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The Editor asked me to contribute an article to the special number of the “Revolt”; and I do it with pleasure and with pride as well. I deem it a real privilege to be given to contribute one’s humble mite, however small it be, to a movement, whose ideal is national uplift and whose plan of work is centred in selfless social service; The Revolt raised its standard but a year ago; yet its strides have been so rapid and its campaign so successful that it has already struck a genuine terror in the hearts of all the diehard social obscurantists, and has roused their wonted reactionarism in its actively virulent and full measure. “Religion in danger” is now the wild war cry widely shouted by the fanatic mullas and panicky pandits alike in the land. The very heat and energy of the sallies of these apostolic repositories of hierarchic superstition affords in a way the measure to appraise the worth and value of the work done by the Revolt and its little protestant army in this land of lotus eaters.

I am not unaware of the wounds caused to some of our brethren in the ruthless campaign of the Revolt; but I know they are merely superficial scratches, or at worst only skin deep wounds, as compared with the deeper and graver cuts and stabs dealt freely and often fatally by the loyal knight-templars in their holy fights against their lay-fellows for their only fault of being endowed with less faith and less favoured with occultic faculties. The right of Reason is for its very existence always provoked and often inevitably entailed on it by the rigid reactionary forces of custom, convention and superstition; and its duration is strictly limited to the necessities of selfdefense, while its intensity is even less than THE “REVOLT” AT ITS WORK (By Mr. S. S. Bharathi) commensurate with the cruelty of the hostile attacks on it. Again Reason will only fight with harmless bludgeons of logic and arguments; it has no armouries of magazines or factories to indent on for machine guns, bombshells, and poison-gases so readily available to and so lavishly used by the knightly good templers of the ordained faiths and hoary creeds. The injuries inflicted by the soldiers of Reason are bound at worst to be slight, and they always heal up quickly whereas the wounds caused by the captains of creeds are often deep, and most mortally poisoned, Faith is proudly offensive, while Reason is, ever on the defensive. Faith is proud of its boundless resources, and so always seeks to strike down all these recalcitrants, while Reason by its Nationalism and Anti-Caste Radicalism 211 very nature must ever strive to conciliate and win over.

Custom and creeds have their usurped thrones to preserve at any cost, while Reason has nothing to conceal; and being conscious of its birthright it has no motives of strife and so extends its realm by suasion.

Reason’s right to light and guide mankind is so self-evident and indisputable that all creeds and faiths virtually concede it to more or less extent; and what is more significant, they even vie with one another in paying indirect homage to Reason by trying to bolster up and embellish their tottering edifices with the concrete bricks, unbreakable tiles and cementing plaster of Reason, whether of genuine brand or of counterfeit label. They are constrained not only to borrow the designs, but also to indent largely on the materials of Reason to build and repair their strongholds and citadels just to keep out the very Reason whose alliance they freely seek in their internecine and fratricidal warfare between themselves. Reason thus is indispensable for the very existence as well as for the extension of their mischievous empire. Reason on the other hand is self-centred and self-reliant

Faiths dish up and flavour their savoury pickles to tickle the diseased palate of their dyspeptic votaries. Reason’s dieting is plain, wholesome and nutritious. Faith zealously guards against every approach of Reason. For, it naturally fears the advent of this legitimate owner to its realm, lest it should naturally come into its own and thereby end ever after the empire of the usurpers. Any of the least sign of loyalty to Reason is therefore shouted down as heresy, and every adherent of Reason is branded as a traitor to Religion by the mercenary votaries of the later. I say ‘mercenary’ advisedly; for genuine voluntary allies have no partisan axe to grind and so would not hastily take to abuse any in the rival camp. It is only the mercenaries that stand to lose by the adverse fortunes of the Empires and Tyrannies of faiths; and naturally they will be more zealous than even their principals to defend and preserve what really is their own interest whenever there is any risk of its extinction by the exposure of the usurpations and establishment of the rights of the real owner. In their selfish and therefore all the more acute anxiety, these votaries are not over-scrupulous in the weapons they chose to attack the adherents of Reason with, and they resort to all and sundry means with a view at least to discredit the rivals for the time being, though they could not defeat them totally or for all times.

Any weapon is good enough for the soldiers of Religion to beat the dogs of Reason with Logic denies them countenance; and arguments 212 Revolt – A Radical Weekly in Colonial Madras betray and fail them. To yield without a blow is not to be expected from any vested interests. To meet the disciplined phalanx of reason in the fair field is not profitable, and they know Reason is always a clean fighter. They therefore enter into solemn compact not to give battle in the open, but to keep to their trenches and send out poison gases, and to ambush and skirmish with the unwary stragglers from Reason’s camp.

Abuse, however vulgar, is yet a handy dart to throw at these dogs, as their loyalty to Reason deserves no better treatment. Reason’s adherents are also freely abused with impunity, as they may not choose to retort with abuse in return. Although abuse is a game two can play at, soldiers of Reason would not stoop to because of their reasoned and conscious righteousness of their cause, and also because of their training to rely on the unfailing smithy of Reason ever ready to forge the cleanest arguments, not only to parry, but also to vanquish all and every attack of unreason and sham. Champions of Reason must thus be ever prepared to face and bear up the vilest of slanders without flinch and with patient forbearance, and to bear them down only with their irresistible arguments.

The Revolt by raising the standard of Reason has incurred, nay invited the rank displeasure of the votaries of all creeds; and it has no right to feel aggrieved at the onslaught of abuse and vilification lavished on its head. It has stood its ground manfully so far, and it deserves congratulations and the sympathy of all right minded people, religious and secular alike.

The Revolt has had a good fight all rounds and it has bravely won its spurs in the very first year of its campaign. It is really no small achievement for the Revolt. Of course it has had some ugly tussles and unedifying tilts here and there, now and again. Such things are only inherent in and incidental to a guerilla-war, which it is constrained to wage with the entrenched legions of faiths and creeds, of the crusted customs and vested interests, now all in league to scare away this valiant and venturesome votary of Reason from this realm of hallowed custom and hollow creeds. There is also this thing to be said for the Revolt in this connection. It has bravely undertaken the Herculean task of clearing the Augean stables in our land, ever renowned as the abode not of God only, but of the 33 crores of godlings and their ungodly revels. It has unfurled its flag of reform to renovate the dying if not dead society in Tamilaham. It is neither easy nor always agreeable task to do so.

The Revolt found at the very first stage the need for carrying out thorough weeding operation, if the field were to be prepared to receive the Nationalism and Anti-Caste Radicalism 213 seeds of Reason. Removing the festering from the soil is often a very disagreeable work. A weeder cannot consistently with his errand show much sympathy or tenderness to the weeds. If out of any sickly sentiments he were oversympathetic to the weeds, then he would be really cruel to the crops; for, the rank weeds would choke up and kill off the sprouting plants. He needs must be cruel to the weeds, if he would be kindly to the crops. His duty thus hardens him against the weeds, against which he cannot spare his hoe. The Revolt in hoeing the old rank weeds in the land has struck against and severed the roots of the unwanted weeds. It cannot but be ruthless in its cleaning operation. This preliminary work must be irksome to the weeder, and cruel to the weeds. The hoe naturally breaks the clods of earth that cover up the roots of weeds; and to this extent the operation may seem to hurt the goodly earth. But the real result, the calculated sequel is to rid the earth of the unwanted weeds, to open its veins and tissues to eradicate their roots, and to soften the soil for the reception and nursing up of the seedlings and the goodly crops.

The Revolt in this work must inevitably have struck against the crusted minds, but only to rid them of the morbid old unreasoning habits and hardened views, and to enable them better to receive the seedlings or Reason. Even the scoffers would come to bless the Revolt, when in due course they realize the healthy and wholesome results, of the installation of Reason and the rout of overcrusted creeds. The very earth which resisted the hoe of the weeder, would thereafter smile sweetly with fragrant flowers and yield a goodly crop in gratitude to the hoer for his pains. The Revolt need not therefore despair of sympathy and encouragement even at the hands of our orthodox brethren in Tamilaham.

Let it forge ahead in its single minded pursuit of lofty ideal to dethrone superstition and to install Reason in power in Tamilaham. Time is bound to come, nay the dawn is already breafling (sic) out in the eastern horizon for the Revolt and its collaborators and coadjutors, who would all receive ere long their due recognition and meed of honour. 

On behalf of all the lovers of truth, and as a Tamilian, I wish the Revolt goodspeed, and sing Pallandu and Hallelujas with all my heart. I am sure all stout hearted Tamils would cry amen to this wish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                       - Revolt, 17, November 1929 

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