100 years of TN Assembly: How politics of representation played out in state

Tamil Nadu assembly
The primary reason why the present DMK government has decided to celebrate the centenary of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly this year is because it was in 1921 that reservation was introduced for the first time in the state and country by the Justice Party, which became a pillar of social justice | Image - Eunice Dhivya

“It is our firm conviction that in India, for some time to come at any rate, every community has primarily to put its own house in order, so that, when it has to cooperate with other communities, possibly with higher social pretensions, it may do so, not as a dependent and helpless unit to be made a figure head or cats-paw of, but as a self-respecting and highly developed social organisation, offering its willing cooperation for the promotion of common objects on terms of perfect equality.”

Thus said the ‘Non-Brahmin Manifesto’ published by the Justice Party in Tamil Nadu in December 1916.

Five years later, in 1921, the party whose primary objective was self-respect and equality—and later on became the root of Dravidian majors, DMK and AIADMK—came to power in the Legislative Council of Madras Presidency and passed the Communal GO.

This legislated reservation for the first time in India and allotted government jobs and higher education seats to different communities in specific proportions.

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