Both are Worse!

-Periyar E.V. Ramasamy

Translated by Karthick Ram Manoharan and Vilasini Ramani

The discrimination that follows from notions of high and low among the human community based on birth, skin color, religion, or any other reason is worse than barbarism and such practices should be demolished. We have been saying at different occasions that getting equal rights and equal justice should be the ultimate goal of all people. 

While around the world, discriminations and differential treatment based on color is slowly changing, unfortunately, the discrimination based on one’s birth or one’s work still continues to exist in this subcontinent and is even legalized; worse, such discriminations are covered-up in order to turn them into a permanent affair.

Even the Whites are ready to change their laws and give up on racist practices; but in this country, whether the land is hit by a massive flood or devastated by an earthquake, people are adamant on not giving up such practices. 

Those who pay attention to the living condition of the common people here will understand the suffering they undergo based on how they are being discriminated against based on birth. 

We ask if someone can refuse the truth that people here are seen as untouchables, prevented from using the roads, discriminated against on the basis of the food they eat. Is it fair when prejudiced people of this country complain that the Whites are racists? One should note that discrimination based on one’s birth is worse than discrimination based on skin color.

The Whites have realized their blunder of being racists and are changing; they apparently have decided to supply weapons to the citizens of South Africa for self-defense. The racial discrimination in industries are slowly being eradicated in Canada. There is a news on 27th July 1941 that says that the woodworks union in America have decided to include all other unions without discrimination on color. The same news further says that based on this move, the union in Vancouver has decided to include Indians and the decision has been welcomed. 

Perhaps because of the turbulent times, they have realized the harm that befalls upon themselves due to ignorance and stupidity. But here in this country, if casteist and arrogant people have no mercy and have hearts of stone, how is it wrong if we say that they are worse than the racists?

It is only because racial discrimination was not eliminated, the biggest empires that spread across the world were shaken in the course of time. One could be glad that the realization dawned, even if very late. But unless racial discrimination is completely abolished, we believe that the worse effects it has left behind will take a long time to heal.  

Though one can deduce from their actions that the Whites have started regretting their mistakes, the ones from this country have still not realized the bigger mistake of discriminating against people in the name of caste and birth. It is by keeping us permanently divided on this basis that one class has been able to exercise dominance over us. We don’t realize that because of these divisions crores of our people are controlled by a minority group of people who rule over us. Worse, the common people fight against each other and reinstate the divisions between them.

By observing the developments in the world or at least by looking at how the Whites are strengthening themselves by giving up that which is discriminatory, shouldn’t we also have a change of mentality? It is not an honest approach to condemn others for their discriminatory practices while we continue to practice our own. The knowledgeable wouldn’t act this way. The world would only mock them saying ‘Look at your own mistakes before pointing fingers at others.’ So those who condemn racial discrimination should first come forward to annihilate the racial and caste discrimination in their own land, practiced by their own class. If only they are ready to do it, wouldn’t the miseries of this subcontinent vanish away?

Viduthalai  23.03.1942


Periyar E. V. Ramasamy. 2011. Periyar Kalanjiyam 8: Jaathi-Theendaamai, Paagam (2). [Periyar Repository 8: Caste-Untouchability Part (2)]. Second Edition. Chennai: Periyar Suyamariyathai Prachaara Niruvanam, pp. 183-185.

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