The Justice Party rule in the Madras Presidency constitutes an important chapter in the history of South India. The ideology and objectives of the Justice Party had been unique and somewhat different from those of the Congress Party. The Justice Party represented the Non-Brahmin Movement and engineered a social revolution against the domination of Brahmins in the sphere of public services and education.
Various factors had contributed to the formation of the Justice Party, which represented the Non-Brahmin Movement. The social dominance of the Brahmins was the main cause for the emergence of the Non-Brahmin Movement. Their high proportion in the Civil Service, educational institutions and also their predominance in the Madras Legislative Council caused a great worry among the non-Brahmins. The Brahmins had also monopolized the Press. The rediscovery of the greatness of the Tamil language and literature also provided a stimulus to the non-Brahmins. Particularly, the publication of the book entitled A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South Indian Family of Languages by Rev. Robert Caldwell in 1856 gave birth to the Dravidian concept. Later the ancient Tamil literature had been rediscovered and printed by various Tamil scholars including Arumuga Navalar, C.V. Damodaram Pillai and U.V. Swaminatha Iyer. V. Kanakasabhai Pillai in his famous historical work, The Tamils 1800 Years Ago pointed out that Tamils had attained a high degree of civilization before the Advent of the Aryans. This led to the growth of Dravidian feelings among the non-Brahmins. These factors collectively contributed to the birth of the Non-Brahmin Movement and the Justice Party.
The precursor of the Justice Party was the Madras United League which was renamed as the Madras Dravidian Associationin November 1912. Dr. C. Natesa Mudaliar played a significant role in nurturing this organization. In 1916 the South Indian LiberalFederation was formed for the purpose of 'promoting the political interests of non-Brahmin caste Hindus'. The leaders who stood behind the formation of this organization were Pitti Theagaraya Chetti, Dr. T.M. Nair, P. Ramarayaninger (Raja of Panagal) and Dr. C. Natesa Mudaliar. The South Indian Liberal Federation published an English newspaper calledandhenceJusticethis organization came to be
called the Justice Party. The other news paper which supported the Justice Party was Dravidan (in Tamil). Besides, the Justice Party organized a series of public meetings, conferences, lectures to popularise Non-Brahmin movement. Similarly, the Justice Party formed District Associations, the Non-Brahmin Youth League.
The Justice Party came to power following the election of 1920 held according to the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms. The Justice Party captured sixty three out of ninety eight elected seats in the Madras Legislative Council. As Pitti Theagaraya Chetti declined to lead the ministry, A. Subbarayalu Reddiar formed the ministry. In the election of 1923 it fought against the Swarajya Party. The Justice Party again won the majority and the ministry was formed by Raja of Panagal. In the election of 1926 a divided Justice Party faced the opposition of a united Congress. Therefore, an independent, A. Subbarayan with the help of the Swarajya Party formed the ministry. In 1930 when the next election was held the Justice Party won the majority and formed a ministry with B. Muniswami Naidu as the leader. In 1932 Raja of Bobbili replaced him as Prime Minister of the Presidency. In 1934 Raja of Bobbili formed his second ministry, which continued in power until the election of 1937.
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