Q. What were the key objectives of the Self Respect Movement? Critically evaluate the success of this movement. (250 words)30 Sep, 2019 GS Paper 1 History
- Introduce the answer by giving the nature, purpose or significance of the movement.
- Give the brief objectives of the movement.
- Give the achievements of the movement along with criticism.
- Conclude the answer by giving its relevance in today’s society.
- Self-Respect Movement was a dynamic social movement aimed at destroying the contemporary Hindu social order in its totality and creating a new, rational society without caste, religion and god.
- Self-Respect Movement was started by E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker in Tamil Nadu in 1925. It was an egalitarian movement that propagated the ideologies of breaking down of the Brahminical hegemony, equal rights for the backward classes and women in the society and revitalization of the Dravidian languages like Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam.
The objectives of the Self-Respect Movement have been outlined and stated in two pamphlets “Namathu Kurikkol” and “Tiravitakkalaka Lateiyam” which have been given below:
- The movement aims to do away with such social structure of the society where one class of people claim to be superior to others and some men claim to be of higher birth than others.
- It aims to work for getting equal opportunities for all people, irrespective of their communities it will strive to secure equal status for women along with men in life and according to law.
- All people should be given equal opportunities for growth and development.
- It aims to completely eradicate untouchability and to establish a united society based on brotherhood and sisterhood.
- Friendship and fellow feeling should be natural among all the people.
- To establish and maintain homes for orphans and widows and to run educational institutions.
- To discourage people from building new temples, mutts, chlorites or Vedic Schools. People should drop the caste titles in their names. Common funds should be utilized for educational purposes and for creating employment opportunities for the unemployed.
The Self-Respect Movement played a significant role in the political, social and religious life of the people of South India. It brought the message of the Tamil Nationalism to the masses.
- The monopoly of power and influence enjoyed by the Brahmins was slowly lost due to E.V.R.’s unceasing propaganda against orthodoxy. It filled with the sense of self-respect and above all self-confidence, to fight against social injustice perpetrated by the Brahmins of the day.
- It led to the promotion of inter-caste and inter-religious marriages and legalization of marriages without Brahman priest. Post independence, Tamil Nadu passed a law and became the first state to legalise Hindu marriage without Brahmin priest.
- The system of allotting separate places for Harijan members in the Municipal Councils was also discontinued.
- Due to relentless fight of supporters of the movement, the name boards of the hotels were changed from “Brahmins Hotel” to “Vegetarian Hotel”.
- People started taking pride in giving up their caste name.
However, the movement failed to liberate women as well as the lower caste and secured equal rights for them. It failed to strengthen the economic condition of the poor and depressed classes. Since, the movement was limited to Tamil Nadu, it had very limited influence.
The Self-Respect Movement asked many questions: is political freedom true freedom? Will it lead to an equal society? Will it allow for women to be treated with dignity? The sad truth is that we do not have the answers to these questions even today. It is now the responsibility of the educated and enlightened youth of the nation to take responsibility to eradicate social evils and fulfill the ideals of self respect movement.
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