, political functionaries, cadres of Periyar Movement assembled and were attentive to the proceedings of the meeting.

Greeting Messages were received for the commemoration of 125th Birth Anniversary of M.N.Roy from the humanist fraternity. They were Dr. Lakshman Tamil of Periyar International, Texas, USA, Dr.G.Vijayam of Atheist Centre Vijayawada, Prof. Narendra Nayak of  Federation Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA),Swami Manavatavadi from Kurushetra, Haryana, R.G.Rao alias Somu of Goa Science Forum and Prof. Malathi of University of Delhi. The greeting messages were read at the function.
 

A Hundred Years of Dravidian Movement Vs A Hundred Years of ‘The Hindu’ – Prof. S.F.N. Chelliah

Close on the heels of the jubilant celebrations of the One hundred years of the Dravidian Movement, we are happy to juxtapose certain excerpts from the  ‘A Hundred Years of The Hindu’. It is a pleasant surprise to go through the dissections made in this book of the caste traditions in India. Reference to the comments of Tolstoi on the caste practices in India is something rare and very interesting. To the text now:

‘The Hindu’ in 1893 held strong views on the caste system and anticipted Mahatma Gandhi by espousing the cause of the Pariahs (untouchables who were called Harijans after Gandhiji took up their cause.) ‘The Hindu’ despaired of the Pariahs ever being able to improve their lot and supported the suggestion that they be handed over to the Christian Missionaries since they could never hope to better their condition if  they continued to remain in Hinduism. ‘The Hindu’ noted that by far the greater portion of the work of the missionaries had been always directed towards the moral and material improvement of the conditions of the lower orders. “The degraded condition of the Pariah”, it said, “and other kindred classes is notorious and the peculiarities of the Hindu social system are such that from this system no hope whatever of their amelioration can be entertained. For thousands of years the Pariahs and  others have been in their present condition and Hindus have not shown the faintest indication of their being conscious of the condition of these classes. It is assumed that the miserable lot of the Pariah is as natural to him as is to  the Brahmin his privileged and comparatively happy lot. There are not, of course, people wanting among us, even among educated Hindus, who argue that in as much as in every community in the world there are some low and some others high, there is nothing particularly discreditable to the Hindu community in the existence of a neglected and degraded class like the Pariahs. The argument will be perfectly sound if the distinction between the Pariah and the Brahmins were nothing more than the distinction between the high and low in Western countries. But there is absolutely no analogy in this respect between the two social systems. The social system of the West recognises no such standard of social position as birth. A cobbler’s son, by his attainments, moral character and wealth, can ascend to a social position as honoured and honourable as that of the Prince of Wales himself. But let the Pariah get up all the Vedas by heart, let him be ever so well behaved and wealthy, he cannot claim equality with the vilest Brahmin, the notorious expert at forgery, or the inveterate drinker in the name of civilisation. This is the peculiar evil of the Hindu caste system. The abolition of caste, indeed, will not abolish inequality of social postion, but it will or ought to introduce a less objectionable and decidedly a more healthy standard of social respectability than the accident of birth, namely, the standard of character and character alone. This standard, our caste system does not recognise and the Hindu nation having been familiar with this system during thousands of years has lost all consciousness of evil and when the action of the missionaries rouses the Hindus to a sense of its discreditable treatment of the lower castes, a feeble  attempt is made at explanation and justification and patriotism takes shelter in far-fetched and imaginary analogies”.

* * ** * ** * ** * *

Sri C.Sankaran Nair provoked a controversy in December, 1904, when he said in a speech that India “will never and ought not to be called into the councils of the Empire until we show we have fully and frankly accepted those principles of equality and brotherhood upon which the British Government is based. Those principles are utterly repugnant to the caste system as understood and practised among us.” Sankaran Nair was criticised for saying this by a reader of ‘The Hindu’ who called himself ‘plainspeaker.’

The Tamil poet Subramania Bharati came to Sankaran Nair’s rescue with a letter in which he said: “What the eminent social reformer means to say is simply this. There can be no political emancipation without the feeling of nationality.  There can be no feeling of nationality where the caste system is prevalent or rather say (as some hypercritical men want us to believe that  the caste system is prevalent in all human communities) where the Jati system is prevalent, the wonderful system which makes a Pariah philanthropist inferior to a Brahmin go-between. Is it doubted in any quarter that in England a cobbler boy with necessary merit finds the path clear to the Premiership? And is it not treason in India to believe that a Sudra (not to speak of a Panchama) with an unparalleled knowledge of Sanskrit scripture and with exceptional goodness and piety can ever aspire to the seer of Sringeri? Why will people be so wilfully blind? Why do they refuse to find any difference between a mountain and a molehill? Where is Great Britain and alas! where is India? The National Congress, I readily concede, has some of India’s best sons in its ranks and its aspirations are of the  worthiest. But does anybody seriously believe that a man who in his stony heart condemns a babe widow to perpetual misery might be worthy to be placed at the help of a rising people? Impossible.” (Bharati, who signed himself as a  member of the Madras Social Reform Association, added : “Without social reform, our political reform is a dream, a myth, for social slaves can never really understand political liberty. And until and unless our social conferences prove a success our National Congress is nothing but glare and dust.”)

Leo Tolstoy had something to say of the Indian caste system in a letter to the Madras Journal ‘Arya’ in September, 1901 which ‘The Hindu’ reproduced and commented upon in its editioial columns. Tolstoy who wrote on the duty of all civilised Indians said, “I quite agree with you that your nation cannot accept the solution of the social problems which is proposed by Europe and which is no solution at all.  A society or community kept together by force is not only in a provisory state but is a very dangerous one. The bonds that keep together such society are always in danger of being broken and the society itself is liable to experience the greatest evils.  In such a position are the European states. The only solution of the social problem for reasonable beings endowed with the capacity of love is the abolition of violence and the organisation of society based on love, mutual and reasonable principles, voluntarily accepted by all. Such a state can be attained only by the development of true religion. By the words ‘True Religion’ I mean the fundamental principles of all religions which are the consciousness of the divine essence of the human soul and respect for its manifestation – human life. Your religion is very old and very profound in its metaphysical definition of the relation of men to the spiritual all – to the atman; but I think it was maimed in its moral, i.e., practical application to life by the existence of caste.

This practical application to life, so far as I know, has been made only by Jainism, Buddhism and some of your sects such as Kabir Panchis, in which the fundamental principle is the sacredness of life and consequently the prohibition to take the life of any living being especially of men. All the evils that you experience – the famine and what is still more important the depravement of your people by factory life – will last as long as your people consent to kill their fellowmen and to be soldiers (sepoys). Parasites feed only on unclean bodies. Your people must be morally clean. I think the duty of all civilised Indians is (1) to try to destroy  all old superstitions which hide from the masses the principle of true religion, i.e., consciousness of the divine essence of human soul and respect for the life of every human being without any exception and (2) to spread them as far as possible. I think these principles are virtually if not actually contained in your ancient and profound religion and need only to be developed and cleared from the evil that covers them. I think only such a mode of action can liberate the Indians from all the evils which now beset them and will be the most efficacious means to attain the goal which you are now looking for.

‘The Hindu’ commenting said: “These words deserve our best consideration, coming as they do from one whose sincerity and earnestness, whose genuine love and sympathy for his fellowmen, whose ascetic life and great personal example have already made him a stupendous force in Europe.

* * ** * ** * ** * *

The closing period of 1916 saw the emergence of the Non-Brahmins Movement in Madras Presidency under the leadership of P.Thyagaraya Chetty, Dr.T.M.Nair and others. The movement blossomed into the JusticeParty in later days and its members briefly occupied positions of power and influence encouraged by the British Government at home and in India.

The first communication about the starting of the movement was sent to ‘The Hindu’ by its sponsors in the form of a manifesto and it was published in full but the paper was critical of the document. “It is with much pain and surprise that we have perused this document.” ‘The Hindu’ wrote, “It gives a manifestly distorted and unfair representation of many of the matters to which it makes reference. It can serve no good purpose but it is bound to create bad blood between persons belonging to the same great Indian community who have been living hitherto in perfect harmony and to whom good sense should suggest that there is nothing more suicidal at this moment and perlious to the national cause than to create causes for mutual discord and to play into the hands of the enemies of the national progress. We do not wish to open our correspondence columns to a discussion of this subject as it cannot but lead to an acrimonious controversy and as it would indirectly promote the insidious objects of  some of those who are engineering the movement.”

‘The Hindu’ on December 22, 1916, published a communication from Rao Bahadur P.Kesava Pillai of Gooty repudiating the manifesto issued on behalf of the Non-Brahmin movement… and said: “Mr.Kesava Pillai has behind him a record of public and patriotic work which is possessed by few and his repudiation of the sentiments contained in the manifesto is especially noteworthy and deserves public attention.”

The Hindu made it clear it was in sympathy with certain aspects of the Non-Brahmin movement such as the desire to advance socially, educationally and economically. What it opposed was the anti-nationalist character it had assumed. The paper wrote on September 10, 1947 : “There are certain aspects of the Non-Brahmin movement which all who favour the advancement of the  country will most heartily support. They are in the direction of social and educational progress and in securing a sufficient representation of their separate interests in any scheme of political reform. We regret to have to say that the movement was made from its start to assume a sinister aspect and to adopt an attitude of active antagonism to the Brahmin community, to the nationalist movement in the country and to the aims and objects of the Congress.”

We have already noted the cable sent to the Secretary of State for India by Mr. Thyagaraya Chetty, one of the sponsors of the Non-Brahmin movement, opposing Home Rule and supporting the stand taken by the Madras Mail and the European community in regard to Mrs. Besant’s movment.

Dr.T.M.Nair, another leading light of the movement, in a lecture in Madras opposed the grant of Home Rule at the present moment and said the demand had been made only by Mrs. Besant in 1915. The Hindu controverted this view and said the demand to Home Rule or Swaraj, or self-government had been made by the Congress long ago and quoted passages from Dadhabhai Naoroji’s address at the Callcutta session of the Congress in 1906 to prove this point. Dr. Nair’s statement led to a controversy and many letters appear in ‘The Hindu’ on the subject.

That Dr.Nair was already in official favour and would not do anything to blast his political prospects was clear when he was nominated to the Madras City council although he was defeated in the election to that body from the Triplicane division. While recognising that Dr.Nair’s nomination can be sustained on the principle on which the power to make it depended. “Much as we would like Dr.Nair to employ his talents as a member of the Corporation, it is to be regretted that he should have availed himself of the back door of nomination  instead of the open door of election. His defeat at Triplicane has not barred all chances of his entering the Corporation by means of election. There are vacancies to be filled up by election on the 10th instant in no less than five wards including the one in which Dr.Nair is a resident voter.”

When Lord Chelmsford succeeded Lord Hardings as Viceroy in 1916 ‘The Hindu’ was not very enthusiastic for as it remarked Lord Chelmsford was ‘an unknown quantity.’ But the paper misjudged the man. Lord Chelmsford went down in history as the joint author of the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms which introduced a measure of autonomy in the provinces.

In a memorandum to the Viceroy in October, 1916, nineteen elected non-offical members of the Imperial Council, who included M.A.Jinnah, V.S.Srinivasa Sastri, Bhupendranath Basu, Tej Bahadur Sapru, and Madan Mohan Malaviya pointed out that “The position of Indians in India is practically this that they have no part or share in the direction of Government of the country and are placed under the very great and galling disabilities from which the other members of the British Empire are exempted and which have reduced them to a state of utter helplessness . . . In the crisis we are not going through the Indian people have sunk domestic differences between themselves and the Government  and have faithfully and loyally stood by the Empire . . . India does not claim any reward for her loyalty but she has a right to expect that the  want of confidence on the part of the Government to which she not unnaturally ascribes her present state, should now be a thing of the past and that she should no longer occupy a position of subordination but one of comradeship.” The memorandum demanded that (1) half of the membership to Executive Councils should be Indian and the European element should be nominated from the ranks of men trained and educated in the public life of England; (2) all legislative councils should have a substantial majority of elected members; (3) the budget should be passed in the shape of money bill and India should have fiscal autonomy; (4) the Imperial Legislative Council should have power to legislate on all matters and to discuss and pass resolutions relating to all matters of Indian administration and the provincial councils should have similar powers with regard to provincial administration; (5) the Council of the Secretary of State should be abolished; (6) in any scheme of Imperial Federation India should be given through her chosen representatives  a place similar to that of the self-governing  dominions; (7) the provincial governments should be made autonomous; (8) a full measure of local self-government should be immediately granted; (9) the right to carry arms should be granted.

(Courtesy: A Hundred Years of ‘The Hindu’)

Special meeting on “Rational Thinking and Social Progress” in Washington D.C.

A special meeting on ‘Rational Thinking and Social Progress’ was jointly hosted by Greater Washington Telugu Cultural Society and Periyar International Greater Washington D.C.

The first collaborated meeting was held at Howard County Central Library meeting room, Columbia, Maryland on 26th February 2012. Amidst enthusiastic audience, Mr. Rao Linga and Jakkapudi  Mr. Subbarayudu welcomed the gathering. Dr. Arasu Chellaiah conducted the meeting in a systematic way.

Mr.Kavaneet from New Jersy presented a powerpoint talk with the audience spellbound. He traced the historical development of humanist and philosophical trends in India from ancient period till the present date. He deplored the negligence of humanistic values. Mr.Kavaneet revealed how Guru Nanak philosophy had grown in a very set way. Mr.Kavaneet pleaded to set the humanistic trends in the present day corrupt atmosphere in India.

Dr. Soma Ilangovan, the founder of Periyar International Association in a scathing criticism exposed the caste politics in India. He gave illustrations of how Periyar Ramasamy, Dr. Ambedkar and Jyothiba Phule spread the universal values cutting across the narrow trends of caste and untouchability.
Ms. Courtney Samuels, special assistant to Maryland Senator graced the meeting with her presence. The Periyar Literature was exhibited.

Mrs. Saroja Soma Ilangovan suggested to pay special attention to charity works whenever possible. Mrs. Lakshmi Rao Linga supported the move saying that they are encouraging charities and social work during gatherings.

It was suggested that more meetings should be organised with cultural programs and medical social camps. Mr. Kenneth Marasalak, humanist leader from Baltimore spoke briefly asking people to develop humanist values in India on their own without completely supplanting Western values.
(Courtesy: Website http;//innaiahn.tripod.com

of Innaiah Narisetti)
 

Secularization Of India – U.Kalanathan, National Secretary, FIRA

Religious communalism, extremism, and terrorism are spreading everywhere, with extremely dangerous forces, creating intolerable ruins of various types.  A simple record from Wikipedia exposes the present challenge facing the mankind:

 In 2007 to 2010 July (3 ½ years) religious terrorist groups have killed 18,753 people by 753 explosions and wounded 25,178 persons, the world over.  In India, during the past 10 years, 53,000 people were killed by terrorists.  More than 250 terrorist organizations are active in India.  33% (104 organizations) of them work in North-Eastern India, 37% in Jammu & Kashmir, and 30% in other states, as per Pinkerton Global Intelligence Services.  Number of terrorist organizations in different states: Assaam-36, J&K-33, Manipur-39, Meghalaya-4, Tripura-30, Punjab-12, Mizoram-2, Arunachal Pradesh-1, Left Wing-6, others-9.

    Islamic groups in Kashmir has pan-islamic agenda.  They created a network in other states.  Islamic terrorism is a global threat.  Hindu terrorism is limited in India.  After Independence, 25,230 communal and religious riots were created in India by Hindu and Islamic terrorists!  48000 tons explosives were confiscated from terrorists in India, during the last 15 years.

    India is under the grip of religious and communal terrorist cancers, which are increasing day to day due to the irresponsible lazy-fair attitude by the authorities in power!  This is the serious challenge, we, rationalists shall have to fight against in the future!

    “When we look back the history of the world, we realize that mixing up of religion and politics had resulted in great blood-shed…  In Middle Ages, the Crusades, the religious wars for more than four hundred years revealed in unmistakable terms the need for separation of religion and politics!”- Dr. Vijayam, (Secularism, page 134,  5th World Atheist Conference Souvenir.)

    He continues: “ The dawn of the Modern Age with the Renaissance and reformation in Europe brought a sea-change,  in the situation.  

The rediscovery of classical civilization resulted in renaissance and  revolution in religions bringing transformation in it.  The 100 year war, thirty-year war, the seven year war and innumerable other wars and conflicts in Europe, resulted in the realization that politics must be separated from religion.”

    History had proved that secular concept is an evolutionary inevitable social and reasonable product.

    Indian constitution declares that India is a “Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic.”  The term “Secular” was added only in 1976.  There is no particular definition to this concept anywhere in the constitution.  Therefore it was interpreted in different ways by political organizations as per their wishes and agenda.

    “Though ours is a Secular State, with few exceptions , at no level and by no government agency or by the people secularism is practiced, in our country.  On the contrary, communalism, religious extremism, religious terrorism and communal politics are corroding every aspect of our social life and  peace and harmony.  Social security, and unity are being weakened day by day.  Communal and religious organizations are working with full freedom .  Communal riots, conflicts and even widespread genocides are common in the present polity of our country.  Communal and sectarian slogans and demands are upheld by certain national political parties to exploit the emotional and religious prejudices of the common masses.  Religious practices are encouraged and promoted at the government level also against the spirit of the  Constitution of India.  Therefore, drastic measures are needed to secularise (1) Indian politics, (2) Government system, (3) educational system and the judiciary”

 - Preamble, of the draft Bill for Separation of Religion from politics by FIRA-2005.

    FIRA have already fought for the implementation of the Draft Bill, we submitted to the Central Government and conducted a Dharna before the Parliament on 18th  April 2005.  Through the Bill, we also demanded, “Eradication of antihuman and antinational features of religion, communalism and fundamentalism and religious extremism, religious terrorism and religious genocide.”

    Secularization of the culture and attitudes of the people is more important than the implementation of a Bill.  Secular values will enhance the unity and integrity of the nation.  Economic development and political stabilization are interlinked with the strength of secularism.  Social cohesion, development and security of women and their freedom are interconnected with secular values.  Family planning measures and women and child welfare projects can be implemented easily and effectively only in secular system.  Cultural and social pluralism is the essence of democracy. Secularism blossoms and flourishes in peoples democracy.  Social reformation is strengthened in secular societies!

    Information revolution will enhance secular values.  It will eradicate fissiparous tendencies.  It will resist politicization of criminals and criminalization of politics in secular society, capture of power by religious parties, as we are witnessing in some states, will not happen.

    Therefore, secularism should be a way of life of Indians.

    Developing countries are marching towards secularism.  USA, Britain, and the entire Europe except “Rome” and socialist nations such as Russia,

China, Cuba and Latin America etc have already raised the banner of secularism.  Modern science, scientific Technology with scientific outlook are constantly enhancing the spread and social approval of secular values.

    Secular-democratic socialist society is the only ideal concept for the peace, security and development of the global society, tomorrow;

    To attain this goal, Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA) shall work hard continuously among people and fight with the people by social action and legal action simultaneously.

Proposals for Future Action:

I.    Social and Legal layers:
    Organize another Parliament Dharna on April 2013, for

(a)    Approval of the Bill for Separation of religion from politics, Government system, educational system and the legal system, as suggested by Liberhan Commission and proposed by Supreme Court.

(b)    Approval of the Bill for enacting a Uniform Civil Code as per Art.44 of Indian Constitution from rationalist point of view.

(c)    Appointment of an Integrated Law commission for revision of all existing laws to update them to suit to the demands of a “Socialist Secular Democracy.”

(d)    FIRA, shall file a writ at Supreme Court on February 2013 for providing directions to the central government to implement the above demands.

(e)    District level and State level seminars to explain and propagate the above demands to be be conducted before March 2013, and National seminar be arranged at Delhi two days before the Parliament Dharna.

II.    FIRA shall educate the masses on the following demands using proper methods:

(a)    Approval of Bill for eradication of superstitions and evil customs, and untouchability by State Governments.

(b)    Appeal to the Government of India to prohibit all casteist communal and religious terrorist organizations in India.

(c)    Appeal to the Government of India to prevent inflow of foreign money, black money, and fake currency to all antisocial communal and religious terrorist organizations.

(d)    Appeal to the Governments to remove all shrines and divine structures on public places and roads as per the Supreme Court order on 29th September2009.

(e)    Appeal to the Government of India and State Governments, not to use public funds for religious purposes, keeping the spirit of Art.28 of the constitution and also to stop grants and subsidies to religious purposes.

(f)    Appeal to the Governments to discourage caste and religious marriages and promote and propagate inter-caste and inter-religious marriages to develop secular values in society.  A Bill for this purpose  has to be drafted.

(g)    Appeal to the Government of India to implement a Cultural Project for the propagation of the provisions in the Art.51A ( Duties of Citizens) and allot a corpus fund for it to inculcate secular and democratic human values among the citizens.

III.  Organizational Agenda:

(a)    Miracle exposure programs in every district for training youth workers of affiliated organizations ,and publish booklet on Miracle exposures, prepare Miracle kits for propagation.  Mobilize fund for this project.

(b)    Classes and camps for propagation of science and exposure of religions and seminars like, “ Astrology Vs Astronomy”, “Darwin Vs Creative Myths”, “Secularism Vs Communalism”, “ Uniform Civil Code  Vs Religious laws”, “Democracy Vs Religious Terrorism” etc to  be organised.

(c)    Re-organize FIRA Regional Committees.

(d)    Organize National Seminars in important cities or towns.

(e)    Create a website for FIRA .

(f)    Commence a publication unit for books and periodicals.

(g)    Adopt all means to propagate our goals by TVs, news papers, magazines, booklets, pamphlets etc.

(h)    Take legal measures for propagation and implementation of our demands on serious issues.

(i)    Prepare draft bills for

(i)      Uniform Civil Code from rationalists’ angle

(ii)        Eradication of superstitions and evil customs.

(iii)      Secularization of India.

(j)    Unite all rationalist organizations under FIRA and expand its functional base widely to meet the resources for activities – organize conventions in State capitals to unite rationalists especially in  the States where rationalist organisation  is  yet to be affiliated.

(k)    Prepare projects for social development and seek funds for it by submitting them to concerned authorities.
Conclusion:

    Remember, “Secularism is the need of the hour, and hope for the future.”  Secularism is a great practical necessity.  It is the only human way to resolve many burning problems of present India.

Let us awake and fight for the emancipation of 121 crores of citizens of India.

( Paper presented by Mr. U.Kalanathan, then Patron FIRA at VIII National Conference of FIRA  held@ Nagpur  on 11th  & 12th February 2012)
 

The Statue of Social Revolutionary – Periyar Unveiled in Andhra Pradesh V. Kumaresan

 In the parlance of public life, statue installation is a propaganda strategy and is an expression of gratitude to the leader for whom the statue is installed. There is significant difference between statue installation for a rationalist leader and idol installation by the orthodoxy. The idol installation of the admired deities by the religious sect is based on faith. Such installed deities are performed with poojas and rituals. They are being worshipped by the devotees. There is  no element of reasoning involved in such endeavours and practices.

But the statue installation for the leaders of  public significance is a symbolic icon and as an expression of gratitude to tell the public that such leaders fought  for the cause of the masses. But installation of statue for an iconoclast-rationalist assumes greater significance. Amidst a lot of criticism by the vested interests about the installation of the statue for a rationalist leader, a proper understanding is required. No explanation is required to such vested interests who have got deliberate agenda. But, the gullible masses who are likely to fall as a prey for such criticism need elaborate explanation.

In fact, installation of statues for Periyar E.V.Ramasamy commenced during the days when Periyar was alive. When his ideological followers and admirers approached him for permission to install the statute, he accepted it as a propaganda strategy of rationalist ideals, but with one condition thus: “ I do not bother about the figurative perfection of my statue. I am particular about the inscription of the rationalist ideals, at the pedestal of the statue, which I propagated in my life.”

From then onwards, Periyar statues are being installed in large numbers at places like bus stations, road junctions, highway paths, educational institutions, hospitals etc. , where the public are likely to gather. In all such statues, either one of Periyar’s rationalist quotes has been inscribed. During the installation process of  the statue of Periyar, and subsequently too, no ritual or ceremony is performed. No worshipping is done. Only respecting the statue by garlanding takes place as an expression of gratitude for all the sacrifices he had made in his public life for the well being and betterment of mankind. The installed Periyar statues remain as  icon of rationalist ideals, propagating them to the existing humans and also the posterity. The  distorted propaganda of the vested interests has to be understood in proper perspective  and their versions have  to be blasted at by the free thinkers,  rationalists, admirers of progressive thoughts and the neutral masses.

As a mark of the Globalisation of  Periyar’s rationalist ideals,  his first statue was installed at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh , India. The initiative for Periyar Statue installation was taken by Atheist Society of India, a rationalist fraternal organisation committed to the ideology of Periyar. Dr. Jayagopal, Chairman, Atheist Society of India, involved all the rationalists, activists of social justice and the statue was installed under the auspices of ‘Periyar E.V.Ramasamy Ashaya Sadhana Sangam’. With the co-operation of the leaders and functionaries of various political parties and the support of the Mayor and Corporators of Visakhapatnam  Greater Municipal Corporation, proper permission was sought  for the intallation of Periyar statue at R.K.Beach Road, a popular seaside road through which thousands of people would pass by everyday. Dr.K.Veeramani, President, Dravidar Kazhagam, the ideological disciple of Periyar was invited by the Statue Installation Committee to unveil the statue on 4th  March, 2012.

Warm reception to Dr.K.Veeramani

On the day of unveiling Periyar statue, Dr.K.Veeramani arrived  at the airport, Visakhapatnam.  The Atheist Society of India under the leadership of Dr.Jayagopal along with its cadres and Prof. Dr.G.Arjuna, representing Statue Installation Committee welcomed Dr.K.Veeramani. Ideological rationalist welcome slogans were raised by the cadres that captured the attention of the entire passengers assembled at the airport. Dr.K.Veeramani, was taken  in procession to Visakhapatnam City with a team of black shirt cadres riding in motor cycles in multitude.

Press Meet

Prior to the Periyar Statue unveiling function, a press meet was arranged wherein Dr.K.Veeramani and other members of the Statue Installation Committee addressed.

With brief introduction by Dr.K.Veeramani about Periyar Movement – its genesis, agitations led by it for social justice, the achievements attained by the consistent efforts and propaganda made – he started to answer the questions put forth from the print and electronic media .

One press reporter raised a question like thus: “Due to reservation based on caste identity in education and employment, people try to avail such benefits with caste consciousness. Caste consciousness has increased. Is it not against the ideology of caste eradication of Periyar Movement? How is it fair for Periyar Movement to stress on reservation?”

Dr.K.Veeramani replied thus:  “Reservation in education and employment is based  on  caste identity. People are being discriminated on caste identity. So compensation for centuries old discrimination has to be  necessarily  provided on  basis of caste identity. It is like removing thorn by using thorn; inoculation of germs into the human body is to arrest the spread of germ causing disease.  Due to reservation, it is not that caste consciousness has increased, but caste awareness endures. This is a transition period  of the mission of attaining equality. Only equals could be treated alike. Unequals, segregated with caste identities can not be treated alike. Treating  unequals equally will create inequalities further in the society. Once equality is attained in the society caste awareness will vanish away. Reservation for oppressed classes is a must for the current state of social conditions. Nothing contrary  prevails in the ideological path of Periyar Movement and the approach it has adopted”.

In an interview to a popular TV Channel, Dr.K.Veeramani explained that the statue proposed is the FIRST ONE  to be unveiled for Periyar in  Andhra Pradesh. No superstition is involved in statue installation. Periyar does not symbolise here as mere statue. He remains as an embodiment of rationalistic ideals for its dissemination.

Periyar Statue unveiled

Exceeding the noon hour, the statue unveiling function commenced by 1.00 p.m. Andhra Pradesh State Ministers for Tribal Welfare Hon’ble Paspuleti Bala Raju and Minister for Health Education Hon’ble Kondru Murali Mohan graced the function. Amidst overwhelming enthusiasm coupled with applause from the audience, Dr.K.Veeramani unveiled Periyar Statue. Both the Ministers of Andhra Pradesh State Government paid their respects by garlanding the statue. Subsequently many functionaries representing their organisations garlanded the statue as a mark of profound respect to Periyar E.V.Ramasamy.

Tributes to Periyar

 

After unveiling the  Periyar Statue , Dr.K.Veeramani addressed the audience thus: “ Today is the historic day in the journey of rationalist movement in the country. Atheist Society of India under the leadership of Dr.Jayagopal and the Forum Fostering the Ideals of Periyar E.V.Ramasamy (Periyar E.V.Ramasamy Ashaya Sadana Sangam) took strong initiative with sustained efforts for the installation of Periyar Statue in Visakhapatnam.  They deserve the appreciations by all the rationalistic fraternity, stalwarts of social justice and humanists. We congratulate them profusely .
By the installation of Periyar statue, the ideals of Periyar are being propagated. The statue is not worshipped and  not performed with any rituals, thereby there is no room for the practice of superstition. The statue is the icon of rationalist ideals. Today the Hon’ble State Ministers for Tribal Welfare Mr. Paspuleti  Bala Raju and Hon’ble Minister for Health Education Mr. Kondru Murali Mohan have graced the function and paid their respects to Periyar.

Periyar sacrificed his entire life for the cause of the downtrodden masses  in the society. People are being discriminated in the name of castes, as per varnashrama dharma. There exists inequality, among them. As per Dr.B.R.Ambedkar’s saying, ‘it is graded inequality’. The people in the lower rung of the society were denied education and employment in the government. In those days, for admission in Medical college and to become a medical practitioner, knowledge in Sanskrit was a must.  Who could be knowledgeable in it? Only upper caste students, who were fluent in Sanskrit got admission. Lower caste students were cunningly avoided from studying at Medical colleges. It was Justice Party, which was ruling the then Madras Presidency (including major portions of Andhra Pradesh) in 1920 removed the prerequisite  proficiency in Sanskrit for medical college admission. Periyar became the President of Justice Party which was later named as Dravidar Kazhagam. The leaders of Justice Party, Pitty Thiagarayar, Dr.C.Natesan, Dr. T.M.Nair and the then Prime Minister of Madras presidency Rama Raya Ningar alias Raja of Panagal who were pioneers of Dravidian Movement took progressive steps with struggles and sufferings to wipe out the discrimination meted out to the non-Brahmins in the society.

Periyar was the initiator for the struggles organised in early 1950s to protest against the judgment of Supreme Court which negated the reservation in educational institutions  for the oppressed section. He was instrumental for the insertion of Article 15(4) through the First Amendment in Indian Constitution to ensure reservation of backward classes in educational institutions. This had happened when Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister and Dr.B.R.Ambedkar was the Law Minister.

Periyar introduced Self-respect marriages devoid of rituals and ceremonies. Later such marriages were ratified with legal enactment. He advocated  widow remarriage and  at first he performed widow marriage in his family circle.  He blasted  all the superstitious practices in the social life. Self respect is basic trait of mankind. Periyar encouraged recognition of self  respect in every human. The influence and impact of Periyar is not only limited to Tamil Nadu, it ramifies  throughout the country and it has been assuming  global significance. Today Globalisation of  Periyar is the propaganda strategy of our rationalist fraternity. In that way, the installation of  Periyar Statue in Andhra Pradesh will facilitate further the progressive pathway in the movement.
 Release of Telugu Book about Periyar
The book titled ‘Revolution of Periyar’  and ‘ Human Monthly Calendar’ in Telugu  published by Atheist Society of India were released  by the Honourable Ministers , Government of Andhra Pradesh.

Hon’ble Minister of Tribal Welfare,

Mr. Paspuleti Bala Raju
We are happy to be a part of the unveiling function of Periyar statue. The contributions made by Periyar E.V.Ramasamy are the bedrock for the well being of the  downtrodden masses in the society. He recognised human values and  was emphasising self respect in humans. The disciple of Periyar , Dr.K.Veermani narrated the historical background of reservation right   which the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and other backward classes entitled both in education and employment . We have to go a long way in the journey of social justice. The installation of  Periyar statue is a symbolic commitment, we made to ourselves to strive further in the journey. Let Periyar’s rationalist ideals bring further progress to mankind !
Hon’ble  Minister for Health Education, Mr.Kondru Murali Mohan

It is a great honour to associate ourselves in the Periyar Statue unveiling function. Dr.K.Veeramani, President, Dravidar Kazhagam – a movement founded by Periyar E.V.Ramasami, spoke elaborately about the depressed state of social life of majority section of masses in the country.

The educational prerequisite of Sanskrit language in medical admission in those days is historical information to be borne in the minds of younger generation. We have paid tributes to Periyar. The real tribute to Periyar lies in sustaining the legal provisions that ensured compensatory discrimination through reservation system. The purpose of compensatory discrimination is to attain equality in the society. Until we reach that level, we have to ensure the rights consistently gained through struggles led by social revolutionaries like Periyar.

Dr.Jayagopal , Atheist Society of India

The long cherished dream of installing statue for Periyar had become a reality. By the installation of Periyar statue we have opened new chapters in the annals of humanism. Even though, we initiated organisationally for the installation of Periyar Statue, the process got materialised with the co-operation and support of people in different walks of life. The first Statue of Periyar is unveiled today. It is only a beginning. The process will continue. In Andhra Pradesh, at many important centers, including rural areas, Periyar statues will be installed.

Prof. Dr.G.Arjuna, Secretary of Periyar Statue Installation Committee, who played a vital and supportive role for the historical event, co-ordinate the function proceedings and proposed vote of thanks.

 Mr.Venkal Rao, the former Corporator of Visakhapatnam Greater  Municipal Corporation, Mrs. G.Sumana former M.L.A., Prof. Dr.P.Subba Rao,  Saini Narendra State  Secretary of Atheist Society of India, Prof. K.R.Subba Rao of Andhra University, Ganta Papa Rao, Uttarandhra BC Nayakulu, Paltheti Penta Rao, Rastra Dalitha Nayakulu and Mr.V.Kumaresan, General Secretary , The Rationalists’ Forum, Tamil Nadu spoke in the function.

       Any humanist movement is not disadvantaged with geographical barriers. It is not inhibited by national barrier. Language is also not a significant constraint. It exceeds all barriers to foster humanism. The mammoth gathering of people who turned up with their family members is the testimony for the rationalist outlook that prevails in Andhra Pradesh. Periyar Statue installation in Andhra Pradesh sets as a functional example for the uniqueness of rationalist movement.