A Dialogue about the Kural Conference

-Periyar E.V. Ramasamy

Translated by Karthick Ram Manoharan and Vilasini Ramani

First Person: Is this conference on the Kural being held with such grandeur only to confront the Brahmins?

Second Person: Why do you think so? We had conferences on Ramayana, Periya Puranam etc in the past. Were they held just to oppose someone?

FP: Those conferences were about the merits of those works.

SP: So you don’t think Kural is a work of literature?

FP: It is. But why do Brahmins in trams and buses say that an anti-Brahmin conference is being held in Broadway?

SP: Brahmins do not approve of the Kural. The Kural is opposed to Brahminism. Thus they hate the Kural very much. Since we are organizing the conference, the Brahmins suspect that we will malign Brahminism.

FP: Is that all? They were talking as if they were struck by thunder. From what they spoke, I anticipate that we might have a ban on the conference.

SP: Never. But even if it did, let it happen.

FP: What would you do if they ban it?

SP: We will stop the conference. We are not the Dravidar Kazhagam to fight against Section 144.

FP: So, if you stop the conference and if they run their conference at the same place what would you do?

SP: What else can we do? We will inform the government that we are not conducting the conference but they are.

FP: Won’t the government hold you responsible?

SP: Let them. What else can they do to us? We will also become the Dravidian Kazhagam. 

FP: Then you might be put in jail?

SP: There is no place there.

FP: They will beat you up like how they did at Kumbakonam.

SP: Only if they can get hold of us. We will claim that we did not do the conference. How can they attack us after that? We will go into hiding.

FP: What will then happen at the conference?

SP: What else would happen at a conference convened by Kalyana Sundaranar, Meenatchi Sundaranar, Somasundara Bharatiyar, Chakravarthy Nayinar, Kandasamy Mudaliar etc? Tell me.

FP: Why on earth do they want to conduct this conference? Please tell me. I’m asking you sincerely. There is no secret between us, isn’t it?

SP: Now we are talking. Our intentions are; First: We want to dismiss the ideas that there are no moral texts for Dravidians and that only the Mahabharata and Ramayana are the moral texts for Dravidians. We want to prove with facts that the moral codes for Aryans and Dravidians are different. To eradicate the differences among Dravidians that were created by Aryans, we want to dismiss the idea of many gods and we want to make everyone realize the right approach to god. To eliminate all superstitious beliefs and barbaric behavior among Dravidians in the name of morality, religion etc. We want harmony and solidarity among people. Second: The selfish slaves and the irrational idiots spread vicious and foolish propaganda that ‘Dravidians and rationalists will destroy Tamil culture and Tamil literature and that they do not have any knowledge about our literature or culture.’ We want to prove them wrong and expose who these idiots, scoundrels and Aryan slaves really are in our conference.

Today, for the Dravidians, including those illiterate, the Kural is the only moral text. But this is forgotten by the high court judges, the prime minister, the commissioner, political leaders, god men. Even many Dravidians want to please the Brahmins and propagate the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Thiruvilaiyadal, and Periya Purana. We want to change this and want the public to denounce these texts. 

FP: So how did the Dravidar Kazhagam take part in this?

SP: Is there any particular group called the Dravidar Kazhagam? Excluding the ones that are mentioned above, that is, those who have greed for power, who are selfish, crooks, criminals who hide behind the puranas, the rest are all Dravidians.

FP: Is it so? After hearing the Brahmins in the tram, I thought this conference was about bashing the Brahmins. Only now do I understand it better. 

SP: Whenever a measure for the Dravidian people’s respect, welfare and progress is taken, the Brahmins cry foul saying that religion, god, literature, culture etc are all being ruined and that hatred is being sown against Brahmins. They pick the traitors and idiots from among us and make them join their drama. This is nothing new, this has been happening from the times of Skanda Purana or Ramayana. 

FP: Is it so? WIll anything change over just one conference?

SP: Let it change or not. What do we lose? Thousands of years of humiliation and ignorance will continue for some more time. In the future that our children will inherit, all these things, including the traitors among us, will vanish. In about ten years, if things do not change, the Dravidian land will turn into a communist land. Not the ‘underground’ kind, but a real communist country. So, if things do not change right away there is no loss.

FP: Well, let me take leave.

SP: Please do. 

Periyar’s satirical dialogue in the fictional name ‘Chithiraputhiran’. Published on Viduthalai on 12.01.1949.

Source: Periyar E. V. Ramasamy. 2015. Periyar Kalanjiyam 37: Thirukkural-Valluvar. [Periyar Repository 37: Thirukkural-Valluvar]. First Edition. Chennai: Periyar Suyamariyathai Prachaara Niruvanam, 87-91.

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