Brahmins, Newspaper, Political parties, Legislatures and cinema are the five diseases: speech by Periyar (25/12/1958)

Brahmins – Newspaper – Political parties- Legislatures – and Cinema are the five diseases. These diseases are preying on the human body like Cancer, Leprosy, and Malaria. If the society is to progress these things should be fought tooth and nail and destroyed completely.

Kanyakumari District

Thanthai Periyar E.V.Ramasami

Respectful President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I was extended an invitation to come over to the Kanyakumari District many times by your comrades. As I was busily touring in other districts, I could not come earlier. Wherever I toured, I found a great awakening. People gathered in thousands.

Ten years ago, I addressed a meeting here in Marthandam. In those days
you were citizens of a Native State. You were ruled by a Rajah, whereas we
were citizens of the British Government. Yet we are all “Sudras.” (Heirs of
prostitutes). We Dravidians were subjected to humiliation by the Brahmins. It
was the outcome of the hoax played on us, we continue to be “Sudras”.
Today,we are citizens of one country. We are Tamilians of Tamilnadu.
We are today brought together. Our unity is strengthened. We are today
linked as one family because we are all, now citizens of one country. We
have to work together for achieving our ideals as we are all classified under
one caste. So far as I am concerned, I led the agitation even some 35 years
ago in Tamilnadu to eradicate the social evils particularly the hateful
‘untouchability’. For over thousand years we were not allowed to enter some
of the public roads. Those who are now aged atleast 50 years may recollect
those days. Youngsters of this generation may not know these things of the past.

If there had not been the agitation in those days, today many of us would
not have the right to pass through many of the roads. In those days conditions
were very bad in this country. The Government was in the hands of the
orthodox Brahmins. The Varnashrama Dharma was in its full sway. In our
country, the advent of the Non-Brahmin Movement, redeemed a number of
rights to the Non-Brahmins. The Non-Brahmin Movement successfully
combated the Brahmin domination.That Non-Brahmin Movement was
popularly known as the Justice Party; named after its journal ‘Justice’.
The Brahmins too had their own organisations as Brahmana Samajam,
and Brahmana Mahasabha. They worked against our interests and stood in
the way of our attaining many of our legitimate rights. Brahmins were proud
of calling themselves as ‘Highest caste’. They insisted on calling themselves
as ‘Brahmins’. Manu law and other sastras too termed us as ‘Sudras’ only.
What an amount of humiliation and degradation we were subjected to!
If we do not opt for the name of Dravidar Kazhagam or Tamilar
Kazhagam, we have to choose only ‘Sudra’ Kazhagam, as the suitable name
for our organisation.

That is why, we had to change the name of the South Indian Liberal Federation latter called as the Justice Party, as the Dravidar Kazhagam, to make ourselves known to the world as to who we are. The Dravidians are people of a proud nation, known to the world.

On account of the efforts taken by the Non-Brahmin Movement (Justice Party) in the years 1919 and 1920 and the agitations in Tamilnadu, the right to make use of all roads irrespective of castes was got, not only in Tamilnadu but also in Andhra, Karnataka and Kerala.

With the powers vested in the hands of the Justice Party Government, the right to make use of all roads by all castes was brought into practice. The Justice Party Government brought in a legislation even in those days permitting the so called low-caste people to make use of water from the wells, which had all along been exclusively reserved only for the use of the Brahmins.

These are all things which took place before the days of Gandhiji. It is
absurd and fraudulent to say that it is only Gandhi, who did all these things.
Not only this. The Justice party people were the first people to pave the way
for all castes to enter the Panchayats, Municipalities, Taluk Boards, District
Boards and Legislative bodies even before the coming of Gandhi. They
nominated the representatives of the so called low caste people (the
Untouchables) called as ‘Pariahs’ to enter the legislatures on a par with the so
called high caste Brahmins. ‘Chakkilis’, ‘Pallars’, were members of the
legislature. l want you all to clearly understand this truth.

As a matter of fact, Gandhi’s plans were different. He was not for
allowing all the Sudras and the Untouchables to bale out water from wells
and tanks, along with high caste Brahmins. He was not for permitting the
Untouchables to enter the temples along with the high caste people.
Originally, he only insisted on the continuance of certain rights exclusively
for the highest caste. He upheld the Manu code. He was for separate temples,
tanks, wells and dwellings for the highest caste Brahmins and the low-caste
Sudras. That was the original plan of Gandhi. I know it. Let anyone deny.
Today, false propaganda is carried on about Gandhi. Much is said about
Gandhian way and Gandhian path.

I was the Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee. A sum of Rs.48,000 was sent to Tamilnadu as grant from the All India Congress Committee, to construct separate schools and temples for the low-caste
Sudras called as the ‘Pariahs’, Chakkilis, and Pallars. It was strictly ordered that these Untouchables should not go and create trouble at the places exclusively used by the highest caste Hindus.

By that time the Justice Party Government had already passed orders
permitting all castes to study in all schools irrespective of their castes. They
made all to study together. Caste restrictions were removed in the field of
education long ago. This Reform was strictly enforced. There was a law
compelling even private institutions to admit a certain percentage of ‘Sudras’
in their schools failing which, such schools would not be eligible for any
Government grant.

At the time of inspection, the officer would put the question, “How many Untouchables are studying in this insitution? If anyone should say that no Untouchable approached seeking admission, the officer would say “In that case you have got to go and get some Untouchables to study in your school.”
I am telling of the conditions that prevailed in our State even before Gandhi came.

When Tamilians were so much progressive, in your Kanyakumari District
things were very bad. The highest caste Hindus did not even tolerate the right
of low caste Untouchable Hindus. Even his shadow should not fall on the so
called highest castes. That was the horrible tragedy in your place. The low
caste Sudras were to raise a cry from his hiding place to reveal his presence.

It is on account of the laudable services of Thiru Swami Narayana Guru that the low caste Sudras were awakened. The Vaikom Agitation changed the conditions. The Untouchables here gained a lot. These things may not be known to the youngsters here.

We waged the battle at Vaikom against untouchability. We were imprisoned many times. We were severely beaten. We had to make sacrifice to eradicate untouchability.

There were no classes in jail in those days. The treatment was very
bad.We had to bear all these to eradicate untouchability and bring in a new
change. How did this change come in? What is our present position? If you
think over and search for a better position, you will in fact agree that we are
very slow in eradicating casteism and its evils. We must muster strength and
march on with a greater speed.

You must know the history of the Vaikom agitation. A very small
incident led to the Vaikom agitation.

Com. Madhavan was an advocate. He was to appear before the
honourable judge in a case on behalf of his client. The court was in the
compound of the Maharaja’s (Emperor’s) palace. At that time, arrangements
were made to celebrate the birthday of Rajah (the King). The entire
surrounding of the palace was thatched with Palmyrah leaves beautifully.
Brahmins started chanting mantras (hymns). As com.Madhavan belonged to
the ‘Ezhava’ (Nadar) community, he was not permitted to enter or pass
through the place and reach the court.

It was at this time that the Justice party was carrying on propaganda in
Tamil Nadu for the abolition of castes and untouchability. Inter-caste
marriages were encouraged. Schools were thrown open to all. ‘Samabandi
Bojanam’ (Inter-dining) was popular. Such intensive social reform
propaganda was carried on in Tamil Nadu by the Justice Party. When Gandhi
came to know of what the Justice Party was doing in Tamilnadu, he started
including our schemes in his constructive programme.

In those days, the Justicites boldly exposed the Brahmins, who were
afraid to move about without company. Non-Brahmin leaders like Dr. C.
Natesan (Mudaliar), Dr.T.M.Nair and Sir P.Theagarayar educated the masses
by their incessant and extensive propaganda and secured the powers in the
State. Brahmins were envious of the Justice Party Government. They had no
platform in those days. In those days, the Brahmins cunningly took shelter
under the slogans- ‘We are not power mongers. We boycott the elections’.
With such false slogans they hoodwinked the people and indulged in all sorts
of intrigues. Realising the popularity of the Justice Party, Gandhiji
concentrated on the problem of untouchability, as the only way to bring down
the Justice Party rule in Tamil Nadu.

In those days I was very familiar to the leaders of the Justice Party. They
had great respect for me, because I held many posts. Mr.Rajagopalachari met
me and induced me to become a follower of Gandhi. He said that Gandhi
alone is capable of carrying out the much needed social reforms. I resigned
the post as chairman of Erode Municipality and joined the Congress. Before
my entering the congress, no Tamilian had the honour of becoming the
Secretary or President of the Tamil Nadu Congress. I was the first Tamilian
to hold these posts in the history of Tamilnadu Congress.

Com.T.V.Kalyanasundaram (Thiru Vi.Ka) was a school master.
Dr.P.Varadarajalu (Naidu) was the editor of ‘Prapancha Mitran’. Yet
Brahmins did not trust him. Com.V.O. Chidambaram (Pillai) was at the
mercy of Mr.Kasturi Ranga Iyengar, after draining all his resources.
So, the Brahmins did not respect them. They could not ignore me like
that, as I already held high posts and hailed from a very big business
community. For anything and everything Mr. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji)
believed me and reposed much confidence in me. I also believed him and
reciprocated the confidence he held in me. We both worked together and I
carried on an intensive propaganda with the result the Brahmins once again
gained the platfrom. I was very bold in expressing the rationalist views. I
openly spoke on god in all my meetings stating, “If the idol would get
polluted by the touch of the people, such a god is not required and the idol
has to be broken to pieces and used for constructing good roads. Otherwise it
may be put near the river banks to be used for washing clothes”. I was often
induced to speak, severely by the Brahmins. As I was not for any post or
power, the Brahmins remained silent.

What all I say now about God, religion and caste, I used to say even in
those days. Rajagopalachari used to tell me that I have administered a very
strong dose, after hearing my speeches. I used to reply that so long as people
remain foolish, there is no use of our giving a light dose. On hearing me he
simply smiled. In these ways, we made the Brahmins come to power in those

Leaders of the Ezhava community wanted to stage an agitation, when
Mr.Madhavan was prevented from entering the court. Mr.K.P.Kesava
Menon, President of the Kerala Congress Committee, T.K.Madhavan and
others took the lead. They decided to launch the protest on the day of the
prayers at the Raja’s palace. They chose Vaikom as the fit place for the
agitation. It is only in Vaikom you have a temple with four entrances on the
four sides, leading to four streets around the temple. That was really
convenient for the agitation. So they chose Vaikom as the place for the

There was a law that the low caste Untouchables as ‘Avarnasthans’ and
‘Ayitak Karans’ should not enter those roads. If an Untouchable has to go to
the other side of the temple, he had to go two or three furlongs away from the
temple and walk about a mile to reach the otherside. Even the ‘Asaris’,
‘Vaniars’ and weavers were not allowed to enter the roads around this
temple. The same conditions were prevalent in other temples also.
Particularly at Suchindram, it was very strictly enforced.

Important government offices, courts and police station were by the side
of the Vaikom temple near the entrance. Even while transferring officials, no
Untouchable would be transferred to these offices as they were not permitted
to enter the roads around the temple. Even the coolies were debarred from
entering the roads to reach the shops.

As soon as the Vaikom agitation started, the Rajah ordered about 19
leaders including Advocate Madhavan, Barrister Kesava Mennon,
T.K.Madhavan, George Joseph, to be arrested. They were treated as special
prisoners. At that time, there was a European named Mr. Pitt as the I.G. of
Police, under the Rajah’s government . He ably managed the affairs of the
agitators. When all the 19 agitators were put in prison, the Vaikom agitation
actually fizzled out. At that time I received a letter form Mr. Kesava Manon
and Barrister George Joseph.

“You must come and give life to the agitation. Otherwise we will have no
other way except to tender an apology to the Rajah. In that case, we will not
lose anything, but, a noble cause would suffer. That is what actually worries
us. So please come immediately and take up the agitation”. This was what
was written in the letter. They themselves chose me and wrote the letter to me
because I was very vociferous in attacking the evil practice of untouchability
in those days. Moreover, I have established a good name not only as a fierce
propagandist but also as a successful agitator. When they sent the letter I was
on tour. The letter was redirected to me from Erode and it reached me at
Pannaipuram in the Madurai District. On receipt of the letter I cancelled my
tour and rushed up to Erode to proceed to Vaikom. I wrote a letter to
Rajagopalachari requesting him to act in my place as the President of
Tamilnadu Congress Committee. I pointed out the importance of the Vaikom
agitation in my letter. It was a good opportunity for me. So, I did not like to
miss it. I proceeded to Vaikom with two others.

Somehow the news spread that I would be coming to Vaikom to lead the agitation. When I reached Vaikom by boat, the Police Commissioner and Tahsildar greeted us.

We were informed that the Rajah instructed them to receive and make all
arrangements for our stay. I was really very much surprised. The Rajah was
so good to me because, he used to stay in our bungalow at Erode, while his
officials stayed in our choultry on his way to Delhi. That Rajah and his party
were always afforded a cordial treatment at Erode during their stay, before
boarding the train for Delhi. That might be the real cause for the unusual
treatment given to me at Vaikom. When the people of Vaikom came to know
of my relations with the Rajah and the officials, they were all very happy.
Even though Rajah treated me as a guest, I participated in a number of
meetings supporting the Vaikom agitation. I criticised the evil practice of
untouchability. l said that such a God that would feel polluted by the mere
touch of an Untouchable does not deserve to be at the temple. Such an idol
should be removed to be used for washing clothes. By my propaganda more
and more people were eager to join the agitation. More and more people
came forward from different places. It became a problem for the Rajah. Yet
he remained silent for five or six days. Many complained to him, about my
speeches. Rajah could not ignore any further. So, after ten days, he permitted
the police official to promulgate P.C.26 which is similar to that of Sec.144 here.

There was no other go for me than to defy the ban. Accordingly I defied the ban and addressed a meeting and I was arrested. Mr.Ayyamuthu also defied the ban along with me. He was also arrested. We were all sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one month. I was put in Aruvikkutha jail.
It was after my imprisonment, my wife Nagammai and my sister S.R.Kannammal and a few others carried on a state-wide propaganda. When I was released, I once again resorted to the agitation.

When I was in prison the agitation gained momentum. Lot of people
volunteered to court imprisonment. Intensive propaganda induced the people
to encourage the Vaikom agitation. The enemies indulged in hooliganism.
Rowdy elements tried their best to create panic, but ended in failure. Even
those who were in foreign countries came to know of the atrocities
perpetrated here in the name of caste . They volunteered to send donations.
Daily, money orders poured in. A big pandal was raised to house the
volunteers. Daily, more than 300 people were provided with food. Many
planters sent vegetables and coconuts daily. They were pooled together, as
small hillocks. It looked like a marriage house.

At that time Mr.Rajagopalachari wrote a letter to me. “Why should you
leave our state and create trouble in another state ? It is wrong on your part to
do so. Please leave it and come over here to take up the charge from me.”
This was what was contained in the letter. Mr. Srinivasa lyengar came over
from Tamilnad to meet me. He also tendered the same advice as
Rajagopalachari. By that time more than 1000 people were ready to
participate in the Vaikom agitation. There were big processions and
‘Bhajans’ daily everywhere. The agitation gained momentum.
The news reached Punjab. There Sami Sirathananda made an appeal. He
sent about thirty Punjabis to Vaikom. They offered 2000 rupees as donation
and consented to meet the catering expenses for the volunteers. Seeing this,
the Brahmins here sent communication to Gandhi. They accused the Sikhs of
provoking a war against Hinduism. Gandhi expressed his view. He said that
Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others, who were non-Hindus should not
partake in the agitation. In response to his appeal, Muslims, Christians and
Sikhs withdrew from the agitation. Rajagopalachari wrote another letter to
Joseph George stating that it was wrong on his part to interfere with matters
pertaining to Hinduism. But Joseph George did not pay heed to
Rajagopalachari’s advice. He replied that he was prepared to face expulsion
from Congress. He strongly stated that he would not lose self-respect.
Mr.Sen, Dr.M.E.Naidu and other leaders stood strongly in support of the
agitation. But some people were afraid that Gandhi would write, condemning
the agitation and stop the donations. But at that time Sami Siratha Nanda
came to Vaikom and assured of financial support.

The Vaikom agitation was launched in spite of opposition by Gandhi. I
was once again arrested and sentenced for 6 months imprisonment. Some
Namboodri Brahmins and orthodox Hindus joined together and planned to
counter the Vaikom agitation through what was called enormous ‘Satru
Samhara Yagna’ (Bonfire prayers for killing the enemies). They spent money
and performed this pooja. I heard about this in prison. All of a sudden, one
night I heard the sound of gunshots. I enquired the warden, whether there was
any festival going on near the prison. He told me that the Raja passed away
and the gun shots are fired to indicate the loss. When I learnt that the Rajah
was dead, I had a melancholic feeling. Later I was glad, because the prayers
by the Brahmins and orthodox Hindus to destory their enemy had resulted in
the death of the Maharaja. Their prayers did not harm the Vaikom agitators.
The people were also happy. Subsequently we were all released on the
ceremony day of Maharaja. Our enemies also lost their tone and tenor.
Later, the Maharani (Queen) wanted to settle the problem by mutual talks.
She wanted to discuss the problem with me. But the Diwan of the State, who
was a Brahmin stood in the way of our talks and said that the Maharani
should not talk to me directly, So he wrote a letter to Rajagopalachari. Rajaji
knew that I would carry the laurels and earn the credit. So he cunningly
decided to make the Maharani talk to Gandhi. It is because of this trick
played by Rajaji, that Gandhi’s name was dragged in the history of Vaikom
agitation. I did not much mind as to who personally gained the name and
fame. I was not for any personal glorification. I only wanted the problem to
be solved successfully.

Gandhi came and had talks with the Maharani. Maharani consented to
throw open all the roads for the low-caste Sudras and Untouchables. But, she
expressed the fear that I would further continue the struggle seeking the right
for Untouchables to enter the temple. Gandhi came to the Travellers’
Bungalow, where I was staying and asked me to express my opinion. I said
“it is not a big thing to enable the Untouchables make use of the public roads!
Even though temple entry is not at present one of the ideals of Congress, so
far as I am concerned it is one of my main ideals. But, you may inform the
Maharani, that for the present I have no such idea to launch the campaign for
temple entry rights. Let things come to normal before I decide what to do”.
Gandhi informed the Rani and she proclaimed the right for all to make
use of all the roads around the temple. This is how the low-caste Sudras and
Untouchables got the right to use all roads, like the highest caste Brahmins
and orthodox Hindus.

I was for some time the chairman of the Devasthana committee at Erode.’
When I was away, comrades. S. Gurusamy and Ponnambalan and Eswaran
induced two Adi-Dravida workers in my office, to wear the sacred ahses
(Viboothi) on their fore heads and took them inside the temple. Seeing them,
the Brahmins cried loudly that they had polluted the deity. They were locked
up inside and a case was instituted. They were punished in the District court.
But on hearing the appeal, the High Court released them as not guilty. That
was during the British rule.

But, it was only at Suchindrum that the first agitation for temple entry was
launched publicly. A Self-Respect Confernce was also conducted under my
presidentship. A number of resolutions were passed urging the abolition of
castes and ensuring rights for the Untouchables to enter the temples.
Next, another Conference was held at Ernakulam. In that Conference a
resolution was passed condemning castes and urging Hindus to become
Muslims, as there are no castes in Islam. Some others recommended
Christianity through amendments. At last, the option was given to join any
one of the above two religions.

One day, in Allepey one of the converts to Islam (who was a Pulayar by
caste) went to purchase an article at a Nair shop. He was beaten up and it
developed into a serious clash between Hindus and Muslims. Such clashes
between Hindus and Muslims spread everywhere, The then Dewan, a
Brahmin Sir C.P.Ramasamy Iyer put down the agitation with an iron hand.
But the Rajah (King) was later informed that most of the low caste
Untouchables like ‘Ezhawas’ and ‘Pulayars’ are becoming Muslims. He was
also advised that there was no other go than to throw open all the temples for
all the Untouchables to save Hinduism from the peril. At that time there was
‘Yagna’ by Brahmins for his long life. More over it was a custom to do
something good to the people on his birthday. It is then that the Rajah chose
the right thing to do at the right time. He announced that on his birthday all
temples would be thrown open to all, including the low caste Hindus and
Untouchables. This is the history of the struggle. This is how the
Untouchables were given the rights to enter the temples.

It is only after all these that Rajagopalachary and Gandhi came forward to speak of temple entry. It is quite absurd to say that these changes took place because of Gandhi. As a matter of fact Gandhi has not done even a molecule of service to the Untouchables. You will understand this well by reading ‘What Congress and Gandhi have done to Untouchables’, a book written by Dr.B.R.Ambadkar.

When I was the Secretary of the Tamilnadu Congress Committee out of
the funds of the party Gurukulam (Free Students’ Hostel) was run at
Seranmadevi. As Secretary I consented to give Rs.10,000 and paid a part sum
of Rs,5000. One Brahmin named V.V.S Iyer took up the responsibility to run
the institution. In that Gurukulam, Brahmin boys were given special
preferential treatment. They were fed separately. The Non-Brahmin boys in
the Gurukula were fed outside. While ‘Uppuma’ was given to Brahmin boys,
only gruel was poured to Non-Brahmin boys. The son of Omandur
Ramasamy Reddiar (Former Chief Minister of Madras Province) told the
matters to me with tears. I complained to Mr. Rajagopalachari. When he
contacted V.V.S. Iyer, he neither denied the charges not repented. He stoutly
refused to give equal treatment to all. He said that he could not do anything
as it was an orthodox area. Then I said that I could give the balance amount
of Rs.5,000 only when the Gurukulam was reformed. He got wild. He curtly
asked me ‘Are you serving the nation?’ I curtly replied, ‘Is what you are
doing nationalism?’ This serious matter provoked me to start a party for the
non-Brahmins (Tamils).
Even now you can find only ‘Brahmins’ preparing food at Congress
congregations. Even in those days, we engaged the Virudunagar Nadars to
prepare food at the Justice Party Conferences and the Self-Respect

Why do I recollect all these past things? You should know that unless we
go on agitating like this, we cannot make the society progressive with

Moreover you should all know that neither Congress nor Gandhi has been
responsible for any of the social reforms, we have been able to witness.
Even today, we are the only people of Dravidar Kazhagam who boldly
ask why should the lazy Brahmins be considered as highest caste, while the
real tillers and toilers are considered as low castes. Why should we have a
god that degrades us as Sudras?

Today they have created all safeguards to casteism in the Constitution of
India. A brahmin from somewhere has the boldness to come over here, and
speak with temerity, tendering serious warnings. Why? Power is vested in his
Does anyone have the guts to question?
We are the only people who are free, frank and fearless.

If we are termed as Sudras by Hinduism, what else can we do but, destroy
that Hindu religion? Our Dravidar Kazhagam is not a political organisation.
We do not contest elections. We do not seek votes. We are not for ruling
power. Others may hesitate to call a spade a spade. Power-seekers may coax
the innocent voters. They may hoodwink you for selfish gains. I am not for
dragging in Gandhi’s name to dupe you all for getting any post or power. I
am not for that disgraceful life.

We have not made public life a profession or business to eke out our
livelihood. Think over why? We eat our own food, spend our time, energies
to instil in you self-respect!

By 1958 you find that wisdom makes its sway all over the world. But still
here we are like barbarians. Our god, religion and sastras do not elevate us
from the plightful rot. Government is also in the hands of imprudent
barbarians. No one dares to question except us.

We are called Sudras (sons of prostitutes) by Brahmins. Why should our
sons be called sons of prostitutes? No one thinks of this disgrace. Those who
survive in politics do not care about it. They implicitly obey and submit to
what all the Brahmin says.

When I was leading the Vaikom agitation, Mr.Sathukkutti the son of
Nilamban Zamindar used to meet me often and discuss. He used to address
me as ‘Naicker samy’. Not only that. He used to talk high of his birth because
he was born to a Namboodri Brahmin. He would often tell me that I should
not consider him as one born to a Nayar. Yet he was a graduate B.A. Who is
there to condemn this mentality in our people?

Consider for a moment what these’ Azhwars’ have done. They attained ‘Moksha’ by prostituting their wives. This is revealed in the ‘Purana’- Baktha Vijayam.

One ‘Sudra’, an Azhwar, gained a place in heaven by allowing his wife to
lead the life of a prostitute. The Nayanmars gave their wives to Brahmins.
Even to this day the orthodox people propagate these things without shame or
self-respect. When I point out these things, I am accused of talking
damagingly of puranas (Mythologies). Who else talks boldly of these? These
puranas ruin our morality. What else can we say?

Added to all these the Brahmins have stuck to the seats of government.
After India was freed from British Rule power has been transferred into the
hands of Brahmins. I blame Gandhi for that. A big conspiracy was hatched to
keep us eternally as ‘Sudras’. Today (1958) everything is in their hands.
Today the President is a Brahmin. The Vice President is a Brahmin. Premier
is a Brahmin. Deputy Premier is also a Brahmin. The speaker of the
Parliament is also a Brahmin. Added to all these if we plead for the
eradication of castes, they send us as the accused to jail for a period of three
years. Who worries about all these? Most of the luminaries in public life want
to safeguard the government, Casteism, sastras, puranas, religion and god.

They think that there is no other go for them to live.

No one who depends on votes and bribe will question the atrocities
perpetuated in the name of caste, god, religion and government.
Britishers at least considered us as men with equal rights. Today the
government is in the hands of Brahmins, who call us as sons of prostitutes
(Sudras). That is why they have easily found safeguards in the Constitution
itself. According to law those who demand castes to be abolished have to be
prepared to undergo imprisonment for three years.

This casteism is a chronic disease that has eaten our society for centuries.
What medicine we use for scabies and itches, cannot cure cancer. We have to
operate the body and remove the portion affected by cancer. Treatement will
be different for different diseases. According to Hindu law we are ‘ Sudras’
for more than 3000 years. We are sons of prostitutes for over 3000 years. Our
Constitution gives full protection to this evil.

We must root out this evil. We must be rid of this ridicule. It is indeed the
most difficult task. Unless you pour boiling water on the roots it will not die.
Unless we take severe steps we cannot eradicate castes.

Not only in Tamil Nadu, but even in the whole of India there is no force
that can raise a bold voice like us. Those who are after power will never
dream of raising any protest. It is only those who are dedicated to serve the
people sincerely and selflessly, can dare to risk their life even for the
eradication of the castes. What have those who entered the legislature done so
far? They cannot do anything? We can get posts by simply sending a
telegram. Yet we are not prepared.

A few days ago Nehru made a sickening note about the legislatures and
other elected bodies. He even threatened that he would retire and seek
renunciation. What happened? He silently gulped all his remarks and stuck to
power. It is all mere display of the old Gandhian tactics to gain popularity.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam party people who were with us, condemned
the entry in the legislature, so long as they were in Dravidar Kazhagam. They
even wrote attacking the elected representatives and the legislative bodies.
Nay, even Nehru and Rajendraprasad of Congress party spoke against the
legislature. Because they have now the chances, they are quite eager to enter.
They forget their past. By hook or crook they want to adorn the legislatures.
They are prepared to sabotage and expose anybody. Somehow everyone
wants to come up in life. No one is worried about the age long insults heaped
on our Dravidian racial distinction.

The entire country is in the clutches of three ghosts and five diseases. To believe in one thing, that is not really existing is defined as Ghost. God – Caste – Democracy – are the three Ghosts.

Brahmins – Newspaper – Political parties- Legislatures – and Cinema are the five diseases. These diseases are preying on the human body like Cancer, Leprosy, and Malaria. If the society is to progress these things should be fought tooth and nail and destroyed completely.

Home Forums Brahmins, Newspaper, Political parties, Legislatures and cinema are the five diseases: speech by Periyar (25/12/1958)

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