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periyar speech

It is more than five or six months since I addressed a meeting. This is the first meeting after my illness. During this period, many events have taken place. You may like to know my views on them.

I like to express my opinion on certain controversial issues. Moreover, I am held responsible for some of the latest developments.

Man cannot live as a jungle animal. He is a social being. He has to live with others in society. He has to serve the society. His foremost duty is to make society happy and prosperous. So my opinion is that a man who does not serve the society is only an ordinary animal. Though self-interest is the trait of all living beings, the welfare of society is primarily the indispensable trait of human beings.

It is only the human society which is aware of the interests of the society, that is able to progress. In our country, it is only the Brahmins and the Muslims who are vigilant to safeguard the interest of their own communities. They are always worried about their own communities. They deem it as their foremost duty. What do we find in our Dravidian society? We should only say that we Dravidians do not think it our duty to look into the interests of our society. Even the Adidravidas are disinterested in the welfare of their society. Why is it so? It is because the Dravidians and even amongst the Adidravidians one set of people do not dine with others. They are now separated into innumerable castes unnecessarily. Even amongst the Dravidians here we have countless castes.

People of one caste do not dine with those of other castes. They do not have one common policy or religion. Those who have religious or caste feelings cannot be expected to have a social outlook and unity. You cannot expect them to have an affinity towards their own community. They live like animals without any sense of their racial affinity. They are like barbarians. That is the reason why we still like to be called non- Bramins or Tamils. We are not prepared to call ourselves Dravidians.

But the Anglo-Indians who are descendants of two nationalities, have unity and separate identity. Brahmins call themselves as twice-born (Dwijas). Yet they are not willing to find out the real facts about their origin. Yet they have unity amongst themselves. That is why they are considered great. Similarly, if we take the case of Muslims, whoever may join their religion, they are united under the banner of religion. They have an affinity as members of one religion. They are very great in this respect. They will become greater. The cause of it is their religious unity.

Dravidians

But the case of Dravidians is different. They have numerous castes- different beliefs- and several disparities.

They are not the least worried about their racism. They are slaves to other races. That is the reason why the Dravidians and the Adi Dravidians are at the mercy of Brahmins and the government. They cannot survive otherwise. It is because of this evil the Dravidians and Adi Dravidians are unable to progress.

Let me cite an example to illustrate it further. I like to refer to the things now happening. The Brahmins are creating as much trouble as they could during this world war period. It is known to the government also. The Muslims refused to extend any help to the British during this war period. What had befallen on them? The Viceroy’s executive committee voluntarily offers all posts to them only. At the same time, the Dravidians and the Adi Dravidas deem it their duty to help the British in this war against fascists. For this, they betray their own kith and kin and help the government in all ways. Yet they are classified as the Sudra (Sons of prostitutes) community by the government. Even the laws term them as Sudras. What is the reason for this? It is on account of Brahmins and the British government. Are we to say that we deserve only that much?

The government says that we, the Dravidians, are not fit to hold high posts in the government. If it is so, we could not have extended unconditional support to the British rulers during the War. Yet the rulers ignore us and give their support to the Brahmins and the Muslims. What do we understand? We must accept that we do not deserve high posts. Even though the Brahmins are a negligible minority, the government is terribly afraid of them. We are of a brute majority. Yet the government is least concerned about us. They arrogantly think that we, Dravidians, cannot harm them the least. That is why they cringe on the retired Brahmin officials and pensioners to hold high posts as judges even after the expiry of their period of service. Would they make us slaves to the highest caste Brahmins? Otherwise is there any justification to make us as their slaves? We cannot blame the government for these. It is not the fault of the government. Why do I say so? We are cowards. We have no guts to threaten the government or compel it to yield to our legitimate demand. It is our selfishness that is the root cause of our betraying our society.

The way Out

We, the Dravidians, are not functioning as a sound body. Our organisation is considered to be very weak. How could a party composed of such people achieve success? How can we build a strong organisation with such people? We must relieve the aged people. We must bid goodbye to the rich people in our organisation. The youths in our party should come forward to agitate. Then only it is possible for the Dravidians and Adi Dravidians to attain independence. It is the youths who could make the government yield to their demands. For that lofty ideal, the present organisation dominated by the rich and aged people will not suit. We need a dictatorship. It is a useless farce to talk of our being first-rate democrats, intertwined as a party. A party with dictatorial fervour could alone be fruitful. Today Russia and Germany are wedded to dictatorship. That is why they are today very powerful forces. Because England and America are democratic countries, they are today struggling. What would have happened, if the dictatorial countries opposed them?

Similarly, the Congress and the Muslim League are parties wedded to dictatorship. Other parties are democratic. The government is today crushing the dictatorial organisation. They throw some crumbs to the top men of the democratic organisation. Thus they make the democratic bodies powerless and voiceless.

That is why I emphasize the need for the Tamils to rise up to the occasion. The Tamils should be awake. They should assert themselves as one nation. Under such a circumstance, a dictator would come out of his own accord. It is for this that we are today aiming at.

Fasting

The next important thing that attracts the attention of the general public is the second world war. We are getting day by day good news. We are happy and contented. So far as we are concerned, we are prepared to make all sacrifices. In fact, we have already sacrificed a lot. As such, we need not be worried much about the war.

The other matter that is drawing the attention of the public is fast by Mr.M.K.Gandhi. His fasting is not a new experience. He has fasted many times for a few days, and after breaking the fast, he has recouped good health. He once underwent fast unto death and succeeded in his aim. This time his fast is drawing more attention. The doctors are of the opinion that his condition is bad. The British government is negligent. But I feel that this fast is against our interests. That is the reason why the government is lethargic. We are demanding the separation of Dravidanaadu. Mr.M.K.Gandhi is against it. The government does not want to interfere. They want the matter to be settled within ourselves. Mr.M.K.Gandhi says that the British should ‘Quit India’. His idea is to let us down afterwards. That is Mr.M.K.Gandhi’s motive. It is for this that he is now fasting.

What are we to do? If others are concerned about us, we will be concerned about them. It is reciprocal and quite natural.

We are today, Sudras. We are degraded. We have no right to enter the temples or eating at houses of Brahmins. We are considered as low Untouchables. In the government, we are given menial jobs. Those who betray us are caressed by the government and the Congress party. We remain as downtrodden people today. We are being exploited by the Brahmins and by the people of other states.

Did Mr.M.K.Gandhi feel for a moment about our pitiable lot? Did he express a word of sympathy? Now many people are worried about the fast by Mr.M.K.Gandhi. Did anyone of them care to express sympathy towards our cause? One will have to think over the after-effects of his fasting. Could it be said that our low status would be changed to a better status or equal status with others? How to sympathise with Mr.M.K.Gandhi without considering all these factors? His fasting is a mere farce. How to sympathise with Mr.M.K.Gandhi?

Now an all-party conference is convened. The convenors of the conference have practically ignored us. They do not even think of us. Under these conditions, what help could we render to them? My friend Rajaji is the man behind the screen for all these. Yet he is not at all worried about his own state. Moreover, the participating leaders of various parties were strictly instructed not to talk about party politics. They were asked to speak only about the release of Mr.M.K.Gandhi. How could any self-respecting person agree to partake in the conference?

Those who exploit the name of Mr.M.K.Gahdhi for their own selfish ends participated in the conference. They passed a resolution in favour of the Congress party. Only 200 delegates attended the conference. About 309 people attended as visitors.

Rajaji himself accepted that the conference was not largely attended. It seems there were loudspeaker arrangements also! They call it an All India All-party conference. There is no limit for their deceit and fraud. They say that 100 telegrams were received from the South. At least 99 would be from Brahmins. Newspapers in the hands of vested interests, being dominated by Brahmins made a big fuss about the conference. None seemed to worry about the people of South India. How is it right to decide the social, economic and political problems of the people from the fasting of a single individual? Is it a wise thing? Moreover, it is a mere barbarity to depend on fast to solve problems. It is utterly barbarous to be afraid of one man fasting. If we are to submit to this sort of threat, I do not know where it will lead us to.

HOOLIGANISM

The next item that drew the attention of the public is the enormous countrywide sabotage in consequent of 1942 ‘Quit India’ Movement. It is somewhat losing vigour now. The Congress party is responsible for the heavy damage caused to the public property. Yet they deny the fact. They say that they have no hand in the countrywide sabotage. Congress was speaking very highly of its policies. They said that they are just peaceful, truthful and non-violent. Today it is like devils quoting scriptures. Their actions belie their words. Congress is today exposed in its true colours.

In order to escape punishments, some of the Congress leaders declared that they have no responsibility in the outbreak of riots, arson, loot and sabotage. If they had not done like that the volunteers of the Congress would have openly declared in the court that they alone are responsible for all these acts of sabotage. But, at a few places, the volunteers have boldly said that they are responsible. They accepted that they only set fire. They felt sorry because the fire did not spread widely. No national newspapers condemned. Mr.M.K.Gandhi was aware of the sabotage all over the country. He did not issue a single statement condemning the same. In fact, he refused to do so. No one else came forward to condemn.

The police raided a number of Congress offices and seized records, which clearly revealed that it was the Congress that actually conspired. Some of the Congress volunteers were arrested with such literature. The government states that it is in possession of more evidence to prove that Congress alone organised the sabotage. The government refuses to release them with the fear that it may aggravate the situation, so it is distinctly clear that Congress policy is towards violence, confusion and sabotage.

Who Suffers?

Is there any benefit to the people on account of all these irresponsible violent activities? Such acts are condemnable as foolish. There was no loss to the Britishers or to their property. There was no danger to their lives. Their government is not affected. Then who are the losers? It is our people who lost their precious lives. The people of India are the real losers. What will be the fate of our society if power is transferred to the Congress?

The government arrested the leaders. It is a good thing. They took immediate action to quell the Congress party activities. They deserve to be congratulated.

So far as our state is concerned, we must appreciate our people. They were very wise. Even though the echelons in the government are Brahmins, the Governor has cleverly acted with restraint and controlled the affairs. That is why the sabotage was not fruitful. In other states, the situation is quite different. There you find people adoring Gandhi. The rich capitalists feel that their profits would decrease in case the Congress is humbled. They give funds liberally and encourage the Congress volunteers. I think such things would soon end there also.

Students

The students are also creating troubles. I would only blame the teachers for that. The teachers themselves encourage the students. North Indian money is pouring in for creating indiscipline amongst the students. It is these two factors which are responsible for the ruin of students. The teachers do not take disciplinary action against the boisterous elements. They knowingly allow the students to go to dogs. They know that the students’ education and bright prospects are being jeopardised. Even in this, the Brahmin students are clever. They do not get involved in the agitations by students. What is the net result? You find that the Non-Brahmin students alone are ruined.

Already our education system is in the doldrums. The education imparted today is not at all useful to the individual in his future life. The burden of the parents to seek adequate resources to educate their children is increasing day by day. It is becoming very costly to educate children. The parents who could really afford to spend so much on education are scarce.

The Brahmin community is not worried about this because they do not care about self-respect. Religion gives them ample scope to exploit other caste people. The government is also encouraging them. As a result of all these advantages, the Brahmin boys and girls are able to read well and get through in the examination. Our Non-Brahmin students are easily hoodwinked. They are easily tempted to create hooliganism in schools and colleges.

Just imagine the difficulties undergone by parents in the non-Brahmin communities. Tolerating their poverty and hunger, many parents save money to educate their children. Some parents risk all their belongings. Some parents part with their ancestral property. Some parents borrow a lot of money at a high rate of interest to educate their children.

The children of such poor non-Brahmin parents have to realise their duties and responsibilities in the schools and colleges. If they neglect their studies and indulge in goondaism, it is nothing but betraying their own poor parents. Creating lawlessness and hooliganism is not at all patriotic work. Most of our non-Brahmin students are today negligent of their duties. Foolishly they act and get ruined. The duty of the student is to learn. Education should not be neglected at all. They may behave as they like after their education is completed.

If the student thinks that education is not more important than nationalism, he should express his will to his parents and get out of school or college to do things as he likes. That is what a decent and honest fellow will do. Behaving in any other irresponsible way as a goonda is condemnable. It is a mistake to talk of nationalism remaining in the classes as a student. It is nothing but disgraceful. I like to stress all these, particularly to the Non-Brahmin students.

Unwise literature

Another item that has attracted the attention of the people is the burning of unwanted literature. I am held responsible for this. Why do the self respecters do so? It is only to induce the Tamilians to boycott such books as Manu Code which is responsible for the creation of belief in religion and God. Ramayana is created as the story of a god. Periapuranam is also created like that. They are propagated as the literature of the Tamils. That is the reason why we ask the Tamils to boycott such literature. The burning campaign is only a formal token of our protest. Many people have written letters to me suggesting the burning of Hindu law also as it is based on the Manu’s code. We are telling this for many years. Today we are ruled according to the Manu’s Code only. We will do one by one. Let us first burn the three books Manu’s Code, Ramayanam and Periapuranam. But the Tamil pundits and Saivites amongst us are raising a cry against us (Self-Respect Movement people).

Let us first of all, try to know how these books are related to us. Then we should know as to what is contained in them. Then we should find out whether they are in any way helpful to us. We should know whether there is any benefit to us by following the unwise ideas elaborated in these books. It is only after closely scrutinising all these that we can talk about them.

These three books are not at all concerned about the Dravidian Tamils. They are not helpful to us in any manner. If any Tamilian is of the opinion that Manu’s Code should not be burnt, we will have to doubt about his very birth. Ramayana is also like Manu’s code. Some pundits praise Kamba Ramayana as valuable literature. They are against burning. But the very author of Ramayana does not call it literature. Kambar himself says:

“At the risk of the world speaking ill of me and my reputation getting spoiled, what my work seeks to state is.”

He has emphatically stated that Ramayana is not a piece of literature.

He considers Ramayana merely as his masterpiece to establish his talents.

There are others who state that Periya Puranam is history throwing a lot of information about astronomy and geography. They are of the opinion that it should not be burnt.

Ramayana and Kandapuranam were written with a competitive spirit. Periapuranam was written to counteract the Bakthavijayam and Baktha Leelamirtham. This is evident from a general reading of all these books.

The ideology of Ramayana and Kandapurana is the same. Rama was born to destroy ‘Arakkars’ (Rakshasas). It is believed that Mahavishnu incarnated as Rama. Similarly, the Devas (gods) prayed to Paramasivan to destroy the ‘Asuras’ (Non-Brahmin Dravidians). Kandan was born to Paramasivan for that purpose. Nothing is known about the birth and parentage of Sita, the wife of Rama. Similarly, nothing is known about the birth and parentage of Valli, the wife of Kandan.

The birth of Rama is an absurdity. He was born to the Brahmins who performed ‘Yaga’. The birth of Kandan is still worse. When the semon of Paramasivan fell down, the earth was not able to bear it. So it was directed towards the sea. Kandan was born there. I am not telling this of my own accord. It is Viswamitra who said all these. In the Ramayana as the Rakshasas were being killed more and more Rakshasas are said to have been born newly. Similarly, it is stated in the Kandapurana that Asuras were beheaded. The dead Asuras are said to have appeared with new lives. Like these, you find many similarities between Ramayana and Kandapurana. Looking into the behaviour of the devotees of Saivism as well as Vaishnavism, we find them to be of the same type, one copying the other.

In Saivism, we find a devotee called Tiruneelakandar, who was a potter. Similarly, in Vaishnavism, we find a devotee called Gorakummbar. He was also a potter. The stories of both the devotees are alike. Both of them were not in terms with their wives. They did not even speak to their wives. It is Vishnu, the God who brought in good terms between Gorakumbar and his wife. It is Paramasivan who brought in good terms between Tiruneelakandar and his wife.

Even as Ramayana is considered to be an epic by Hindu Vaishnavites, the Hindu Saivites consider Periyapuranam as their epic. One cannot easily state that there is anything to be learnt by the people. Indiscipline, prostitution and things devoid of self-respect abound, in these epics.

If we are to accept them as divine literature and talk in praise of these epics and gods and religion, we will only be exhibiting our uncivilised barbarous status in our life.

One devotee willingly offers his wife to a Brahmin. One devotee uses his elbow to grind the Sandalwood. One devotee offers the hairs of his daughter to a temple. What is the use of reading such things? It may justify the offering of anything and everything to the highest caste Brahmins. These stories serve the purpose of creating disharmony. You find the story of an untouchable called Nandanar in Saivism. Similarly, you find the story of an untouchable called Sokkamela in Vaishnavism. Their stories are also similar. They were admitted into the temple and given salvation by their respective gods.

Vaishnavism permits even stealing and cheating in the name of God. Tirumangai Alwar’s story vouchsafes it. Similarly, the story of Manickavasagar in Saivism approves stealing and cheating in the name of God. Both of them were given salvation by their respective gods, for their religious service by stealing and cheating. The Vaishnavite gods and Saivite gods compete with one another in absurdities, foolishness, and barbarity. They prescribed tests to their devotees, thinking themselves to be very intelligent. A false impression was created to make offerings ungrudgingly to the so-called holy Brahmins. One must be a fool to believe that these books are helpful to Hindu society. Similarly, if the Tamil scholars and enthusiasts champion the cause of these books and aspire to spread them, I would only say that they are doing a great disservice to the society of Tamils. From the beginning to the end, we do not find anything decent or justifiable in the Ramayana. Every action of Rama is atrocious. How to worship him as God? Could anyone boldly say as to how Ramayana is useful to the majority of the people?

If it is to be considered as an epic or literature, should there be no rules to govern it for giving such a status? Is there no limit for imagination? Would anyone agree to part away with his wife, just because a poet has excelled in his imagination? How could anyone emulate the example set by the devotees? Should not such men be beaten black and blue? Tamil scholars and pundits do not understand this simple matter. How could they command the respect of the people? The Saivite Tamil Pundits insist on safeguarding Periyapuranam. They say that it contains historical and geographical truths and also many astronomical facts.

We can easily get books on these vital subjects written by experts. There are many cheap editions, also written by research scholars. Ignoring this fact, what is the use of searching for rice in the Sahara desert, when you have varieties of rice in abundance in the grocer’s shop?

There are plenty of storybooks in the market. Our people do not read them. Why? It is because those stories are not religious. They are not stories of divinity. They are not preaching religious sanctity. They do not disgrace the Tamil community. Those books do not subjugate us as slaves. They are not barbarous. That is the reason why we do not worry about anything else except religious books. The religion and God and the books concerned about them should be destroyed completely. We must efface them out of existence. We should not allow them to exist in any form. Only then we can live with self-respect. It is with this noble objective that we are for destroying all the books, which are religious.

We are of the firm conviction that Tamils have no salvation with these books. That is why we are for destroying them. We have not decided to do so blindly. We are aware of the price we have to pay for it. Yet we are resolute to sacrifice our utmost to destroy these books.

We are determined to face any serious consequence. We are ready to lose our precious life. We are ready to undergo any difficulty for this. We are not like others, who are foolish enough to be content with the blind support for carrying on religious propaganda. We know that we can lead a carefree life and attain fame easily. We have not succumbed to such evil. We are self-respecters. During the last 18 years, our speeches and actions are almost the same. Those who have keenly observed us and followed our activities would not find anything new. We are always wedded to one policy. Perhaps a few may misconstrue our ideals. They may feel perturbed and get angry.

Any person who involves himself in public activities is bound to do something which he sincerely feels as right and good. At least he must show the right way for our ladies. Otherwise, he must lose his life in either of the ways. So far as we are concerned, we are aware of the fate of true reformists. We know of the difficulties faced by the wisemen. We do know of what the people then valued about their genuine services.

I do not want to mingle politics in our social matters. I am speaking here as a reformist and not as a politician. Am I not very much enamoured of Swaraj (Freedom)? I do not attach much importance to it. My objective is whether we want Swaraj or self-respect raj. Those who are really worried about the present status of affairs of the Tamilians would definitely feel that these books are retroactive to our interest. True Tamils would deem these books as poisonous. Now you people see what Mr. Maraimalai Adigal has said. He is peerless amongst Tamil scholars. His views on Kamaba Ramayana cannot be ignored. We have, of course, many differences of opinion with him. Adigalar is praised today and held in high esteem by the Tamil Scholars and pundits. See what he has written:

“Some of the Tamil poets were very much enamoured of the false propaganda by the Aryans. So they have created Bharatham and Ramayanam with all sorts of unbelievable things. They made their writings familiar amongst the people who were adoring the Aryans”.

“Perum Devanar recreated Bharatham into Tamil, and it has become obsolete”.

“Bharatham is a bundle of unbelievable things. The ancient authors in Tamil could not translate Ramayana written in the Aryan language as it was fully dumped with absurdities”.

The Ramayanam written by the poet Kambar is an adoption of the Ramayana written in the Aryan language Sanskrit. As there were many unbelievable things in the writings of Kamabar, the Tamil scholars of the later ages were not able to reconcile with Kambar.

Because Kambar wrote a false story and as Kambar was accustomed to the alien language and its culture, he has dared to adopt and strictly follow the aliens and utter lies in his work.

Naturally, the poets of the later ages also stooped to deceive people. For that sake, they have translated and remade the works in Tamil. Thus they have destroyed the ancient glory of the Tamils.

It is true that there are traces of literary brilliance in the translations. Because they are built upon false premises from the beginning to the end, people are confused. They are not able to distinguish between fact and fiction.

There are splendid fictions in foreign languages, particularly in the English language considered to be one of the civilised languages. There are plenty of stories with falsehoods also. Those cock and bull stories are written in the poetic form also. Such literature is increasing enormously. But what is the opinion of those learned scholars in the language? They specifically point out that such stories are purely imaginary. The authors of these various fictions declare that they are not true stories. They openly accept that such stories are meant simply for reading and enjoying. So there is no harm in reading them. Modern Tamil scholars, who have undertaken the research have arrived at definite conclusions. They say that the ancient literature contains cock and bull stores. They have listed out what is untrue and imaginary. They say that they were written without any sense of rationalism.

It is a great blunder to project such stories as true. If people are made to believe them blindly as true stories, it will result in underdevelopment of the brain. Truth is always truth. Falsehood could never last for long as truth. That is why I say that it is a great blunder to believe these stories.

The Tamil pundits who uphold the imaginary literature as true have forfeited their wisdom and sense of justice and fair play.

In the debate on Kamba Ramayana held in the Law College, Madras, the learned Tamil Scholar Mr.R.P.Sethupillai is reported to have stated that Ravana the King of Ceylon was an Aryan. I read about it in the newspapers. It is a known fact to the world that Ravana was all along referred to as the Thennailangai Vendan (King of Ceylon).

Historians and research scholars have long ago found out the period in which the Aryans came to India. They are of the opinion that the Dravidians or Tamilians were the original inhabitants of India, particularly in the South. There is no historical evidence to prove that an Aryan had ever ruled the Tamils or Ceylon.

Just because Ravana is said to have mastered the Vedas and prayed Siva, Mr.R.P.Sethupillai concludes that Ravana was an Aryan. He quotes Valmilki for evidence. He knows pretty well that these facts were probed further by research scholars or historians.

Both Valmiki and Kambar have attributed many qualities to Ravana.

It is said Ravana lived for three and a half crores of years. He is said to hail from the ‘pulasthian’ class. He is said to have powers to carry the earth. There are many such things said about him.

Even as all these were said about Ravana by Valmiki and Kambar, it was also stated that he read the Vedas and spoke in the Northern Sanskrit language. It is indeed a pity Mr. Sethupillai wants to establish things based merely on what is written in the Puranas. He does not want to view things with a research mind or rational outlook. How is it possible for the Vedas to spread in the South, even before the coming of Rama? How is it possible for the northern language to come here? Moreover, if Ravana was an Aryan, where is the need for him to knock away Sita. What made Rama to declare that he had come only to kill Ravana?

If we are to view these things, it is clear that Ravana was not at all an Aryan.

The speeches and behaviour of some of our Tamil scholars are detrimental to our interests. They behave as though they are the enemies of Tamils.

It is no pleasure for me to criticise our Tamil scholars. What else could I do without criticising them for their unwise acts? It is for the people to judge whether they are worthy of praise.

Aryans have written that Rama was an Aryan. They accept that it is the story of Aryans. They say that it was written to make Rama a god. Later our Tamil writers adopted all these and attributed more and more wonderful qualities to Rama. They exerted much to uphold Ramayana. They champion the absurdities in them and propagate them as unadulterated truths.

How are we to consider such people as great or honest or honourable?
How could they be considered as patriotic people?

Have you ever seen the Aryans translating any of our Tamil books? Do they at least praise any Tamil book? Please think over why they are like that? How should we be? Should we not have self-respect? Why should our Ravana be depicted forever as low and bad?

Hate Aryan literature

It is because of these Puranas (Mythologies) and lthihasas (Epics) that we are made slaves to the Aryans. The Muslims and Christians today are not slaves to the Aryans. Why is it? Is it not because they hate these books? This is a historical fact. We see people talk ill of Aryans and Aryanism. But how many people are really against Aryans in their life? We are not practical, and we do not put into practice what all we say. Our attitude towards Ramayana, Periyapurana itself, is an indication of our slavish character. I would only say that we are not really sincere to our own Dravidian culture and Tamil language.

At least we can trace some evidence for Ramayana. Historians speak about Aryans, their civilisation and their migration to India as nomads. Similarly, the historians have recorded facts about Dravidians and their civilisation. But it is not so with Periapuranam and the stories contained in it.

Periya Puranam

"Someone sang a ballad! It is God who commenced it! There was a glow of light!
The reflection in the mirror Came out as a real man!
A child aged only three years began to sing! A rock floated in the water!
Fever was cured with mere ashes!
The door opened wide of its own accord! Foxes became horses!
Out of mere bones, a girl was created!
A boy swallowed by a crocodile became alive and came out!"

All sorts of absurdities like these are found in the Periyapuranam. What is there great in Kandapuranam?

In the very opening stanza itself, reference is made only to the Brahmin priest in the temple of Thillai (Chidambaram). The Saivite Pundits condemn other Puranas. They decry them as absurd. What about their own Periyapuranam? Even as drunkards decry others as intoxicated and order for drinks. These Saivite Pundits behave as though absurdities are not seen in their literature. Don’t we see in them the qualities of Aryans?

In Christianity, you do not find more and more absurdities. There are two or three things which cannot be believed. A virgin girl begets a child! A small piece of bread multiplies miraculously to feed the hungry thousands! The dead are brought back to life. Even these few unbelievable things are not tolerated in western countries.

There is opposition to the Bible. Many controversies are going on. The number of people who disown religion goes on increasing. Here, such absurdities are found in abundance. If we take anything, we find it unbelievable. Many things are irrational, illogical and not acceptable to reason. Such being the case how long could our God, religion and Puranas exist intact? We can understand if the ordinary ignorant people alone believe them, but we see even learned scholars revere the Puranas and show respect to them. How are we to tolerate this tragedy?

So I appeal to the Tamilian youths. Do not rest on your oars till the false prestige attached to these books are nullified. Whatever ordeals you may have to face, be bold to disown them. These books are white ants to your brain. If you youngsters resolve to do away with such senseless, pernicious and unwanted literature, you will be doing a great service to Tamilnadu and the Tamilians.

Cinema

Even as we have got to set fire to some of the Shastras, Puranas and Ithihasas there is another important work to do. It is to fight against the atrocities in the Cinema field. The reasons we attribute to burn some of the books are also applicable to the Cinemas. Whatever is preached in the books are propagated in the Cinema.

We see the old order changing and yielding place to the new in many fields. This is what we see in the world. But here we find new things and changes are cleverly suppressed. The old are considered as precious gold in the film industry. Our Cinema is mostly based on blind beliefs, foolishness and barbarities. Neither the actors nor the producers think about the interests of the cine-goers.

A prostitute or a thief does not think about the interests of the general public. The actors and producers are also like that. Their actions are generally against the interests of society. By hook or by crook they want to safeguard their personal interests. By hook or crook, they want to live happily.

Such anti-social elements are now becoming very scarce in western countries. But here their number is increasing.

During the anti-Hindi agitation, more than 1500 volunteers, including ladies courted imprisonment to save the Tamil Language. One of the good effects of this agitation is the increasing urge in our people to hear Tamil music. To encourage the Tamil Music Movement, many rich people volunteered to donate money. It will not take much time to root out the shameless actors and disgraceful producers. All that we have to do is to agitate. It is enough if 5000 people are prepared to go to jail. There are many things we have to do. Of the many, this is one.

In the West, you find dramas and films depicting the rise of a renaissance. In our country, many unbelievable things are going on in the name of religion, Puranas and gods. Even the government is a party to this. Things which have to be eschewed, hated and rejected are in full sway.

You don’t find others worried about all these!

Is it enough to indulge in merely sophisticated talks to reform society and do good to the country? Is it enough if people are asked to spin daily for the country’s welfare? Is it enough if people are advised to wear Khadi cloth for the country’s progress?

Should we not wisely plan and act? We must do things in a constructive manner. The evil of attaching importance to speeches without doing anything laudable has resulted in dishonest people rising up as leaders and prominent men. They parade themselves as full-blooded politicians and leaders of the nations.

So I appeal to the youths to think over the existing state of affairs and realise their responsibility. Even our womenfolk should come forward, unmindful of any other thing. In order to redeem the lost honour of a nation, at least a few people should be ready to face any disgrace. Don’t you find many people behave even immorally for the sake of their belly? So come to a decision to redeem our honour and self-respect at any cost. If there is anything good you can do to others, don’t hesitate.

Recollect what Valluvar - the Great Preacher of Moral Virtues has said about self-respect. He warns that one would be harming a great cause if he contemplates about his own dignity and status. For the sake of honour and dignity, one must be prepared to risk even his life. Why do l say so? Self- respecters can never afford to lose their dignity and honour.

All the talks on communism in our country is bogus. Our youths must keep away from such talks. What is the work they do? Their eyes are always on the leaders of the Justice Party. Their work is to criticise Muslims and rich people. They are not worried about the evil casteism or reactionary propaganda of Gandhi. They are not worried about Rajaji, who wants only the Brahmins to live happily. They are not worried about the Congress party that upholds the Varnasrama Dharma. They are not worried about khadi being symbolic of a barbarous age.

The communists are dominated by the evil forces cited above. So I appeal to the youth to be aware of these communists. Communism here, as it is, is a sugar-coated poisonous pill. Beware! 

(Speech delivered by Thanthai Periyar E.V.Ramasami at Trichy on 21-2-1943)

(From 'Collected Works of Periyar E.V.R.', compiled by Dr. K. Veeramani, published by 'The Periyar Self-Respect Propaganda Institution')


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