DMPQ Premium-Explain the role of Justice party movement in the context of depressed class politics in south India.

. The birth of the Dravidian movement, the oldest and most enduring anti-British movement in the country, can be traced to November 20, 1916, when a group of leading non-Brahmin citizens of Madras such as Dr. T.M. Nair, Sir Pitti Theagaraja Chettiar and the Raja of Panagal came together to form the South Indian Liberal Federation (SILF), which was also known as Justice Party.  Their joint declaration, which came to be called the Non-Brahmin Manifesto, demanded the representation of non-Brahmins in government jobs. This was the first cohesive demand for reservation raised in India.

SILF soon launched a newspaper called Justice. When elections were held in 1920 for the Madras Legislative Council under the Government of India Act 1919, SILF was generally referred to by the public as the Justice Party.  The party won that election as the Indian National Congress boycotted it. To a great extent the Justice Party and its popularity was a reaction to the domination of the Congress in the then Madras Presidency by Brahmins and other upper castes. This was used by the British rulers as a platform against the Congress, which was attracting more and more educated Brahmins and upper castes.

Justice’s final defeat has been ascribed variously to its collaboration with the British Government; the elitist nature of the Justice party members, loss of scheduled caste and Muslim support and flight of the social radicals to the Self-Respect Movement or in sum,”…internal dissension, ineffective organisation, inertia and lack of proper leadership”.

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