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It has seldom been our lot to come across an individual more perverse- minded and incorrigible than Mr. Vallabahai Patel. We had some hope at first that in spite of all the arrant nonsense he talked at Vedaranyam about the Non-Brahmin movement he would discover his mistake as he proceeded on his tour in the province and came into touch with the realities of the situation. But we now realize that we had built our hope on a wrong estimate of the mentality of the Sirdhar. Not only is he, wholly incapable of seeing things as they are, he is so much under the maya of the monopolist gang that he has neither the sense to think out things for himself nor the self-respect to assert himself and stand out against the insidious hypnotism of the patrons who lead him by the nose.

Vallabhbhai PatelTo make matters worse, he has evidently an insatiable craving for cheap applause and incense things (sic) which the monopolist press is only too willing to accord in full measure to those who would play up to its tunes. Naturally, the great Sirdhar of Bardoli fame has been making a series of statements in the course of his lecturing tour – statements whose falsehood and absurdity are only matched by the extreme vehemence and impudence with which they have been uttered ad-nauseum. Malice, misinformation and ignorance are at the bottom of many of these effusions and so it is safe to predict, that except himself no one is going to be worse off for them.

In a previous issue, we have dealt with some of these “Patelisms” and shown to our readers what a downright dupe or a consummate ignoramus their author is. We have no intention of going over the same ground now. We shall refer today only to a few more of the series which have since been paraded for the edification of a supposedly stupid public. Mr. Patel says with an air of cocksureness so characteristic of a swollen-headed monomaniac that the authors of the self-respect movement in this province have no other object but to snatch at power and office in the gift of the bureaucracy.

A man who talks in this vein can hardly be taken seriously for even an ordinary school boy knows that loaves and fishes of office are the last thing aimed at by the earnest souls who in the name of the Self-respect movement are carrying on a relentless crusade against those manifold social and religious evils which are sapping the vitality of the race and retarding the progress of the country.

If Mr. Patel had but cared to read the literature on the subject or if he had but sought an opportunity to come into contact with any of the protagonists of the movement instead of meekly swallowing all the poisonous vapourings of his “spotless friends”, he could have easily understood that the bureaucrats and their favors had only as much to do with the movement, as say the Bardoli satyagraha had had to do with the recent outbreak of an undiagnosable disease in Bombay. However knowing as we do the personalities in the green-room who sent him tutored on to the stage, we have little reason to be annoyed or displeased with the performance of the Sirdhar.

Nor is it a matter for surprise that Mr. Patel should have rhapsodized so much over the khadi and the Hindi Prachar movements. The khadi movement supplies the living for many an unemployed youth of the monopolist community and unless the waning enthusiasm is somehow quickened up the Acharyas and Iyengars behind Mr. Patel will soon find their occupation gone. As a test of the truth of what we have said, will Mr. Patel call for a statement regarding the number of employees in the khadi service, to which community each belongs, their salaries etc.?

When a statement of that kind is forthcoming even the incorrigible Patel will be forced to confess that his friends are not so spotless after all as he had been led to imagine and that it is not altogether a commendable spirit of helping the poor and serving the interest of the nation that has led so many of these “selfless workers” to interest themselves in that organization.

So also is the case with the Hindi Prachar stunt. Has Mr. Patel, we ask, ever stepped into the premises of the head office of the Prachar in Madras? Has he noticed how many clerks are there in the office, what salary each is being paid and what relation each bears to the other? We have reliable information to the effect that practically all the members of the staff are in inter-related in a family way and that some members at any rate have only as much of ability and qualification as to condemn them forever in this competitive world to be unemployed but for the filial pull of the chief of that office. Further how the Prachar movement is abused will be clear if some investigation is made as to how the Bharathi Prachuralaya is being worked. Is it not true that both the institutions are housed in the same building and that the same staff does the work of both?

Be that as it may the time is fast approaching when it will be altogether impossible for scandals of this type to be hushed up. Today the “spotless Brahmins” may get hold of an invertebrate Patel to beat the drum for them and cry down the Non-Brahmins but it will not be long before the realization dawns that tactics of this kind are of no avail. In the meantime let us congratulate the “spotless saint of Salem” on his great success in having got hold of a ‘nam-key-waste’ Non-Brahmin to advertise him throughout the length and breadth of the province (1). And let us also hope that the rumour will prove well-founded that on his return to Madras purnakumbhams and aarthies (symbols of a ceremonial welcome – editors) will be presented by the local Brahmins to the New Daniel from Gujarat who at their instance and under their inspiration has undertaken the arduous journey to this distant province to pronounce a judgment on the Non-Brahmin movement so agreeable to them.

(Revolt, 15 September 1929)

***

More about Patel’s Tour

(Culled and Pulled)

We have repeatedly adverted to the inanities which Mr. Patel has indulged in with reference to the Brahmin Non-brahmin problem in this province, his cheap sneers and his thoughtless remarks regarding the Self-respect movement. He says that he is ashamed that the large majority of Non-brahmins should always live in fear of a small Brahmin community. Well, we are glad there is something at least of which Mr. Patel is ashamed, because we had almost come to the conclusion after reading his effusions, that Mr. Patel is one of those who can be ashamed of nothing, not even of his own ignorance. He tells the Non-brahmin youths that he will teach them the way to Self-respect. We quite agree, and it is by avoiding all that Mr. Patel stands for, and by rejecting all that he ventures to preach on public platforms, in fact by patterning themselves on a model which is the exact antithesis of Mr. Vallabhai Patel, and pursuing in their own way, the good of themselves and the good of their country. Repeated snubs, frequent protests, convincing arguments and open criticism have all gone merely to help Sirdar Patel in stiffening his views and in refusing to be corrected.

At Tiruppur, where Mr. Patel indulged in most unseemly and vitriolic attacks on the Non-brahmin movement and breathed out purely poisonous atmosphere against the Non-brahmin Newspapers and the Non- Brahmin leaders, a very fair attempt was made to correct him to his face. But the critics can well despair of improving either Mr. Patel’s manners or his reasoning faculties or his sense of fairness and justice. Sirdar Patel knows little of politics, less of the social customs and manners of this Presidency, least of all the men who go about with him in his triumphal processions, the “spotless Brahmins”, of the “spotless” variety. A man so thoroughly inane, so jejune in his ideas, so ignorant just because he has been boomed to prominence, should not be taken too seriously. But after all Sirdar Patel is a Non-brahmin; and that one tie makes us kin even with this ignoramus. He creates in us a deep feeling of sympathy and humiliation. That there are men like Mr. Patel in Gujarat is only an additional reason why the movement should spread beyond Bombay into Gujarat. Oh for a few hours when Sirdar Patel will sit at the feet of our leaders and learn the elementary lessons of Self-respect!

- Justice

As usual the Brahmins of South India have brought another of the North Indian leaders and have utilized him to preach Brahminism. And it is no wonder that Mr. Patel has repeated, even as the gramophone does, what he has been taught by his informants. In his address at Vedaranyam, he has said that he is sorry to be told that a movement has been started in South India with the avowed object of destroying all that is good in Aryan culture. We ask, what is that which is good in Aryan culture? Is it the Chota Gandhi’s tuft of hair, his “holy” thread or his namam (mark worn on the forehead by Vaishnavites - editors)? Is it the Puranas, Ithihasas, the Smritis and their offshoots, the temples, their festivals and the Brahmin Poojaris? Or is it the idols of these temples or the crores of rupees spent on their behalf? Is it the glorious Varnashramadharma or the ‘superiority’ of Sanskrit? What induced this casual visitor to the Dravidian land to assume the role of an apostle of the Aryan culture? Does he know the difference between the Aryan and Dravidian culture? Is he aware of the treatment meted out to the Dravidians by the so-called Aryans? Is the advocacy of Aryan culture a part of his political programme?

Was it the “communalists” or the “Aryan culture” that hindered the introduction of reforms? Did he come across anyone of the leading?

Non-Brahmins of this province? Did he attempt to acquire first-hand knowledge of the tenets of the Self-respect movement? He calls the Non-Brahmin movement as job-hunting. Had he only taken the pains to know whether it is the Brahmins or the Non-Brahmins that are employed in the majority of services, he would not have dared to utter such rash and unauthentic statements. Somewhere in his Brahmin- guarded peregrinations, he has solemnly confessed his ignorance of affairs in the Tamil Nad. Then why utter such imprudent nonsense? Evidently he has devoured what was vomited by his Brahmin friends. This is another of the many incidents where the Brahmins of the Province, after finding that their underhand methods are exposed to the public, take to the last resort of bringing some of the so-called leaders from far off places and propagating Brahminism through them. But we are sure that our new guest, in spite of his Brahmin body- guards, would have learnt from the response made by the followers of the Self-respect movement that the Brahmin-Non-Brahmin problem in the South is, in its poignant differences of ideas, at least as equal in importance if not more as the Hindu-Muslim question in the North.

- Kudi Arasu

We have a misinformed and misguided guest amongst us. Mr. Patel is serenely indulged in his pleasant task of attacking the most democratic movement in the country. But recent events show that he is learning painful lessons in his sojourn. We do not resent his attacks. But what we resent is the misleading of young men and others by one who possesses the least knowledge of the situation down here in the South. “A little knowledge”, said Pope, “is a dangerous thing”. Never have we imagined how dangerous it is till we heard Mr. Patel. It has corrupted the mind, it has coloured the vision and it has confused the man. He says the Self-respect movement is hunting after jobs. Even our enemies in the province have at worst called us “atheists”, and never, never in these five years, as “job-hunters”. The tutors perhaps being led by the impression that Mr. Patel would not care very much if he is told of the “atheistic” tendency of the movement, have taken into their heads to label the protagonists as “job-hunters”. And poor Patel has taken the whole at its face-value. Had he only devoted a little of his active “patriotic” service, in a hasty perusal of the resolutions passed at the Self-respect Conference, he would not have so foolishly allowed him to be carried away by the past-masters of the greenroom politicians. Unhappily, he is surrounded in an atmosphere not very wholesome to the exercise of one’s thoughtfulness and individuality. That is a mistake which all the North Indian Leaders, without any exception, are unpardonably guilty of.

- Dravidan

Miss Mayo’s book was condemned by Mr. Gandhi as one written with the most superficial knowledge of India. She was abused in return, by all the burning “patriots” of the country. But now, one of these identical patriots, Mr. Patel, has grasped the affairs in South India even at the platform of the Madras Central Station! Was he shown by his body-guards, the “venerable” temples and gods which refused admission to Messrs. Gandhi and Lajpat Rai? Was he shown the sanctified streets of the bhoosuras, which refuse admission to six crores of people in India? Then alone will he know the objects with which the Self-respect movement was started. Till then, why not he wisely refrain from uttering words of nonsense about the most successful of the social reform movements in India?

- Nadarkula Mitran

[We are sorry, owing to the want of space, we have not been able to publish the opinions on Mr.Patel’s Tour, of other leading Non-brahmin journals, as Tamil Nadu, Kumaran, Thondan, Forward, Suyamariyathai Thondan, ThenNadu, Samadarsini, Sahodaran, Mitavadi,Tamilan,Adi Dravida Kavalan,Viswanesan, and others.We shall however, publish some of the opinions in subsequent issues.

–Ed.]

- Revolt, 22 September 1929

[We give below a few more of the Opinions of some of the leading Non-Brahmin journals on Mr. Patel’s Tour in the Tamilnad. Our aim in publishing these extracts is to show Mr. Patel and his admirers in the North that his recent pronouncements upon the Non-Brahmin organization and the Self-respect movement have not a little aggravated the feelings of the Non-Brahmins who form the bulwark of the population. We wish Mr. M. D. who writes upon this topic in the ‘Young India’ understands more of his subject before he finishes his ‘songs of the Sirdar’s conquest’ – Ed.]

Mr. Patel has indulged in violent attacks on the Self-respect movement, which is quite unworthy of any responsible individual. It is indeed a pity that the monopolists of our province have been led to the necessity of bringing down a native of Gujarat to certify them as ‘spotless’,‘honest’ and ‘good’. The Sirdar has been persuaded to vilify the self-respect movement, the only organization that has gone deep into the minds of the masses.The Congress in the Tamilnad has only served to strengthen the hands of orthodoxy and reactionarism. Had it not been for the extremists of social reform, i.e., the Self-respecters, orthodoxy would have certainly made a greater fuss in their futile attempts to oppose Mr. Sarda’s Marriage Bill. We are sure Mr. Patel is unaware of this truth.We are ashamed to know that the Sirdar has made bold to say that the Non-Brahmins in South India would not have become so learned and cultured, if there were no Brahmins. As long as a person entertains such slavish mentality it is impossible to be free from the fetters of mental subjection which has been solely responsible for the degradation of our society.

- Kumaran

Mr. Patel’s remarks about the Non-Brahmin agitation in the South have impressed upon us the opinion that he has, in his anger against the existing conditions, utterly failed to take note of the real causes of the issue.We are not a little pained to hear such attacks from the Sirdar. And the more so, when we came to know of his gibes at social reform. Mr. Patel asks, “Will the fight about widow-marriage appease one’s hunger?” This is too absurd a question to be expected from such a responsible person as Mr. Patel. “Appeasing one’s hunger” is not the only aim of humanity. For pigs, dogs and donkeys also “appease their hunger”. Mankind wants more … His careless and irresponsible remarks about the propaganda of social reform do not form part of his political programme. His taunts at the Non-Brahmin movement, as ‘a job hunting one’ are regarded by the masses, as a great insult. Mr. Patel has observed in his speech at Bangalore that the administration of the country would be spoiled if the Non-Brahmins were to be put at the head of affairs.We wonder how Mr. Patel’s knowledge of Indian history failed to show him that the Non-Brahmins had been more used to the task of governing the country than the Brahmins. We also wonder how the Sirdar forgot the truth that the ancestors of the Brahmins were not ‘rulers’, but only the so-called ‘sages’ living by the charity of others. In short, Mr. Patel has shown his ignorance of the affairs of the society in the Tamilnadu, which we can neither excuse nor ignore.

- Tamilnadu

The South Indian Brahmins have at last thought it wise to bring a Non-Brahmin from the North and make him preach Brahminism.

They have also partly succeeded in their nefarious attempt. Ever since Mr.Vallabhai Patel set foot on the South Indian soil, a violent attack on the Non-Brahmin movement has become the burden of his song. The Sirdar implores the people not to destroy the Aryan culture. We are at a loss to know what he means by ‘Aryan culture’. Is it the horse sacrifice, or the human sacrifice? Is it the Soma juice or the Powndriga yagam? Let Mr. Patel enlighten us as to what he means by the term ‘Aryan culture’. But so far as the Tamilnad is concerned we would like to point out to Mr. Patel that the Tamil Country does not require ‘Aryan culture’ or ‘Varnashram’ but what it urgently needs is the immediate social regeneration of the downtrodden communities. We want not an iota of ‘Aryan culture’ for we had enough of it. We want worldly education and industry, equality and justice, right thinking and right knowledge.These who help towards the achievement of the latter group, we regard as our saviours. Others we regard as enemies of human progress.

- Suyamariyathai Thondan

Speaking before a Salem audience, Mr. Patel is reported to have said: “I am ignorant of the Madras situation and I can say that I am unable to understand the subtle politics here”. So far as the first portion of his statement is concerned, that is a correct, accurate and undeniable version of the fact.With reference to the latter part of his statement, we have to inform Mr. Patel that it is not so much the politics of Madras that is ‘subtle’ as the scheming brains that have tutored him. Though he has acknowledged his error and confessed his ignorance of the affairs in the South, the Sirdar has not stopped criticising the Non-Brahmin agitation. We would advice Mr. Patel to purge his mind in the first place of all that has been told by the monopolists about the Non- Brahmin movement. Let him shake off the Sirdarism that is responsible for his blind advocacy of Aryan culture and sit humbly at the feet of the leaders of the democratic movement and learn the real spirit of democracy running through the veins of the movement. Before he chooses to advise the people of the Tamilnad, will he attempt to get a first hand knowledge of the untold sufferings that the millions are undergoing under the iron heels of orthodoxy? Till then, let him not rush in with his rash remarks about the “movement of the masses”.

- Forward

- Revolt, 29 September 1929


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