Was Periyar indifferent towards black money?
From the speech of Periyar about MGR why MGR left DMK in late 1960’s, one can easily derive the interpretation that Periyar was somewhat cool and indifferent towards black money. In the speech, the legend Periyar clearly reveals that MGR had asked for account details of DMK during election way back in late 1960’s. MGR was the treasurer of the party then and was responsible to fix the party account. But the details of the money received for election expense, the party was not willing to share on the reason that many people had given money which may be unaccounted (black money) and hence revealing the details would amounts to disclosing of the identity of all those who had donated money for poll expense. Therefore the party had refused to reveal all such details to MGR, according to the speech of Periyar.
In the same speech, Periyar further wondered how the political party can limit the poll expenses laid down by the election commission which was too less. Every candidate needs to incur expenses more than the permitted limit by the election commission and the political party can meet such expense only through donations.
Periyar was the most influential, revolutionary leader of that time. Even an alphabet of Periyar was sufficient to influence the state politics during late 1960’s. If Periyar has told DMK not to receive any donations from those who wants to keep secrecy of such donations and mandated the DMK to keep the account straight and transparent, such gesture would have reformed and cleansed the politics not only in Tamil Nadu but in entire India as well. But Periyar does seem to justify the stand of DMK way back in late 1960’s than reforming the new political system that was just budding in the state.
Honesty, transparency, money and muscle centric politics etc., would not have dominated Indian politics if Periyar had intervened and told the party not to entertain secret funding even if it may go against the poll fortune. Such interference of Periyar would have reformed the state and today the state would have been the most incorrupt state in entire India.
Why people wanted Periyar to have transformed DMK is only due to his influence and the stature that he enjoyed in the country then. But Periyar had in fact discouraged MGR not to seek such details by justifying the secret poll donations. It appears such gesture had inadvertently paved way for corruption in the state. Further Periyar also sanctified the stand of the party by citing the existence of such practice in congress party as well.
If the above justification was offered by some other political leader, we can understand but not a leader of Periyar’s legendary stature. Periyar never aspired for power or position like Gandhi but worked for reforming people. A person of his stature and vision should have told the DMK to disclose entire poll expenses along with the sources to MGR or should have asked the party to return the money to the source who does not want to disclose their identity due to some reason. But instead Periyar admits in his speech that he discouraged MGR from asking all such funding details.
Somewhere it gives a feeling and impression that whether power politics slightly eroded the value systems and ideals and was Periyar unknowingly encouraged some corrupt practices?
Today what we witness in the state is not Dravidian politics as envisaged by Periyar but more of dynastic politics. If Periyar is alive today he would have been the first person to tell people to vote against Dravidian politics that is being practiced today.
History will always remember Periyar as a great reformist leader and the same history also will remember that Periyar was somewhat cool and indifferent towards black money and corruption.