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Rajaji Views on the Education System in Tamilnadu

Akademische Arbeit 2019 87 Seiten

Pädagogik - Schulwesen, Bildungs- u. Schulpolitik


Table of Contents


The Emergence of a new society
The Composition of the New Elite
The Caste Structure in Madras Presidency
The Brahmins
The Formation of Caste Organization In Madras Presidency
Influence of Justice Party on Dravidian Movement
Justice Party Administration
Education in the Justice Party
Midday Meal Scheme
The Revival of the Programme
Madras Elementary Education Amendment Act
The Emergence Of The Dravida Kazhagam and Its Views On Education
Endnotes (Chapter- II)

Rajaji’s Second Ministry
C.R. Administration of Madras Presidency
Rajaji in National Movement
Governor-General of Independent India
Rajaji’s Vision and Ideas of Education
Gandhi’s Views on Education
Gandhi’s fundamental views of basic education
The Wardha scheme of Education
Rajaji’s Views on Education
Endnotes (Chapter-III)

The Details of the Scheme
The Mode of Introduction
The Scheme Withdrawn
The Alagappa Chettiar Committee Report.
Implementation of the suggestions of the report- a follow up action
Endnotes (Chapter- IV)

The Views of the Educationists
Criticism of the Shift System
Parulekar’s Scheme
Rajaji and Statham
Legal or Juristic Criticism
The Socialist Party Criticism
The Ruling Congress
In Defence of the Scheme
Aftermath of Agitation
The Battle over the Scheme
The Kulakalvi Thittam and the Experts Committee
The Trends after the formation of the Andhra State
Endnotes (Chapter- V)

An estimate


About the Author

Dr. Selvamani Ponnaiyan is at present an Assistant Professor in Department of History, Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar- Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu- India. Prior to this, she started her teaching career as a Part-time Lecturer in Central Law College, Salem and as Guest Faculty Lecturer in History in Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli. She has over 25 years of teaching and research experience. Having specialized in the History of India, South Indian History, History of Tamil Nadu, Temples Studies, Indian Culture and heritage, Human Rights and History of U.S.A, she has published several journals and articles on different issues of History in various reputed International and National journals. She also has participated in International Conference, National Conferences, National workshops and Symposia in various capacities on invitation and contributed useful articles and journals on varied topics. Besides, she also had visited many historical places of India and abroad like Sydney- Australia, and Singapore. The book also could serve as a useful reference of education.


Educational reforms have become very important in modern media, particularly since independence. In the years immediately after independence attention was directed towards basic and elementary education. Experts devoted much thought to improve particularly elementary education and experts suggested various methods. One such was the Modified Scheme of Education introduced by C. Rajagopalachari when he was Chief Minister of Madras State. This scheme was Kula Kalvi Thittam. According to this scheme of education of children should suite the traditions of each community and caste. That is, education was to be imparted as per the communal tradition so as to enable the children to be in touch with the vocation of the forefathers or even the family crafts. Upon this scheme scholars and leaders hold diametrically opposite views .However, the scheme was only applicable to elementary schools in rural areas. Basic schools and primary schools in urban areas were not covered under the scheme.

The dissertation was actuated to study about the elementary education because education toady seems to be in the melting pot and modern views are to make education employment oriented and all experts are suggesting self-employment as the best means to solve the unemployment problem. If so could the educational policy be oriented towards developing the nature crafts and industries. In this search the idea of Kulakalvi came uppermost and the ideas given by Gandhiji inspired Rajaji to introduce it. As Kulakalvi suggestive and implied that even at the elementary stage of education it must be viable of giving job or maintaining the genius of the family trade and business practices. This led to enquiry into the scheme business practices. This led to enquiry into the scheme introduced by C. Rajagopalachari. Again since after the introduction, the scheme evoked protest from critics so it was necessary to dive deep into an analysis of the scheme.

“This education is meant to transform village children into model villages. It is principally designed for them.”1 India lives in villages “Divorce between intelligence and labour was resulted in criminal religence of the villages.”2 Basic Education is also important because in creating a new India after independence basic education links the children, whether of the cities or the villages to all that is best and lasting in India.”3 Mahatma Gandhi wrote in the Harijan (9-10-1987) that his plan to impart primary education through the medium of village handicrafts like spinning and carding…. It provides a healthy and the village and thus go a long way towards eradicating some of the worst evils of the present social insecurity and poisoned relationship between the classes.4 The ideas of Gandhi influenced Rajaji to formulate an educational policy at the elementary school level. But this was criticized by politicians, educationist, social reformers etc. The study is aimed at understanding various features of the Kula Kalvi Thittam and criticisms and reactions leveled against by various other dignities.

This book is organized into six chapters. The first gives the theme of the study and mentions the reasons for choosing the scheme and also explains the objectives. The second chapter covers the socio-educational profile of Madras Presidency during and before the introduction of Kula Kalvi Thittam. It also focuses the attention to portray the social and communal politics of Madras Presidency. The political life of Rajaji, his political experiences, visions and ideas of education are expressed in the third chapter. The fourth chapter acclaims the introduction of Kula Kalvi Thittam, its broad features and make-shift of historical sequence. It represent that this policy is neither the national interests, nor the masses. This educational policy is represented on the personal bias of Rajaji, backed by the ambitions of the members of the upper classes and the Brahmin interests. The fifth chapter presents the critical view of the theorists, educationalists, politicians, writers and orators. It is also criticized because of its narrow-egoistic views. In the final chapter an attempt is made to summaries some of the concrete views of Kula Kalvi Thittam.


This chapter is devoted to highlight the social conditions on the eve of the introduction of Kula Kalvi Thittam. In dealing with this the environmental study approach helps to great extent. Environment consists of the bigger outer environment and the inner sub-environment. The schemes of education for the bigger environment namely Indian having noted, the dissertation enters into sub-environment of Tamil Nadu, the inner environment and centers upon education- Elementary education schemes and the relevant literature for the study. The core of the study lies around the elementary education. This elementary education in the vast subject of education through a micro-level approach is not without utmost importance since the child which starts to get this education, is the “Father of Man” in society. As youth and white paper take all impressions as Newton said the elementary education imparted to the young ones surely paves the way for a good higher education culminating into maturation of a good citizen.

The aftermath of Independence in India has triggered a chain of ideological movement social and political and series of economic situations which are concomitant with any struggle for freedom. These influences naturally the federating states have felt and Tamil Nadu a hoary land even from the beginning of civilization could not but be a pioneer in political, social and cultural reformation, renaissance or even revolution. It is an atmosphere of rational awakening and social stir.

The social conditions in Tamil Nadu were shaped by the general awakening of important movements in India perhaps, a legacy to those movements. Out of dust, Gandhiji has made us into men as D.F. Karaka write in his book out of Dust. There was the raise of new social classes in India. There was slowly the disappearance of the Zamindars, the Polygars, their interest and organizations. There was the rise of modern Indian Intelligentsia, the Modern Indian with its interest organizations and movements. Above all there was the rise of modern proletariat and the growth of working class movements and new social classes a consciousness of the common interest among the Dravidians and the role of the press in the development of this modern individual class self-determination social and religious reform movements as the expression of rational democratic awakening etc. lent a colour to the social awakening in Tamil Nadu. Man being a political animal could not but imbide these forces and these forces establishing a rational awakening which broke the conservative spell that had charmed the population hitherto created in Tamil Nadu, the modern Tamilian who came to possess a spirit of enquiry into everything.

The steel frame of Hinduism namely caste system came under the criticism of A.R. Desai: “The caste system of Hindus which divided the Hindu community into latitude of almost hermetically sealed groups, hierarchically graded and based on with, was one of the Principal targets of the socio-reform movement.”1 According to this author it was mere ancient than the Vedas which recorded its existence during the Vedic times. The caste system, as a result of racial admixture, geographical expansion, population growth and growth of crafts which brought into existence new vocations and jobs opportunities broke up into smaller castes, sub-castes and sub-castes (jatis). A.R. Desai writes to say that while Hinduism made for cultural unity of all the Hindus in the past, the caste system socially disintegrated them into an ever-increasing number of groups and sub-groups.2

There was the growing disintegration of the caste system shattered by new economic forces and forms introduced. Impact of modern cities teeming with cosmopolitan hotels, theatres, trams and trains, buses etc. how changed the views of the people. There was a severe tirade against the assumption of the Brahmin. Orthodoxy, impact ofnew legal systems, new social formations, new economic systems, the impact of new class struggles, impact of spreading modern education at all levels, the teaching and preaching of servants of society like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Debendranath Tagore, Keshab Chandra Sen, Gandhi, Ramalinga Swamy, political freedom fighters like Satyamurthi, C. Rajajgopalachari, Ramaswamy Naicker etc. reform of the caste was became a fundamental programme. Tamil Nadu was strongly involved in this awakening and anti-caste movements sprang up particularly against the orthodox sections of the society. The growth of nationalist movement also quickened the pace of weakening caste consciousness. Liberal federation like the Indian National Congress, the rise of the Justice Party and the Dravida Kazhagam, the philosophy of Periyar etc. quickened the anti-caste, anti-Brahmin movements. At the same time there were movements perpetuating caste system. “The most reactionary among them even used the reactionary institution caste to disrupt the growing unity of the masses.3

Literature on caste today are so vast that an Alexanderian Library could opened but this dissertation is more concerned with the movement in Tamil Nadu because it was in this atmosphere that the new elementary scheme of education was introduced. More than all the other national movements against casteism, the Dravida Kazhagam and the Justice Party in Tamil Nadu had a greater impact. The Muse of political history takes a pause to think of these two political and social movements.

The Emergence of a new society

At the beginning of this century, a significant transformation took place in the social life of the people of Tamil Nadu. A serious attempt had been made to purge the age long ills and anomalies in the society. The most popular terminology for the changes enough about in various states in the country either indirect or direct with the western nation is “Westernisation or Modernisation.” Daniel Lerner who prefers the term Modernisation to Westernisation defines it as “a disquieting positive spirit touching public institutions as well as private aspirations.”4 The term “Modernisation” carried different meanings. Jubian Steward has explained it as the socio-cultural transformation that results from factors and processes that distinctive of the contemporary “industrial world.”5 The transformation was obviously due to the introduction of English education. The birth of prose literature in Indian languages was one of the beneficial results of the contacts with the English literature.6 For a long-time literacy field was dominated by poetry. Now it was taken by prose which serves as the powerful vehicles for the thoughts and expression. The new ideas, absorbed through English language, changed the whole intellectual climate of the country. Thus, the new educational system, introduced by the English, became a formidable agent of westernizing influences. Thus the “Tennysonian dictum” old order changes the yielding place to New” found its lofty expression in this transformation.

One of the far-reaching results of the prolonged contact with the west as the emergence of a Westernised class with Percival Spear calls the middle class. There was a marked difference between the old middle class of India and the new one. The former played a very subordinate role in the affairs of India. “It was divided by distance, by language, by caste feeling and by occupation. It has no common consciousness and was dependent everywhere on the intellectual aristocracy of the Brahmanas and the land aristocracy of Sardars and Zamindars…. Each profession or vocation was insulted from others by walls of customs and prejudices.” 7 The first groups of people who benefitted much by the Western Education were the merchants and financiers at the seats of the British power. They put their talents at the services of the new rulers. Nandkumar and Anandarangan Pillai and Pachaiyappa Mudaliar were the most illustrious examples of this category of the people.

M.N. Srinivas designates this westernised group as “the New Elite.” It included University Students and teachers’ barristers and well-to-do traders.8 It was in fact the cream of the intelligentsia of the society. This was the reason who Lord Dufferin called this as “Microscopic Minority”. It is really distressing to note that only six percent of the total populations of India were literates; of these only less than one percent had any knowledge of English. The numbers of Indians educated in English in the last decades of the previous century was hardly 5, 00,000. In relation to the teeming millions of the county they were undoubtedly “a microscopic minority” but a dynastic minority. “As a rising group, concentrated mostly in the towns, imbued with common ideas and aspirations, controlling the profession, educational institutions and newspapers, and capable of concerted action, English educated Indians wield an influence in society which was out of proportion to their numerical strength.9

The lawyers were in the forefront of the newly emerging society. Their legal education moulded their social ideas. “The Rule of Law was to them the basis of all society”. The reforms of Lord Ripon had established a system of elected local self-Government in India as early as 1882-83. They served as “instruments for political and popular education rather than as the means for increased efficiency.” This in fact was the first political opening to the ambitions of the New Elite who received a very valuable training in local administration. The outstanding leaders of the Indian National Congress such as Phiroza Shah Mehta, C. Rajagopalachari, Vallabhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru, as well as Dr. T.M. Nair and Theagaraya Chetty, the founders of the Justice Party had their first administrative experience in the Municipalities of their respective areas. The reform of Lord Ripon gave the New Elite a sphere to prove that administrative talents.10

The Composition of the New Elite

The New Elite cut through all the castes from the highest Brahmin to the lower pariah. The intellectual leaders of this class came from all sections irrespective of their positions in the hierarchy of caste. Nonetheless. a good percentage of them were high caste Brahmins. However, they “foreswore caste and accepted the need of equality.” Keshab Chandra Sen, the prophet of the Brahmo Samaj, Vivekananda, the Champion of New Hinduism, Aurobindo, the Philosopher of new India, were all members of non-Brahmins castes while Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ramakrishna and Tagore were Brahmins who denounced the concept of caste. Even in the orthodox South, Dr. T.M. Nair, the leaders of the Social Democratic movement, Sankara Nair and Theagaraya Chetty rose to political eminence as “doughty fighters against caste.”11 Thus the emergence of the elite class contributed much to the breakdown of the system of caste.

However, it is generally assumed that the New Elite drawn disproportionately from the Brahmin castes of the population. Writers like Edward Sils, B.B. Misra and Selig S. Harrison held the view that “Brahmins with modern Education served the British in civil service. For a long time the madras and Bengali Brahmin led the way in service of the British and they were pre-dominant among the Indians in the Indian Civil Services.12 Even the political field was dominated by the Brahmins. That was the reason why the castes which were below the Brahmins ventured to mobilize themselves and started a movement demanding a share in the new opportunities. To quote M.N. Srinivas “The Backward Class Movement everywhere went with a certain amount of anti-Brahmanism.” Thus the Westernization which created a new class of New Elites gave birth not only to positive forces like nationalism but also negative forces such as communalism, casteism and regionalism.

The Caste Structure in Madras Presidency

The composite state of Madras was a home of conservatism and orthodoxy where caste had taken deep root and its ramifications were numerous. One caste widely differed from another both in the mode of dress and in the way of life. “The higher the caste zealously preserved their traditional styles of life even to the extent of cooking or serving food in particular manner.”13 The modern political development had divided the Hindus of Tamil Nadu into three groups: the Brahmins, the non-Brahmins and the untouchables.

The Brahmins

The Brahmins, the highest caste in Hindu Social hierarchy, occupied an eminent position in Tamil Nadu as also elsewhere. “Though only a small segment of the population, they had decisive say in all aspects of life and have been in the fore-front in many spheres. Their contribution to the heritages of India has not been doubted but they have also been guilty of perpetuating an iniquitous social order.”14

The Formation of Caste Organization In Madras Presidency

It is very difficult to discuss the reasons for the proliferation of caste association in the Presidency of Madras. However, M.N. Srinivas attempts to explain the situation which facilitated the growth and development of caste organizations. The mighty revolution which took place in the field of transport and communication during the British regime was one of the primary causes for the mobility of the people from one region to another. The British administrators launched schemes for the improvement of communications and transport. They constructed railways, dug canals and laid roads which were the linkages of trade and social intercourse.15 As a result, new towns and cities emerged and they became centers of economic, administrative and educational activities which integrated the previously demolished communities together.

The growth of literacy as result of Tamilian renaissance caused intellectual awakening among the people of Madras Presidency and helped them to get politicesd. Similarly, the press, a powerful agency of modernization carried the ideas and thoughts of people of one group to another over long distance and created wider areas of social perceptions. M.N. Srinivas is of the opinion that new patterns of mobility which the caste associations encouraged shattered the extreme parochialism of South India life and paved the way for wider social contact.16

A few trading communities like Komatis who were keen on utilizing the new opportunities “used kinship and local caste institutions to organize their business.” Consequently, their commercial activities were greatly extended; their contacts was widened; their marriage alliance were ought over wider areas. To quote C.J. Baker, “Often these wider networks focused expression in caste associations.”17 Trading communities of South India such as the Devangas of Salem and Coimbatore, Nadars of Tinnevelly and Ramnad, Komatis from Andhra districts and Berri Chettis in Madras organized caste associations of this kind. “These associations addressed themselves to social reform within the caste and sought to secure a better position for the caste in the wider society.”18

Unintentionally the Government of Fort St. George became the foster-mother of these caste organizations. “From the later 19th century the Madras Government showed itself increasingly ready to listen to political petitions couched in the language of caste, and to distribute Government favors with at least one eye on caste considerations.”19 This has been amply evidenced by the receipt of representation from various caste groups by Edwin Montagu in 1917. Knowing the attitude of the Government of Madras, the politicians used the caste idioms while petitioning to the Government on matters of their own interest. “In the political context, caste associations represented functional groupings men came together because rewards were available to them a group.”20 This had encouraged even the prominent peasant communities of the South India namely Reddis and Kammas in Andhra and Gounders in Tamil Nadu to mobilize themselves as caste groups. Despite their parochial nature, these caste associations performed a commendable social service. They established banks and served like freemason brothers. Almost all caste organizations encouraged education by running student hostels and instituting scholarships with a view to pushing their representative into public services. R. Suntharalingam considers the emergence of caste associations as a 20th century phenomenon and as the outcome of the failure of the professional elite to resolve tensions generated by the uneven race of the western impact on South India.21

In the light of the discussion embodied in the foregoing pages, it may be deduced that the emergence of the Justice Party was fundamentally “a movement to achieve mobility on the part of the caste groups which had lagged behind Brahmins in Weternisation.”22

The Justice Party and the Dravidakazhagam represent two important political forces that created the anti-caste environment. These two are part and parcel of Dravidian movement. The Dissertationist would better like to use the phrase the self-determination of Tamilians in Tamil Nadu.

In 1958 elections were influenced by the emergence of the Telugu sub-nationalism was a result of the desire of the Andhras to form an Andhra Sate out of the Telugu speaking tracts of the Madras presidency. The Indian National Congress had envisaged the need for the linguistic provinces. In Tamil Nadu at this time there was in the society a widening gap between the Tamilians and Telugus based linguistic nationalism.23 But Nehru Cabinet delayed the formation and keep cool over the demand. This apathy or inconsiderate policy led to the split in the Andhra Congress on the eve of the elections. TangaturiPrakasam joined the KarshakMazdurPraja Party.24 A strong opposition was formed by the Andhra Communist Party. In the Telugu speaking areas of the Madras State the congress was nearly rooted out.

Hitherto in Tamil Nadu, the Tamilians did not get opportunities to know about their haory past. In the society Sanskrit scholars had given a back-bench to Tamilians and many do not realize their social status. Another important social movement that seriously affected the trend of events in Madras sate before and after the 1952 election was the Dravidians renaissance or reawakening. The Justice Party had launched against Brahmins domination and formed the Vanguard of the anti-Brahmin agitational politics in Tamil Nadu in the twenties and the thirties.25 The Dravidian Movement utilized caste as the watchword and the catchword for the agitation. Nicholas and brass show how alliances are often made across caste for the pursuit of political goals or objectives.26 In Tamil Nadu interpretation of caste was not according to the four-caste system or Varna but it was on the three-fold division, Brahmin, non-Brahmin and Harijan. It was mainly motivated as a non-brahmin movement and it gets strengthened. Writes Andre Beteille “The non-Brahmin movement provided a common platform not only for a wide variety of Hindu castes but also for Christians and Muslims. It also added a dimension to the unity of the Brahmins which grew in response to the non-Brahmins challenge.27 The thirties also witnessed the gradual transformation of the Congress in Tamil Nadu from an elitist Brahmin dominated party to a mass based democratic one led by non- Brahmins. There was the Justice Party an elitist party this was eclipsed by the Congress. Out of the spoils of the Justice Party a non-elitist Dravidian Movement rose.

Influence of Justice Party on Dravidian Movement

The real impetus to Dravidian Movement did not come until the formation of the South India Liberal Federation popularly known as Justice Party.28 The Dravidians Movement“Sir P. Theagaraja Chetty an industrialist and a member of the Madras Corporation and Dr. T.M. Nair brought together the non-Brahmin leaders in November 1916 to find ways and means to check the increasing power of the Brahmin caste and forward the South Indian peoples Association. Its official news organ called Justice saw the light of day in the form of its first issue on February 26, 1917. The “Dravidian” a Tamil Daily soon followed it. A Telugu paper called “Andhra Prakasika” also was edited. In December 1916Theagaraja Chetty, Secretary of the Association issued “The Non-Brahmins Manifesto”. It surveyed the conditions of the non-Brahmins community and gave directions for advancement. The ratio of Non- Brahmins to Brahmins was declared 22:1. The untouchables alone outnumber Brahmins by 5:1. “The Brahmin, however, because of education, religious authority, economic power, political influence and social prestige stood as exclusive elite juxtapositions to the illiterate masses which constituted more than 95 per cent of the society.29 It may be noted here that the prime factor in Brahmin domination is attributed to education.

The manifesto voiced an alarm at the increasing Brahmin agitation for Home Rule. The Justice Party did not favor the Home Rule Movement. “We are the manifesto proclaimed” deeply devoted and loyally attached to British rule. The Justice Party though it spoke for the masses was really an elitist group, Dr. T.M. Nair was its prominent spokesman. The era of Keralites playing a major leadership in Tamil Nadu begins with Mr. Nair. The first conference of the party was held at Coimbatore in August 1917. The Rajah of Panagal an Indian Legislative Council member was elected as President. The Justice Party pushed its progressive social reform and adamantly attacked caste and Brahmin domination and particularly the exclusive oligarchy of Brahmins and Brahmincal tyranny.

The Governor of Madras Lord Willington acting on the advice given by the Justice Party leaders appointed the Raja of Panagal as First Minister in 1920. The Congress had boycotted the council. In the 1923, Second Council elections the Swarajists wing of the Congress contested the election with the motive of obstructing form within but the Justice Party emerged triumphant. L.D.S. Pillai defeated his Congress rival for President Ship of Legislative Council. “Anti- Brahminism was riding high on tide of reforms directed towards the betterment of the non-Brahmin majority of Madras.”30

Justice Party Administration

In the 12 years of Justice Party Ministry Madras Sate has benefited in various measures:

1. It set right the imbalance in the representing various communities and improved the status of the depressed class.
2. The communal G.O.S of 1921 and 1922 provided better opportunities for the reservation of appointments in Local bosied and educational institutions for non- Brahmins.31
3. The Panagal Ministry brought the Staff Selection Board and it became the Public Service Commission in 1929.
4. Women were enfranchised. Industries act was passed in 1922. The Devadasi system was strictly prohibited.
5. Above all primary education was given to depressed classes through fee concession, scholarships, etc.
6. Sir ThiagarajaChettiar introduced the mid-day meals scheme and land pattas were distributed to ppor people for building houses. This was an age of reforms no doubt.
7. By the efforts SirBathro, elementary education grew up. Students from all castes were admitted.

From 1926 Dr. Subbarayan headed the Ministry. Devan Bahadur Arogya Swami Mudaliar and A. RenanathaMudaliar were co-opted Ministers. In 1926, the general Elections were not favourable to Justice Party and it was an eye opener to the party leaders that the Justice party has to be strengthened. Attempts in this direction were made. Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker and the Justice Party started his whirlwind propaganda for social reform and removal of caste. The self-respect Conference on 17-18 February 1929 under the Presidentship of ThiruSoundaraPandiya in Chingalpat highly strengthened the Justice Party. Sir P. T. Rajan was chosen as the leader of the party in the Nellore Conference. In 1930 Dewan Bahadur Munisamy Naidu formed the Fourth Ministry. Sir P.T. Rajan and Dewan Bahadur Kumaraswamy Reddiar joined as coaliton. The anti-caste particular anti- Brahmin this found a political and administrative expression thought the Justice Party. It must be pointed out that everything was done only for the regeneration of the non-Brahmins.

The defeat of the Justice Party showed that nationalist movement was gaining momentum and existing social system was not satisfactory. Many from the faction ridden party drifted or floated into the Congress. The Congress attacked Justice Party in severe terms calling it as a tool of British Raj, and agent of British Imperialism. “The Justice Party had strangled itself on the rope it had woven. Support of the British Raj had brought it had brought it to power but with the impact of national self-consciousness and aspiration for Swaraj its imperial connections brou8ght it defeats.32 The subsequent performance of the Justice Party after the elections under the Government of India Act of 1935 belied all hopes. “The reason for this political failure to function even as a sizeable opposition party must be found in the absence of a mass base and the cadre of village level workers essential for a party organization. It was a party of leaders… the glamour of the brightly dressed Rajas and Zamindars who led the party could not hold together the masses for long. More important still was the lack of homogeneity among the numerous non-Brahmin castes. A few castes which were traditionally dominant in several localities dominated the party and the leaves and fishes of office went to young graduates of these castes.

There were no crumbs even thrown to the aspiring and hungry young man of lower castes who came to known even then as Backward Classes let along the depressed classes. Thus speaks33 A.N. Sattanathan in his Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker Endowment Lectures in Madras University in 1981 under the Captain “The Dravidian Movement in Tamil Nadu and its legacy.” What was still needed in Tamil Nadu was direct social revolution. The non-Brahmins had to be united and saved from the divide and rule policy of Brahmins.

The mass base had to be provided and that mass appeal and base was to come in the future due to the exertions of the scholar writer and orator from conjeevaram C.N. Annathurai. But one thing is to be noted and that is what is wanted by the researcher scholar, namely, the Justice Party tried its level best to throw open basic, agricultural and college education to all people. All reforms could succeed only if the mind is reformed and education reforms and refines the mind- this concept was adhered to by the Justice Party. Politically there may be failure but socially they act the path clear for the later leaders of Tamil Nadu.

Education in the Justice Party

Free and compulsory elementary education was one of the basic principles of the Justice Party ever since its inauguration that elementary education must be made free and compulsory. A demand for it had been made in the original Non- Brahmin manifest of 1916. Subsequently resolutions repeating the same demand were passed. The Coimbatore conference held on 19th August 1917 passed the following resolution:

This conference is of opinion that primary education is the first need of the country, that the efforts that have been made to diffuse education among the people are quite inadequate and that Government should give prominent place to any scheme that maybe suggested for imparting free primary education to the people and making it compulsory in all Municipal areas.34

Education, a vital subject was not wholly entrusted to the care of the elected ministers. European and Anglo-Indian Education was rescued subject. The authors of the constitution ostensibly avoided entrusting the education of those communities both care of the Indian Ministers.35 Nevertheless the central Legislature possessed concurrent jurisdiction on all essential matters concerning the universities. But education was one of the fields in which the work of the justice party enough in a great progress. During the regime education of all categories elementary, secondary and collegiate- mad rapid strides.

Free and compulsory education was one of the arrowed principles of the Justice Party ever since its inception. It was only in the city of Madras that free and compulsory education was introduced for the first time for boys and girls. A great impetus was given to the education of girls by making free education free beyond eight standards.36 Gradually free and compulsory education was introduced in several municipalities. By 1925 in nearly eighteen out of twenty municipalities it had been put into practice. Likewise, in rural areas many elementary schools had been started. The Rajah of Panagal who presidesover the second All IndiaNon-Brahmin Congress, held at Amraoti on 27th December 1925, reviewed the work of his party after coming to power. He said that “during the last five years in Madras, elementary education increased by leaps and bounds…. Before the end of the next year it is expected that there will not be a single village with a total population of over 500 which will not have its own village’s school.”37 A.P. Petro who held education portfolio during the first two ministries evinced a lot of interest in the promotion of both elementary and higher education. Only during his period education was “taken to the door of the villager and habituate him to the necessity of literacy”.

Attention was paid to the education of fisher children by the Department of Fisheries, which maintained thirty-seven fishing schools on the West Coast. Nearly 3,000 boys and 1,500 girls in these schools wereoffered free construction of a special type bearing on the fishermen’s calling. To provide trained teachers fishery techniques a special training institute was established at Calicut. These schools, indeed, contributed. These schools indeed contributed much to be improvement of the material and moral welfare of the fisher folk.38

Midday Meal Scheme

P. Theagaraya Chetty, a good Samaritan, gave a fillip to the cause of elementary education by introducing a humanitarian measure. Most of the children attending corporation schools were half starved.

As early as 1920 the Corporation of Madras (with the approval of its council) catered weakfast to the students of corporation school at Thousand Lights at a cost not exceeding one anna per day pupil.39 P. Theagaraya Chetty who was at that time the president of the Corporation explained that the reason for exceptional treatment meted out to he pupils in the school was that they were poor and poverty was the cause of their strength of the school. There were hardly 165 pupils in that school. Subsequently four more schools were enough under the school. The admission of students in those five schools demonstrated a “dramatic improvement”from a combined strength of 811 in 1922-23 to 1671 in 1924-1925. The financial commitment of the corporation was heavy involving expenditure Rs. 7,000/- Since this expenditure was met from the Elementary Education fund, the Government of Fort St. George questioned its validity and disallowed the expenditure which resulted in the suspension of the programme from 1st April 1925.40 The dropping of this scheme led to a drop of almost 40 percent of the students from schools. The enrolment in these five schools dropped heavily from 1.832 to 1, 110 during the same year. Responsible people felt that the programme.

The Revival of the Programme

The suspension of midday meal scheme created a great uproar in the Corporation Council. Many councilors wanted the immediate resumption of this scheme. Therefore, the council resolved to carry on the programme by meeting the cost from the General Fund of the Corporation. However, the programme was revived only in April 1927. Nearly 1,000 poor students in twenty-five schools desired its benefit. The enrolment in the five schools referred to earlier also rose up. Thus, the credit of introducing this welfare measure to young pupils unmistakably goes to the Justice Party.41 It cannot be denied that the measure adopted by the Justice party attracted the socially backward and poor children to school and paved the way for their uplift.

Despite the efforts of the Justice Party in making compulsory education a popular scheme much headway could not be achieved. Hence the Government of Madras decided to organize and improve all stages and grades of education and it undertook a “Comprehensive survey of the whole field of education and rescrutiny of the reports presented by the special committees appointed in the last few years as well as very important report of the Auxillary Committee of the Indian Statutory Commission popularly known as the Hart of Committee.42 The structure of the educational system was thoroughly examined and some of the conclusions arrived at by the Government of Madras and their proposals were embodied in the press communiqué No. 1938 dated 26th June, 1937.43 An Education Committee of the Provincial Economic Advisory Council was constituted under the Chairman ship of this Education Minister S. KumaraswamiReddiyar. It considered ways and means for the expansion of elementary education and the possibility of introducing compulsion in all villages and towns with a population of 5,000 and more. The recommendations of the committee aimed at (1). Eliminating the wastage of children who joined the school but left before the attainment of permanent literacy; (2) encouraging more children to attend the school voluntarily; and (3) finding out the possibility of enforcing compulsion on children to attend school and to remain there until they attain permanent literary. The Committee further analysed the question of compulsion. It was view of that if compulsion was introduced into any areas only boys between six and eight and girls between five and seven should be compelled to attend school and remain at school until the age of twelve in the case of girls or until they completed sixth standard.44

Madras Elementary Education Amendment Act

The Government of Madras felt that a “large amount of money spent by the Government on elementary Education … went as a waste because the students lapsed into illiteracy in their later type.” Therefore, it contemplated on a scheme to prevent the waste public funds and “ensure that all moneys spent by the Government in the cause of elementary education really tend to improve literacy.” Hence, the amendment of the Madras Elementary Education Act of 1920 was amended. Justice Party did amend this act was specially meant to augment the sources of Elementary Education Fund. But the Act, amended in 1935 was enacted with a view to eliminating wastages by making elementary education compulsory for boys and girls of certain age. In other words, it was introduced as a modified form of compulsion by ensuring that the child entering the school could not be removed within the period of its school age. It also provided “for penalty recoverable from the offending parent instead of his prosecution for failure to send the child to school.”45 There was a lot of criticism against the method of compulsion contemplated in the Act. The critics were of opinion that “all endeavors to introduced compulsion must wait till schools had become greatly improved that they would attract students of their own accord without any coercion.” Replying to criticism the Minister for Education firmly stresses that compulsion was the only way and proper method of stopping wastage. But at the same time he agreed with the view that the poor children should be given some additional nourishment in schools. The Minister while appealing to the members of the council to support this measure of amendment maintained; “Let us be the pioneers of introducing the system of compulsory education which is supported by such an authoritative body like the Royal Commission on Agriculture.” The will was then passed. It was salutary measure which facilitated a rapid expansion of mass education. Taking in to consideration the financial constraints that the popular ministry had to face for the simple reason that finance was a reserved subject, far reaching changes contemplated could not be translated into action. Yet a large increase in enrolment of students in elementary schools indicated that the long in differences and disinterest of the masses was slowly fading away. What the Justice Party had done for the cause of elementary education was really noteworthy.

The Emergence Of The Dravida Kazhagam and Its Views On Education

In the South Indian Political and Social horizon, the Dravida Kazhagam, a part of the Dravidian Movement began to shine like a lodestar and it is associated mainly with the name of E.V. Ramaswami Naicker (1879-1973) referred to in a Tamil Nadu as Periyar the great one. In December 1925, Periyar started the Self-respect Movement. Early in his life, Periyar started a career of trade and politics. He joined the non-co-operation movement and was a Congress Member. He advocated the use of Khaddar, abolition of untouchability and fought for prohibition. During his years in Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, he opposed the Brahmins. In 1925, he left the Congress on the issue of communal representation and initiated the self-respect movement. By this Satyagraha at Vaikam for the Harijan entry into the Siva temple, he has earned name and fame as Vaikam Veerar. His association with the Justice Party strengthened his position in his anti-caste and anti-Brahmin crusade. “What was left of the Justice Party, Periyar took over to the Dravida Kazhagam in 1944.46

The dynamic personality of the “Ven ThadiVendar” and his ideological talk, mellifluous criticism made the Dravida Kazhagam popular. In this it was quite unlike the Justice Party. Though it began as a social reform movement its effects was ultimately profoundly political.47 He said self-respect should come before self-rule. The Dravida Kazhagam was dedicated to the goal of giving non-Brahmins a respect for themselves based on the hoary past of the Dravidians, who existed long long ago. The Dravida Kazhagam denied caste system and the superiority of the Brahminism. Periyar carried on his work in the Self-respect aims till shortly before his demises. The Self-Respect Movement was against Arya Mayah. The Self-Respect Movement became the seeding ground of many later. The Self-Respect Movement functioned as a forum and political platform and its objectives were in a way realised. When finally, in 1967 the D.M.K. attained power and formed a government of non-Brahmins in Tamil Nadu.48 It is worth mentioning with relevance to this dissertation that E.V.R. involved himself in the Anti-Hindi campaign forward his doctrine of Dravidashtan. Thus, separatist movements also started. Another that accompanied this suggestion was the language question, the role of Hindi and Periyar was deeply concerned with the problem of driving out of Tamil Nadu.C. Rajagopalachari agreeing with the Congress decision proclaimed Hindi as a compulsory language in the higher education and in High Schools. E. V. R rose to the occasion to voice his vehement protest. Spratt, describes the event as a “major turning point in the history of the state.”49 In 1948 also E. V. R opposed the introduction of Hindi in schools. In 1952 the anti-Hindu campaigns became virulent and name boards in Railways stations were tarred over.

The year 1956 witnessed a repetition of the year 1952. His marriage with Mani Ammai and several others factors like Dictatorship Vs Democratic leadership led to break away politics a group under the leaderships of C.N. Annathurai and the formation of the DravidaMunnetraKazhagam. Even then in all affairs E. V. R’s voice prevailed. Till his death on 24th December 1973,Periyar was a powerful force in politics of South India.

The present education does not enrich the knowledge and wisdom of the people. The purpose of the education is to create an orderly and disciplined society. The present education cannot achieve this. I hope you will agree with me when I say that the education imported from the primary stages to higher level is merely a contrivance to safeguard to tyrannic rulers. Our education is for the prolongation of slavery. Our education gives no scope for self-respect….In short, our education is like a machine producing mostly traitors.50 He advocated women’s education and emphasized education. For having self-respect and freedom, he aptly puts it when he says that there is no need to waste so much money to teach children that a dog has four legs, a cat has tail and the blind have no eyes. Even without any teaching the child will observe it and know it. It also not necessary to make such a gulliable propaganda about primary education.51 Self-respect, universal brotherhood, equality, rationalism and freedom are all the primary educational needs. His views on educational reforms are highly radical of the present type is greatly exploitation, and that educational institutions became coaching centers for slavery and sham. The splinter from D.K. formed itself into the D.M.K Party which played the most prominent part in South Indian politics under its famous led C.N. Annadurai. The D.M.K. ministry was a very powerful and holds the same views as the decay in educational matters. The D.M.K. Party split into the D.M.K and A.D.M.K. The A.D.M.K. is under leadership of M.G. Ramachandran who is now the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.


1. M.K. Gandhi, Constructive Programme: Its Meaning and Place. (Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 1948), p. 15.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. M.K. Gandhi, India of my Dreams (Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 1947), p. 187.

1. A.R. Desai, Social Background of Indian Nationalism, (Bombay: Popular Prakasan, 1976), p. 243.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid., p. 257.

4. M.N. Srinivas, Social Change in Modern India, Reprinted (New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan, 1977), p. 50.

5. Indian Journal of Political Science, Sept. 1979, p. 419.

6. N.V. Sovani, “British Impact of India”, in Guys Metraux and Francois Crouzet (ed), Studies in the Cultural History of India (Agra: Shiva Lal Agarwal & Co. (P.) Ltd., 1965), pp. 322-323.

7. Percival Spear, The Oxford History of Modern India 1740-1975 (Madras: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 289.

8. B.B. Misra, The Indian Political Parties (New Delhi: Oxford University, 1976), p. 37.

9. S.R. Mehrotra, Towards India’s Freedom and Partition (Delhi: Vikas Publishing, 1979), p. 13.

10. K.M. Panikkar, The Foundations of New India (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1963), p. 83.

11. Ibid., p. 95.

12. M.N. Srinivas quotes Edward Shills in Social Change in Modern India. Reprinted. (New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan, 1977), p. 68.

13. Andre Beteille, “Caste and Political Group Formation in Tamil Nadu”, in Rajiji Kothari , (ed), Caste in Indian Politics, (Delhi: Orient Longman, 1970), p. 263.

14. R.G.K., “Downfall of Brahmins”, The Illustrated Weekly of India, 20 May 1978.

15. D.A. Washbrook, The Emergence of Provincial Politics: The Madras Presidency, 1870-1920 (Delhi: Vikas, 1976), p. 261.

16. M.N. Srinivas, ed., Caste in Modern India and other Essays (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1962), p. 16.

17. C.J. Baker, The Politics of the South India, 1920-1937 (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 1976), p. 196.

18. Andre Beteille, Caste: Old and New (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1969), p. 181.

19. D.A. Washbrook, “Development of Caste Organization in South India, 1880-1925” in C.J. Baker and D.A. Washbrook, (ed.), South India: Political Institutions and Political Change 1880-1940 ( Delhi: Macmillan, 1975), p. 192.

20. C.J. Baker, The Politics of South India, 1920-1937 (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 1976), p. 196.

21. R. Sundaralingam, preface to 1974 edition of Politics and Nationalist Awakening in South India (Tuscon: University of Arizona Press, 1974), p. XIV.

22. M.N. Srinivas, Social Changes in Modern India, Reprinted. (New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan, 1977), p. 114.

23. A.R. Desai, Social Background of Indian Nationalism (Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1976), p. 388.

24. Selig S. Harrison, India, The most Dangerous Decades (Bombay: Oxford University Press, 1968), pp. 234-35.

25. G.K. Lieton, Caste in Class Politics, Economic and Political Weekly, 1976, Annual Number.

26. Andre Beteille, Caste and Political Group Formation in Tamil Nadu (New Delhi: Orient Longmans, 1970), p. 259.

27. Ibid., p. 264.

28. Robert L. Hardgrave Jr., The Dravidian Movement (Bombay: Popular Prakshan, 1965), p. 13.

29. Eugene Irschick, Politics and Social Conflict in South India (Bombay: Oxford University Press, 1969), pp. 319-322.

30. Robert L. Hardgrave Jr., The Dravidian Movement (Bombay: Popular Prakasham, 1965), p. 21.

31. Saraswati, Minorities in Madras State (New Delhi: Impex India, 1974), p. 42.

32. Robert L. Hardgrave Jr., The Dravidian Movement (Bombay: Popular Prakasham, 1965), p. 24.

33. A.N. Sattanathan, The Dravidian Movement in Tamil Nadu and its Legacy (Madras: University of Madras, 1982), p. 17.

34. T. Varadarajulu Naidu (Comp) The Justice Movement, 1917. Section II, p. 20.

35. Kerala Putra, The Working of Dyarchy in India, 1919-1928 (Bombay: D.B. Taraporevala Sons & Co., 1928), p. 43.

36. T.A.V. Nathanm, ed., The Justice Year Book 1929, Sec I. (n.p. 1930), pp. 20- 21.

37. N.N. Mitra, The Indian quarterly Register, Vol. II. July to December, 1925, (Calcutta, n.d), p. 393.

38. Justice, 19 Aug. 1936, also reproduced in Sir. P.T. Rajan’s Eighty Second Birthday Souvenir 1973, pp. 233, 234.

39. The Hindu, dated 6th December. 1982, Madras.

40. Law (Education) G.O. No. 1890, 3 Dec. 1924. This is also cited in the Hindu, 6 Dec. 1982.

41. In fact, it anticipated what K. Kamaraj did in 1956 and M.G., Ramachandran, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, is doing at present.

42. Report on Public Instruction for the year, 1937, p. 3.

43. Ibid., p. 4.

44. Ibid.

45. RAMP, 1934-35, pp. XIV- IV.

46. Anita Diehl, A study of the Influence of personality in contemporary South India (Bombay: B.I. Publications, 1978), p. 15.

47. Ibid., p. 16.

48. Ibid.

49. P. Spratt, D.M.K. in Power (Bombay: Nachi keta Publications, 1970), p. 29.

50. Periyar E.V. Ramaswami, Reform of Education (Madras, Periyar Self-Respect Propaganda Institution, 1983), p. 5.

51. Ibid., p. 7.


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Titel: Rajaji Views on the Education System in Tamilnadu