Rise and Fall of the ‘Dravidian’ Justice party, 1916-1946, Irish, Tellicherry, 2009, Rs. 100

Rise and Fall of the 'Dravidian' Justice Party The book ‘The Rise and Fall of the ‘Dravidian’ Justice party, 1916-1946’ is based on a speech delivered at Roja Muthiah Research Library, Chennai on 4th September 2009. More argues in this book that the non-Brahmin Justice party came into existence in the year 1916 in order to counter Tamil Brahmin domination of the political and administrative life of the Madras Presidency. It was promoted mainly by elite non-Tamil Telugu businessmen and zamindars like Pitti Theagaraja Chetty. It was later taken over by E.V. Ramasamy Naiker of Telugu-Kannada ancestry who renamed the Justice party as the DravidarKazhagam (Dravidian party). The Justice party remained a preserve of Telugu stalwarts right from its inception until it was converted to the Dravidar Kazhagam by E.V. Ramasamy Naiker, known popularly as Periyar. Tamil stalwarts played always a subordinate role in the Justice party as they were not in a position to counter the wealthy Telugu zamindari influence on the party.

     For the Justice party leaders, the Tamil Brahmins were of Aryan origin, while the non-Brahmin Tamils were Dravidian, sons of the soil. The Brahmins themselves contributed to the development of this racial theory as they rarely countered the propaganda of the Justice party leaders. However, some Tamil Brahmin stalwarts like Subramania Bharati claimed that Brahmins belonged to a mixed race. As a matter of fact, there were fair as well as dark Brahmins found all over the Tamil country. In spite of this the racial theory gained more ground especially with the emergence of the Dravidar Kazhagam. However while the non-Brahmin Tamils considered all south Indian non-Brahmins as Dravidians, many Telugus looked upon the non-Brahmin Tamils alone as Dravidians. Under the name ‘Dravidian’, many Telugus of the Madras presidency were able to dominate or play a significant role in the politics of the Madras Presidency and Thamizhnadu, though their mother tongue was not Tamil. This contributed to the decline of the political fortunes of the elite Tamil Brahmins whose mother tongue was always Tamil.