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"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home  > The Tamil History - History & Geography > Constitution of Self Respect League

Self Respect League (Suya Mariyathai Iyakkam)
Samadharma Party of South India

Constitution of the Samadharma Party of South India
published by E.V.R. in Kuti Aracu - 1 January 1933
[See also Periyar E.V.Ramaswamy ]

The Erode Programme

The Aims and Ideals of the Self-Respect Party of South India

1. The statement of complete independence from the British and other forms of capitalist governments.

2. The cancellation of all national debts.

3. Public ownership of railways, banks, shipping and other transport services and waters and lands, etc.

4. Public ownership without compensation of all agricultural lands, forests and lands, etc.

5. Cancellation of all private debts and other obligations incurred by the workers and peasants.

6. Changing of all Native States into one common Indian Federation under the rule of the workers and peasants of India.

7. Improving the lives of the workers and peasants of the land by securing for them more than seven hours labour, increased wages, State aid for their unemployed, health resorts, free libraries and other cultural facilities.

8. These shall form the main ideals of the Self-Respect Party.
 

Self-Respect League: Samadharma Party of South India: Proposals

Preamble:

Whereas, the Self-Respect Party, during the past eight years has very largely succeeded in rousing the attention of the mass people to the enormity of their superstitious habits, customs, and practices of their religion and caste, and of their degraded economic conditions of life,

Whereas, it is becoming increasingly evident that such irrational religious and caste habits and customs and their low economic conditions of life, cannot be done away with, except through state action, and,

Whereas, it is further evident that the various political, social and religious bodies and institutions are ever more determined to hold the masses in social, religious and economic bandage and degradation, through their political organisation all over the country, and,

Whereas, the safeguards adopted by the Round Table Conference for the perpetuation of pernicious religious practices of inhuman caste distinctions are inimical to and destructive of all rational life of the masses,

Object:

It is hereby proposed to form from the body of Self-Respectors, a political party called The Samadharma Party of South India, to carry out the following main objects, namely,

I. To obtain by constitutional means and methods, the repeal of all irrational safeguards for the private enjoyment of public utilities, for all harmful religious and caste practices and habits, and thereby free the masses from their degrading religious and caste superstitions and habits and improve their economic life.

II.To obtain the adoption of adult suffrage for election of members to all Government, Legislative and Municipal bodies, Local, Provincial and Central.

Ill. To obtain security of service and minimum wage, to all workers in public and private utility services, such as factories, workshops, railways, shipping, transport, post and telegraph, etc.

IV. To get for the landless workers and agricultural labourers working in cultivable lands, estates, and waters, a reasonable shari6in the produce of such lands, estates and waters.

V. To obtain state sanction for utilising temple, church, mosque and religious funds and incomes, for the education, both literary and vocational. for sanitation and housing of the mass population in the country, and for the maintenance of destitute children and orphans.

VI. To obtain the removal of all caste distinctions among all castes, sects and classes of the Indian community, by removing all caste titles, from all public records and making such retention of caste titles as disability to hold any kind of public service.

VII. To secure through state action, municipalisation of housing, transport, milk and medical service and establishment of nurseries in Municipalities, Taluk and District Boards and Village Unions.

VIII. To set up party candidates to the Legislative Councils, Taluk, District, and Village Boards and Unions and Panchayats, to secure the aforesaid objects of the party.

IX. Party candidates pledged to the various objects of the party will be elected for the various Legislative Councils, Taluk and District Boards, Village Unions etc.

X. These various measures, acts, and reforms shall be obtained through all constitutional means and methods such as council entry and propaganda by means of lectures discussions and discourses as well as through the press.


The Original Aaction Plan Submitted by Periyar to the Justice Party,
Source: Pagutharivu 23.9.1934, quoted in Towards a Non Brahmin Millenium - From Iyothee Thass to Periyar by V.Geetha,  and S.V. Rajadurai

(i) Salaries of Government officials must be reduced since high salaries compromise their integrity, increase their avarice and are a drain on the financial resources of the country.

(ii) Industries that manufacture goods to fulfil public needs and comforts as well as transport facilities meant for public good ought to be run by the Government.

(iii) There should be no middlemen or creditors between agricultural producers and consumers. Cooperative societies should be set up to distribute produce in a way that ameliorates the lives of the peasant and cuts down the losses of the consumer.

(iv) The ryot's current indebtedness must be resolved and steps should be taken to ensure he does not get indebted in the future.

(v) All efforts must be undertaken to see that to an extent as many people as possible benefit from education; to ensure prohibition and to secure to the best extent possible, an equitable distribution of posts and services in the Government amongst all castes. Efforts should be made to monitor the progress of these objectives.

(vi) Religion should be defined as a private matter and no reference to it must be present in politics or in governance. No special concessions should be made to communities on the basis of religion (and caste), no special status conferred and Government must not spend its resources w such objectives.

(vii) Taxing should be regulated so that the self-employed person as well  as a section of the salaried class is relieved of the tax burden. Only those who possess an income beyond their needs and whose lands are worked on by others ought to pay income tax and land revenue respectively.

(viii) Additional powers should be made over to local ,and municipal boards and cooperatives. Likewise their responsibilities. ought to be multiplied and responsible and honest salaried officers appointed to the latter to help them carry out their tasks.

(ix) Litigation must be decreased.

(x) We will endeavour to fulfil these objectives through legal means, through laws that we make in the Councils, and legal options are not available, we will agitate to have such legal powers conferred on us.


The Amendments to the Plan as Made by the Justice Party
Source: Kudi Arasu, 10 February 1935, quoted in Towards a Non Brahmin Millenium - From Iyothee Thass to Periyar by V.Geetha,  and S.V. Rajadurai

ECONOMIC

(i) To relieve the ryots of their present debt distress and to prevent them getting indebted in future; to prevent distress mortgage of lands to the creditors, sufficient measures should be taken.

(ii) The number of cooperative and land mortgage banks should increased so that ryots do not fall into the clutches of creditors who charge very high rates of interest. Such banks should be run by Government officials themselves.

(iii) To prevent unnecessary litigation, especially with respect to property, Government should maintain proper records. The benami clause with respect to property must be declared legally invalid.

(iv) Middlemen who come in the way of ryots enjoying the benefits of their produce ought to be done away with and institutional arrangements must be made for ryots and the buyers of produce to interact directly so that ryots get a good remunerative price.

(v) Just as how the Government at present runs the Railways, Telegraphs and Posts, Water Supply and Electricity, so in the future should it endeavour to run other industries as well.

(vi) The concessions granted to Government servants with respect to insurance should be extended to other sections of the populace as well.

SOCIAL

(i) Within a specific time limit, universal literacy must be secured.

(ii) Consumption of liquour should be ended by law within a given time-frame.

(iii) Untouchability should not find a place in law and administration

(iv) All efforts should be made to secure resources and opportunities for women who should also be appointed to Government posts just as men are.

(v) The time spent at work by a worker should be reduced, unemployment reduced and a salary that meets his complete needs should be offered to him.

POLITICAL

(i) All communities should be represented in Government service in the province in proportion to their numbers in the population. Since the present mode of administration constitutes a financial burden on the people, efforts should be made to cut down administration expenses, provide a fair administration. Efforts should also be made to cut down salaries of officials in such a manner that is adequate and suitable to an Indian lifestyle.

(iii) To relieve people of the burden of taxation, a gradient should be fixed which takes into account the revenue from land and other incomes. For those who earn a fixed low salary, tax on land and income should be abolished.

(iv) More tasks ought to be assigned to municipalities and local boards as well as cooperatives and their administration should be left to officials of the state.

(v) To achieve these ends, laws may be framed, whenever necessary and these objectives should be made known to the public through effective propaganda.


Periyar's Plan as finally Accepted by the Justice Party
quoted in Towards a Non Brahmin Millenium - From Iyothee Thass to Periyar by V.Geetha,  and S.V. Rajadurai

1. To relieve the ryots of their present debt distress and to prevent them from getting indebted in future, and to prevent distress mortgage of lands to the creditors, sufficient legal and other measures should be undertaken.

2. The number of Cooperative and Land Mortgage banks should be increased so that ryots do not fall into the clutches of creditors who charge very high rates of interest. Such banks should be set up throughout the Presidency and run by Government officials themselves.

3. To prevent unnecessary litigation, especially with respect to property, Government should maintain proper land records. The benami clause with respect to property should be declared legally invalid and not accepted as a valid counter-argument in court.

4. Middlemen and traders who come in the way of ryots enjoying the benefits of their produce ought to be done away with. institutional arrangements must be made for ryots and buyers of their produce to interact directly so that ryots get a good remunerative price for their produce.

5. Just as how Government at present runs Railways, Telegraph and Posts, Water Supply and Electricity, so in future should it should it endeavour to run other industries and undertake other responsibilities.

6. The concessions granted to Government servants with respect insurance should be extended to other sections of the population

7. Efforts must be undertaken to raise the nation's standard of living and to ensure people wages which would help them attain this standard of living.

8. Universal literacy must be achieved within a specified time limit

9. Legal and other efforts to end consumption of liquor should be undertaken.

10. Untouchability and other oppressive differences based on birth which exist in society at present must be abolished.

11. All posts in Government must be made available to people of all groups on the basis of their proportion in the population and keeping in mind the requirements of government.

12. The burden of taxation on land should be shared equally by all people and tax remission should be made available to poor ryots.

13. More tasks ought to be assigned to municipalities, local boards mid cooperatives. They should be given the freedom to undertake more tasks than at present and should be supervised by Government officials.

14. Since the present mode of administration constitutes a financial burden on the people, efforts should be made to cut down salaries of officials in such a manner that is adequate and suitable to an Indian lifestyle and Indian economic conditions.

15. To achieve these objectives, laws may be framed, wherever necessary, and these objectives should be made known to the public through effective propaganda.

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