Our duty today – Periyar E.V. Ramasamy

(An Explanatory Note: Periyar says Brahmin domination and exploitation ensues from two factors : One they rule the minds of the people by propagating ideas of god, religion and scriptures that assign them a privileged position in society. Secondy, they have undue hold on the executive, the judiciary and the administration by denying others their due share in those branches. Periyar fought on both those fronts. K.Kamaraj, who was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu between 1954 and 1963 remained non-committal regarding the first issue. But regarding the second one, he followed a firm course that helped to uplift the historically disadvantaged and the servile classes. He gave them education and employment. So Periyar appealed to his followers to support Kamaraj's government wholeheartedly.)

The harm done by Brahmins in our country is something found no where else in the world. The harm arises out of one's birth in a (lower) caste. The pain and suffering the Tamil society undergoes is like that of a consumptive being affected, in addition, by leprosy and cancer.

The suffering we undergo is due to our allowing the British rulers to quit the country without making proper arrangements (safeguards). In this ‘so-called’ independent land, we do not have the (beneficial) life that we had when we were not free. Let me give a suitable example to explain the difference between the free life under the British rule and the nature of life under the Brahmin rule. The owner of a company has two groups of animals. One set of animals are harmless, they do not injure or kill others. The other group of animals are ferocious, and carnivorous. The proprietor of the circus company keeps them apart locking them in separate cases. But members of the Association of Compassion agitate against the animals being locked up. They compel the owner to hand over the keys and go away. The agitators unlock the cages and allow the different kinds of animals to roam freely. As a result, the elephants, horses, goats, cows etc. have become prey to lions, tigers, leopards, wolves, fox etc. The welfare that we experienced as subjugated citizens of the alien rulers could not be experienced now as free citizens under the Brahmin rule. We still remain servile subjects.

The Tamils cannot understand the foolishness, indignity, and the shamefulness of their servile condition They are so 'seasoned' as not to be ashamed and be pained (of their fallen status). Being so conditioned, they think living by grabbing the crumbs thrown away makes life more comfortable than living by their own labour as dignified citizens.

(By their own claim) the Brahmins belong to a different (Aryan) race. In Tamil Nadu they form three percent of the population. Tamils (Dravi-dians)  are the natives of this land. They constitute 97 per cent. It is only natural and just that Tamils should have a hold over others. But those who constitute 97 percent of the population are treated by the other three per cent as servile and undignified people by birth, that too for several centuries together! What is the reason? They are caught in the coils of the very small minority's cunning device (of varna-Jaathi, caste system), and consider many among their own people as of low birth and treat them as such.

Though a very small minority, the alien Brahmins (Paarpanar) have disciplined racial affinity and are serious about retaining their superior status and comfortable living. By daringly doing even improper deeds and by adopting the four devices they have in their favour god, religion, scripture and the government – the executive, judiciary and administration. So they are able to tackle any kind of opposition and safeguard their superior position and comfortable living. (Translator's note: The four devices of overcoming the adversaries are:

(1) Saama, friendly attempt,

(2) Beda, creating division,

(3) Dhaana, material inducement,

(4) Dhanda punishment.)

 Though a few among this 97 percent of the population are aware of this low status (of the Tamils), they are slaves in the fields mentioned above, and have no unity among them. So the Brahmin domination continues. Those few who come forward to change this condition have to work, till their last breath, (1) for the eradication of the ideas about god, religion and scripture (that sanctify Brahmin superiority and division of society on the basis of caste), and  (2) for gaining power in government (executive, judiciary and administration).

Without accomplishing these two tasks, our attempts to change our indignity and low condition will only strengthen and benefit our foes who are enjoying superior status and comfortable life. Regarding our task of abolishing the prevailing ideas on god, religion and scripture, and getting rid of the government (rule) that protects them, our movement (Dravidar Kazhagam) is now mainly engaged in abolishing the ideas and beliefs. Regarding government, Tamil Nadu is now under Kamaraj's rule. We not only think it unnecessary to get rid of his rule, but also consider it necessary to safeguard the same from being toppled by Brahmins. Not only the members of our movement but also all the Tamils should understand this situation.

When I express this opinion, Tamil people may consider it strange, and may also be dissatisfied. The ideas on god, religion and scripture are formed by the Brahmins to serve their interests. The government is also under their authority (influence). That being so, the people may think, why should we spare the government. They may wonder why I take such a stand?

 I want to explain my position by an example. Though I ask you to get rid of what are usually hailed as our great literary works, I appeal to you to follow Thiru Kural (an ancient non-sectarian Tamil work on ethics by Thiru Valluvar). Why?

We do not agree in toto with everything said in Thiru Kural. Yet it contains several very good ideas that will benefit us. It is for this reason our foes do not consider it one among their literary works, may they oppose, ignore and hate Thiru Kural.

Normally, you can see Brahmins preaching and propagating what are said in Bhagavatha, Ramayana, Maha Bharata, Gita etc. Have you ever seen them doing the same with Thiru Kural? They neither quote it nor use it to explain a point. This practice clearly shows which literary work is beneficial to us, and which is not.

Again, before we began to speak in praise of Thiru Kural, Brahmins did not hate it. But they had interpreted the Kural verses (couplets) in such a way as to make its readers servile to them. After we had given the correct or real meaning, they had brushed Kural aside. Not only that, they and Sankaracharis’ (their religious leaders) have begun to propagate with greater vigour the Brahmin literary works, viz. Maha Bharata, Ramayana, Bhagavatha and Gita. From this, as intelligent people, we have to understand the following aspects: Things beneficial to us are opposed to the interests of Brahmins, our foes. Things that serve the interests of Brahmins are those we have to abolish. This is as true as the brightness of the noonday sun and the pitch darkness of a moonless night! One who does not realise this is as ignorant as he is blind.

All the Brahmins consider that the present government in Tamil Nadu (under the Chief Ministership of Kamaraj) is harmful to them and that it should be removed. They also take enormous efforts to remove the Congress Party (that has formed the Government in Tamil Nadu) and the leader of the party, Jawaharlal Nehru. In their effort to bring down the present rule of Kamaraj the whole Brahmin community is united – men and women – young and old, their religious heads, political leaders, administrators, judges and others. The traitors to our race who have to exist at the mercy of the Brahmins have also joined them. They have all gathered together, are rising like a storm and striving hard to overthrow the rule of Kamaraj.

To eradicate racial indignity and to remove the obstacles to our progress, we should annihilate the ideas on god, religion and scriptures favourable to Brahmins. We should also work hard to strengthen the present Tamil Nadu Government under Kamaraj, which the Brahmins are bent on destroying.

(Excerpts from ‘Viduthalai’ editorial dated
12th December 1960. Translation by G.V.K. Aasaan.)