(Mr. R. K. Shanmukham’s Reply to Critics)
Addressing a public meeting at Virudunagar under the auspices of the Non Brahmin Youth League, Mr. R.K. Shanmugam M.L.A. made a reply to his critics and explained how he had not sacrificed consistency in holding the office of Secretary of the Swarajist party in the Assembly and mingling with the Self Respect movement.
The Youth Movement, he said had been growing during the last 10 or 15 years in all countries of the world. That nations like Turkey and China had asserted their freedom and equality of status with the other nations of the world was due to the awakening of the youth of those countries. So also the national awakening of this country would depend in large measure on the strength of the youth organization.
He wanted to take this opportunity of replying to certain criticisms which had been leveled against him because of his support to the Non Brahmin Self-respect movement while holding a responsible post in the Congress. He had explained his attitude towards the Self-respect movement several times but he thought he might explain his position a little more clearly now. He would make bold to say that there wasnothing inconsistent between the Congress policy and the principles of the Self-respect movement.
He would boldly assert that anyone gainsaying this would be a false Congress man. He would go further and say that when it was made clear to him that the Congress stood opposed to that movement he would be prepared to resign his membership of the Congress. But he was sure that no close student of the Congress movement would say that the Self-Respect movement was opposed to the Congress creed.
He believed that the Congress was the forerunner of the present Self-respect movement and that it was because the Congress had committed the initial blunder of paying attention to the political self respect of the country to the exclusion of communal and social self respect that the present Self-Respect movement had become imperative. The Congress itself though it began as an organization for reforming society had been changing its creed, until to day has as its goal the attainment of Swaraj by all legitimate peaceful and non violent means.
The speaker believed that this was incomplete and with this view he had sent up an amendment to the Congress creed a few years ago urging that it should also extend to the eradication of communal differences and inequalities. He therefore believed that if the Selfrespect movement did not run its full course, these would be a great hindrance to our national growth.
The Non Brahmin movement, he said was a social rather than a political revolt. Brahmin ascendancy was as old as the day of Vasishta and Viswamitra. Viswamitra, a Non-Brahmin established his equality with Vasishta himself and owing to the tactfulness of Vasishta all further trouble was averted.
But such tactfulness was not present among the Brahmins nowadays. Even if the Brahmins acceded to the equality of status of all castes there was necessity for the SelfRespect movement for the purpose of educating the Non Brahmins to a realization of their equality of status. The speaker next explained the significance of the Chingleput Self Respect conference and said that they were most reasonable. He denied that some of the resolutions tended towards atheism or heterodoxy.
In conclusion he characterized Mr. E.V. Ramaswami Naicker as the author of a social upheaval comparable to the French Revolution. Do none but the Brahmins engage study?Do none but the Khasatriyas exercise sway? Do Vysias plough and Sudras only. These greedy liars propagate deceit. And fools believe the fictions they. (sic)
– Revolt, 17 April 1929