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ambedkar periyar and maniammaiPoona pact period is one of the important periods in the history of India and in the history of caste annihilation. Leaders like Comrade Ambedkar, Irattai Malai Srinivasan struggled for the fundament rights of Dalits as such dual voting & separate electorate.

On that battlefield, Periyar and his self-respect movement comrades, Justice Party comrades who implemented Periyar's political agenda were stood shoulder to shoulder with Ambedkar for the rights of the Dalits. In particular, Sir A.T. Panneer Selvam, Bobbili Zamindar Ramakrishna Ranga Rao, Sir A. Ramasamy participated and supported Ambedkar in the London Round Table Conference, 1931.

From that time, when Ambedkar raised his voice in Round Table Conference, even after ten years of the Poona pact, Periyar continuously addressed several public gatherings and wrote supporting the dual voting and separate electorates. But other than the information that ‘Periyar sent a telegram to Ambedkar’ nothing was in the light of history.

Simon commission’s Report was the base for the demand of dual voting and separate electorates. When the commission came to India, everyone opposed the commission and said “Go back Simon”, but at that time Periyar welcomed Simon commission for the Scheduled Caste and women’s rights.

More than 50 per cent of Indian representatives who attended the round table conference were Brahmins. From the day the list was released, Periyar began to oppose.

Immediately after knowing the news that Ambedkar was going to represent Dalit people at the Round Table Conference, Mahatma Gandhi declared that those who are representing Dalits are not concerned about Dalit people. And he said they are rebels.

Mahatma Gandhi directed, some of the Dalit movement’s leaders to send telegrams to London, mentioning that ‘Ambedkar is not our representative, Gandhi is our representative.’

In Chennai, Scheduled Castes (Dalits) organized a public gathering addressing dual vote & separate electorate. When Ponnambalam from the Self-Respect movement was addressing, the event was collapsed by some of the Brahmin students who were shouted ‘Jai Gandhi! Shame to Ambedkar!’

The entire Indian media wrote in their headlines that Ambedkar’s demand was a big fault and said he was a communalist and anti-national.

When he came back to Mumbai after the Round Table Conference, there was a case filed on him to arrest. And he was summoned.

M.C.Raja, who attended the Round Table Conference from Tamil Nadu, supported separate electorates in London. But after he arrived in India, he resisted dual voting at the instigation of the Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha. He organized several conferences against Ambedkar in Mumbai itself.

Periyar immediately countered the Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha who against dual voting. Even he countered M.C. Raja and Swami Sagajanandha.

On 13th December 1931, Periyar started his journey to Europe. Till that date, he countered Gandhiji and Hindu Mahasabha. He supported Ambedkar and dual vote. It had been reported in Kudi Arasu journal.

He consistently sent articles to the Kudi Arasu while his travel to Europe. In that too, he seriously advocated the dual voting after Gandhiji announced that he was going for a hunger strike.

On 18th September 1932 in Kudi Arasu, he wrote a headline and telegrammed to Ambedkar that

“If at all separate reserved constituencies allotted in general elections, only those who get the majority upper castes support and those who give up the rights of the untouchables and support the domination of the upper castes only will be elected.”

"In fact, fearing that Gandhi would die, if the separate electorate for untouchables is withdrawn, then we are sure that it’s like sacrificing seven crore people lives to save one.”

As far as we know, in that time none of the organization in India extended continuous support to dual vote and Ambedkar like Periyar.

Source: Kudi Arasu Magazines

“Periyar and Poona Pact” published by Kaattaru

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