Self Respect Movement
In 1929 the first Self-Respect Conference was held in Chengalpattu. In
the crucial elections of 1937 the Congress party, led by C. Rajagopalachari,
won majority every seats except one. The Congress party victory was largely
because of the decline of Justice Party. The Congress formed the government and
Rajaji became the Chief Minister of the Madras province.
Soon after assuming power the Congress government introduced Hindi as a
compulsory subject in the schools.
Periyar launched anti-Hindi agitations. A large number of students have
participated in the agitations organized by Periyar.
During this period, the Communist Party (formally launched in 1925)
became active in campaigning for socialist programme and organized labour
movements. M.Singaravelu, and their associates were impressed by the social
reform programmes of the Self Respect Movement, which in turn extended support
to the economic programme of the communities, and these two movements agreed to
work on a common programme (Erode Plan).
Reforming Dravidian society to make it truly
To teach the truth of ancient Tamil civilization to
iii) Save the
Dravidian society from the domination of Aryan culture.
the Hinduism by eliminating Brahmin influence and superstitious practices.
He wanted to restore the past glory of Dravidian culture by creating
social awareness among the non-Brahmins in general and particularly the youth.
He advocated Self –Respect marriages, a marriage which was conducted in the
absence of Brahmin priesthood, discouraged the people from performing religious
ceremonies and not to employ the services of the Brahmins in any of the social
By 1929, the Self-Respect Movement had become a formidable movement in
the Madras Presidency. In 1930’s the Justice Party began to face decline in the
province. There were three major factors responsible for this decline. Firstly,
the party lost its support among the Depressed sections of the society and
minorities. Secondly the Self-Respect Movement, under Periyar had become more
radical. Finally the elitist and pro- British outlook of Justice Party had also
contributed significantly for its decline.