Swami Dayananda Saraswati

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This page is about the founder of the Arya Samaj. For others known by the same name, please see Swami Dayananda (disambiguation)

Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati

Born Died Birth name

12 February 1824 Tankara, Morvi, Gujarat 31 October 1883 (aged 59) Ajmer, Rajasthan Mul Shankar or Mulshankar Karasandas Tiwari /Shuddha Chaitanya as Brahmachari Swami Virjananda Traitvad vedic philosophy based on samhita of four vedas and its theory derived on nighantu and nirukta with six darshanas supported by paniniya vyakran. Satyarth Prakash (1875) viswani dev savitar duritani parasuv yad bhadram tanna aasuva

Titles/honours Maharshi Guru


Literary works Quotation

Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati (Devanagari: द , Gujarati: ) (12 February 1824 – 30 October 1883) was an important Hindu religious scholar, reformer, and founder of the Arya Samaj, a Hindu reform

movement. He was the first to give the call for Swarajya[1] – "India for Indians" – in 1876, later taken up by Lokmanya Tilak.[2][3] Denouncing the idolatry and ritualistic worship prevalent in Hinduism at the time, he worked towards reviving Vedic ideologies. Subsequently the philosopher and President of India, S. Radhakrishnan, called him one of "makers of Modern India," as did Sri Aurobindo.[4][5][6] One of his notable disciples was Shyamji Krishna Varma, who founded India House in London and guided other revolutionaries. Others who were influenced by and followed him included Madam Cama, PranSukh Yadav, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Lala Hardyal, Madan Lal Dhingra, Bhagat Singh, Swami Shraddhanand,[7] Sukhabodhananda,[8] Mahatma Hansraj and Lala Lajpat Rai.[9][10] One of his most influential works is the book Satyarth Prakash, which contributed to the Indian independence movement. He was a sanyasi (ascetic) from boyhood, and a scholar, who believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. Dayananda advocated the doctrine of karma and skepticism in dogma, and emphasized the ideals of brahmacharya (celibacy) and devotion to God. The Theosophical Society and the Arya Samaj were united from 1878 to 1882, becoming the Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj.[11] Among Maharishi Dayananda's contributions are his promoting of the equal rights of women, such as the right to education and reading of Indian scriptures, and his translation of the Vedas from Sanskrit into Hindi so that the common person might be able to read them.

• • • • • • • • • •

1 Early life 2 Dayanand's mission 3 Arya Samaj 4 Death 5 Works 6= 7 == 8 Further reading 9 References 10 External links

[edit] Early life
Dayananda was born on February 12 in 1824, in the town of Tankara, near Morvi (Morbi) in the Kathiawar region (since India's independence in 1947 Rajkot district) of the princely state of Gujarat, into the affluent and devout Saryupareen Brahmins family of Karshanji Lalji Tiwari and his wife Yashodabai. Since he was born under Mul Nakshatra, he was named "Mulshankar", and led a comfortable early life, studying Sanskrit, the Vedas and other religious texts to prepare himself for a future as a Hindu priest.[12][13]

[15] [edit] Dayanand's mission Aum or Om is considered by the Arya Samaj to be the highest and most proper name of God. Hindu priests discouraged the laity from reading Vedic scriptures and encouraged rituals. He traveled the country challenging religious scholars and priests to discussions and won repeatedly on the strength of his arguments.[15] Dayananda stayed under Swami Virjananda's tutelage for two and a half years. Dayananda set about the difficult task of reforming Hinduism with dedication despite attempts on his life. he found Swami Virajananda near Mathura. and dowry. Virjananda asked him to spread the knowledge of the Vedas in society as his gurudakshina.[14][15] The deaths of his younger sister and his uncle from cholera caused Dayananda to ponder the meaning of life and death and he started asking questions which worried his parents. his aim was to educate the nation to go back to the Vedas. By exhorting the nation to reject such superstitious notions.Uttar Pradesh who became his guru. nationalism. sati. as he wished Dayananda to start from a clean slate and learn directly from the Vedas. when his family went to a temple for overnight worship on the night of Maha Shivratri. He learned Panini's grammar to read Sanskrit texts. as was common in nineteenth-century India.A number of incidents in early childhood resulted in Dayananda's questioning the traditional beliefs of Hinduism and inquiring about God. After finishing his education. as well as the adoption of Hindi as the national language. such as bathing in the Ganges River and feeding of priests on anniversaries. Dayananda saw a mouse eating the offerings. preachings. and understood from them that God can be found. he stayed up waiting for Lord Shiva to appear to accept the offerings made to his idol. While he wanted the people to follow the Vedic life. He argued with his father that they should not be worshipping such a helpless God. or tuitiondues. he also exhorted the nation to accept social reforms like the abolition of untouchability. but he decided marriage was not for him and in 1846 ran away from home. the oldest and most foundational scriptures of Hinduism.[14][15] Dayananda was disillusioned with classical Hinduism and became a wandering monk. While still a young child. After wandering in search of God for over two decades. He was to be married in his early teens.[16] Swami Virajananda told him to throw away all his books.[17] He believed that Hinduism had been corrupted by divergence from the founding principles of the Vedas and that Hindus had been misled by the priesthood for the priests' self-aggrandizement. While his family slept. sermons and writings he inspired the nation to aspire to Swarajya (self governance). He was utterly surprised and wondered how a God who cannot protect even his own offerings would protect humanity. Through his teachings. which Dayananda pronounced as superstitions or self-serving practices. .

truthfulness and the like. but to the world as a whole as evidenced in the sixth principle of the Arya Samaj. Sri Aurobindo decided to look for hidden psychological meanings in the Vedas [1]. Arya Samaj allows and encourages converts to Hinduism. Whatever is not free from partiality and is unjust. the Arya Samaj's appeal was addressed not only to the educated few in India. and opposed to the teachings of God as embodied in the Vedas—that I hold as adharma" . Dayananda's "back to the Vedas" message influenced many thinkers. He said.He advocated the equal rights and respects to women and advocated the full education of a girl child. Taking the cue from him. Far from borrowing concepts from other religions. Sri Aurobindo Ashram. faith. as may be seen in his book Satyartha Prakash.[18] He was against what he considered to be the corruption of the pure faith in his own country. he interpreted moksha to be a lower calling (due to its benefit to one individual) than the calling to emancipate others. he enshrined the idea that "All actions should be performed with the prime objective of benefiting mankind". Dayananda's Vedic message was to emphasize respect and reverence for other human beings. in addition to denouncing idolatry in Hinduism. who counts the happiness of others as he does that of his own self. 1972. [edit] Arya Samaj Main article: Arya Samaj . In the ten principles of the Arya Samaj. as Raja Ram Mohan Roy had done. as opposed to following dogmatic rituals or revering idols and symbols. He also said "He. supported by the Vedic notion of the divine nature of the individual–divine because the body was the temple where the human essence (soul or "atma") had the possibility to interface with the creator ("Paramatma"). partaking of untruth and the like.and spiritualism. who after careful thinking. "I accept as Dharma whatever is in full conformity with impartial justice. is ever ready to accept truth and reject falsehood. Swami Dayananda was critical of Islam and Christianity as well as of other Indian faiths like Jainism and Buddhism. In his own life. Pondicherry. that which is not opposed to the teachings of God as embodied in the Vedas.In fact his teachings professed universalism for the all living beings and not for any particular sect. him I call just. Unlike many other reform movements within Hinduism. community or nation. Dayananda’s concept of dharma is stated in the "Beliefs and Disbeliefs" section of Satyartha Prakash.

Thanthai Periyar or E.. Dravidar Kazhagam. pilgrimages.[2][3][4] Periyar was born in Erode. unequivocally condemns idol worship.[5] Periyar married when he was 19. R. the Arya Samaj. caste and gender discrimination. Dayananda's suggestion offended the dance girl and she decided to take revenge. Dayananda boldly asked the Maharaja to forsake the girl and all unethical acts and follow dharma like a true Aryan. The Arya Samaj discourages dogma and symbolism and encourages skepticism in beliefs that run contrary to common sense and logic. priest craft. the Arya Samaj aims to be a "universal society" based on the authority of the Vedas. He is also the founder of the socio-cultural organisation. The Maharaja was eager to become his disciple and learn his teachings. Dayananda drank the milk and went to sleep only to wake up later with a burning sensation. energetic reformer. The poison had already entered his bloodstream. child marriages and discrimination against women on the grounds that all these lacked Vedic sanction. ancestor worship. politician.[19] [edit] Death In 1883 Dayananda was invited by the Maharaja of Jodhpur to stay at his palace. who started the Self-Respect Movement or the Dravidian Movement and proposed the creation of an independent state called Dravida Nadu comprising South India. Many doctors came to treat him but all was in vain. Indian independence and social activist. V. the cook brought him a glass of milk containing poison and powdered glass. was a businessman. indifference and stupor Into active patriotism is no more. lethargic. At bedtime. but it was too late.[citation needed] She bribed Dayananda's cook to poison him. offerings made in temples. animal sacrifice. One day Dayananda went to the Maharaja's rest room and saw him with a dance girl. On seeing Dayananda's suffering the cook was overcome with unbearable guilt and remorse.[8] Periyar married for a second time in July . whose mighty voice and passionate eloquence foe the last few years raised thousands of people in India from." – Col Henry Steel Olcott[20] "Swami Dayananda Saraswati is certainly one of the most powerful personalities who has shaped modem India and is responsible for its moral regeneration and religious revival". the caste system. To many people. affectionately called by his followers as Periyar (Tamil: ). – Subhas Chandra Bose. the irrepressible.[21] ) (17 September Erode Venkata Ramasamy[1] (Tamil: 1879 – 24 December 1973).Swami Dayananda's creation. He confessed his crime to Dayananda. Madras Presidency to a wealthy family of Kannada speaking Balijas. On his deathbed. Nagammai. His first wife.[5][6][7] At a young age. Dayananda was bedridden and suffered excruciating pain. Dayananda forgave him and gave him a bag of money and told him to flee the kingdom lest he be found out and executed by the Maharaja's men. and had a daughter who lived for only 5 months. Pandit Dayananda Saraswati is gone. died in 1933. His body was covered all over with large bleeding sores. he witnessed numerous incidents of racial.[citation needed] "A man of spirit has passed away from India. untouchability. He immediately realized that he had been poisoned and attempted to purge his digestive system of the poisonous substance.

7 Opposition to Hindi o 1. However.3 Later years 2 Principles and legacy o 2. women’s rights and eradication of caste.[15] The party later split and one group led by C. Indo-Aryan India.5 Self-Respect Movement o 1.9.[14] and in 1944. Periyar led a non-violent agitation (satyagraha) in Vaikom. meaningless customs and base manners".2 Kasi Pilgrimage Incident o 1. Maniammai. at the same time.6 International travel (1929–1932) o 1. Annadurai formed the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in 1949. Periyar is also held responsible for making controversial statements on the Tamil language.1 Formation of the Dravidar Kazhagam  1. superstitions.[10] Periyar joined the Indian National Congress in 1919. what he considered. the Socrates of South East Asia.1 Rationalism o 2.[16] Periyar propagated the principles of rationalism. Periyar became the head of the Justice Party.[13] In 1939. which had an influence on him. Europe. His work has greatly revolutionised Tamil society and has significantly removed caste-based discrimination.3 Women’s rights o 2.9. Dalits and Brahmins and for endorsing violence against Brahmins.1948.2 Self-Respect o 2.9 Dravidar Kazhagam (1944–onwards)  1.1 Early years o 1.2 Split with Annadurai  1. self-respect.[17] Contents [hide] • • • 1 Biography o 1. From 1929 to 1932 toured Malaysia.9. he changed its name to Dravidar Kazhagam.8 As President of the Justice Party (1938–1944) o 1. father of social reform movement and arch enemy of ignorance. but resigned in 1925 when he felt that the party was only serving the interests of the Brahmins. Kerala. He opposed the exploitation and marginalisation of the non-Brahmin indigenous Dravidian peoples of South India and the imposition of. and Russia.[11][12] In 1924.3 Member of Congress Party (1919–1925) o 1. The citation awarded by the UNESCO described Periyar as "the prophet of the new age. He is also responsible for bringing new changes to the Tamil alphabet. N.[9] His second wife. continued Periyar's social work after his death in 1973. but still his thoughts and ideas were being spread by Dravidar Kazhagam.4 Vaikom Satyagraha (1924–1925) o 1.[15] While continuing the Self-Respect Movement.4 Social reform and eradication of caste 3 Ideals and criticisms . he advocated for an independent Dravida Nadu (Dravidistan).

2 Factionism in the Justice Party o 3. a girl child was born to them. He used to listen to Tamil Vaishnavite gurus who gave discourses in his house enjoying his father's hospitality. Periyar announced the deletion of his caste surname Naicker from his name at the First Provincial Self-Respect Conference of Chenggalpattu.7 Controversies  3. this child lived only for five months. then a part of the Coimbatore District of the Madras Presidency.• • • • • • 3. was Venkatappa Naicker (or Venkata). Anti-Brahmin 3. a rich businessman. was only thirteen.[1] In 1929.8 Violence by Periyar's followers 4 Followers and influence 5 In popular culture 6 Notes 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links o o o o o o o Biography Early years Periyar was born as Erode Venkata Ramasami Naicker on 17 September 1879.[1] As Periyar grew.2 Thoughts on Thirukkural 3. Two years after their marriage.[25] Periyar's father arranged for his wedding when he was nineteen. Nagammai.1 Tamil language and writing 3. he began questioning the apparent contradictions in the Hindu mythological stories which he opined to be lies spread by the Indo-Aryan race. The couple had no more children[8] . He had one elder brother named Krishnaswamy and two sisters named Kannamma and Ponnuthoy.6 Religion and atheism 3. It was not. altogether.Dalits and Religious Minorities  3.4 Anti-Brahmanism vs.7. His mother tongue was Kannada. Tamil and Telugu. in the town of Erode. alias Muthammal. Nagammai actively supported her husband in his later public activities and agitations. an arranged marriage because Periyar and Nagammai had known each other and were already in love with each other. and his mother was Chinna Thayammal.[1][18] He later came to be known as "Periyar" meaning 'respected one' or 'elder' in Tamil.[18] Periyar's father.7. At a young age.5 Comparisons with Gandhi 3.1 Comments on Brahmins. he felt that people used religion only as a mask to deceive innocent people and therefore took it as one of his duties in life to warn people against superstitions and priests.3 Self-Determination of Dravidistan 3.[20][21][22][23][24] Periyar attended school for five years after which he joined his father's trade at the age of 12.[19] He could speak three Dravidian languages: Kannada. The bride. However.

He not only prevented Periyar's entry but also pushed him rudely into the street. and floating dead bodies.[28] Member of Congress Party (1919–1925) Thanthai Periyar statue at Vaikom town in Kottayam. He held the chairmanship of Erode Municipality and wholeheartedly .[1][26] Though regarded as one of the holiest sites of Hinduism.[1] As his hunger became intolerable. he witnessed immoral activities. Due to extreme hunger. Periyar felt compelled to enter one of the choultries disguised as a Brahmin with a sacred thread on his bare chest. as Brahmins were not permitted by the Hindu shastras to have moustaches. Kerala Periyar Ramaswamy joined the Indian National Congress in 1919 after quitting his business and resigning from public posts. Around this time. one particular incident in Kasi had a profound impact on Periyar's ideology and future work. Periyar was forced to feed on leftovers from the streets. At the worship site there were free meals offered to guests.[27] However. as a holy place which welcomed all.[1] Ramasami was a theist till his visit to Kasi. for the events he had witnessed at Kasi were completely different from the picture of Kasi he had in mind. he realised that the choultry which had refused him entry was built by a wealthy non-Brahmin from South India. after which his views changed and he became an atheist.[1] His frustrations extended to functional Hinduism in general when he experienced what he called Brahmanic exploitation. The gatekeeper at the temple concluded that Periyar was not a Brahmin. he was refused meals at choultries.Kasi Pilgrimage Incident In 1904. but was betrayed by his moustache. Periyar went on a pilgrimage to Kasi to worship in the revered Siva temple of Kashi Vishwanath.[1] This discriminatory attitude dealt a blow to Periyar's regard for Hinduism. To Periyar's shock. begging. which exclusively fed Brahmins.

Under his guidance a movement had already begun with the aim of giving all castes the right to enter the temples. it gained momentum. picketing toddy shops. the editor of Periyar's Thoughts states that Brahmins purposely suppressed news about Periyar's participation. In spite of Gandhi's objection to non-Keralites and non-Hindus taking part. boycotting shops selling foreign cloth. He received the title Vikkom Veeran.[29][30] However. passive resistance campaign as practised by Gandhi. Anti-caste feelings were growing and in 1924 Vaikom was chosen as a suitable place for an organised Satyagraha. and the administration was forced to come to a compromise. agitations and demonstrations took place. A Study in Leadership. a small town in Kerala state. A leading Congress magazine Young India in its extensive reports on Vaikom never mentions Periyar. Furthermore. then Travancore. Periyar courted imprisonment for picketing toddy shops in Erode. which led to him leaving the party in 1925. His attempts were defeated in the Congress party due to a strong presence of discrimination and indifference. He was again arrested during the Non-Cooperation movement and the Temperance movement. On April 14. Periyar and his wife Nagamma arrived in Vaikom. a considerable section of intellectuals feel that Periyar's participation in the Indian independence movement and his contributions in the Vaikom Satyagraha have been highly exaggerated. also known as Harijans were not allowed into the close streets around and leading to the temple. Dalits. where he advocated strongly for reservation in government jobs and education.[12] Vaikom Satyagraha (1924–1925) Main article: Vaikom Satyagraha In Vaikom. let alone inside it. Eleanor Zelliot relates the 'Vaikom Satyagraha' including Gandhi's negotiations with the temple authorities in relation to the event.[31] The way in which the Vaikom Satyagraha events have been recorded provides a clue to the image of the respective organisers. mostly given by his Tamil followers who participated in the Satyagraha. In an article entitle Gandhi and Ambedkar. Thus. Periyar and his followers continued to give support to the movement till it was withdrawn.[27] Self-Respect Movement Main article: Self-Respect Movement . In 1921. and eradicating untouchability. They were arrested and imprisoned for participation. Periyar was elected the President of the Madras Presidency Congress Committee during the Tirupur session. there were strict laws of untouchability in and around the temple area.undertook constructive programs spreading the use of Khadi.[11] In 1922. When his wife as well as his sister joined the agitation.

even while other nationalist forerunners focused on the struggle for political independence. to put an end to the present social system in which caste. to allow people to live a life of freedom from slavery to anything against reason and self respect.[33] The Self-Respect Movement began to grow fast and received the sympathy of the heads of the Justice Party from the .[26] Propagation of the philosophy of self respect became the full-time activity of Periyar since 1925. inter caste and inter-religious marriages and to have the marriages registered under the Civil Law. and to establish and maintain homes for orphans and widows and to run educational institutions. A Tamil weekly Kudi Arasu started in 1925. widow marriages.. community and traditional occupations based on the accident of birth. and to give people equal rights. religion.Periyar during the early years of Self-Respect Movement Periyar and his followers campaigned constantly to influence and pressure the government to take measures to remove social inequality.[32] In 1952. and blind superstitious beliefs in society. to conduct and encourage love marriages. to prevent child marriages and marriages based on law favourable to one sect. have chained the mass of the people and created "superior" and "inferior" classes.. while the English journal Revolt started in 1928 carried on the propaganda among the English educated people. the Periyar Self-Respect Movement Institution was registered with a list of objectives of the institution from which may be quoted as for the diffusion of useful knowledge of political education. meaningless ceremonies. The Self-Respect Movement was described from the beginning as "dedicated to the goal of giving non-Brahmins a sense of pride based on their Dravidian past". to completely eradicate untouchability and to establish a united society based on brother/sisterhood. to do away with needless customs. to give equal rights to women.

Conferences followed in succession throughout the Tamil districts of the former Madras Presidency.[34] International travel (1929–1932) Between 1929 and 1935. thereby igniting a series of antiHindi agitations. the home town of Periyar.000 Tamil Malaysians in Penang.[13] Indian political parties. Alagiriswami took charge as the head of the volunteer band. accompanied by S. when Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari became the Chief Minister of Madras state. France and Portugal. Germany.[35] Immediately after his return. In December 1931 he undertook a tour of Europe. and personally observed these systems at work. began to look for ways to strengthen it politically and socially.[13] Opposition to Hindi Main article: Anti-Hindi agitations In 1937. staying in Russia for three months. and Periyar organised anti-Hindi protests in 1938 which ended with numerous arrests by the Rajaji government. after establishing the Self-Respect Movement as an independent institution.[36] Tamil nationalists. The communist system obtained in Russia appealed to him as appropriately suited to deal with the social ills of the country. a conference of Self-Respect Volunteers was held at Pattukkotai under the presidency of S. social movements. to propagate the self-respect philosophy. political thinking worldwide received a jolt from the spread of international communism. began to work out a socio-political scheme incorporating socialist and self-respect ideals. to personally acquaint himself with their political systems.V. T. under the strain of World Depression. This marked a crucial stage of development in the Self-Respect Movement which got politicised and found its compatibility in Tamil Nadu. Panneerselvam. On his return journey he halted at Ceylon and returned to India in November 1932. Thus. The Self-Respect Movement also came under the influence of the leftist philosophies and institutions. He visited Egypt. Russia. Spain. Periyar was received by 50. he studied the history and politics of different countries.beginning.[37] . Greece. in alliance with the enthusiastic communist M. but he did not advocate for abolishing private ownership. he inaugurated the Tamils Conference. The object was not just to introduce social reform but to bring about a social revolution to foster a new spirit and build a new society. economic and social progress and administration of public bodies. movements and considerable sections of leadership were also affected by inter-continental ideologies.[13] The tour shaped the political ideology of Periyar to achieve the social concept of Self-Respect.[13] Periyar toured Malaysia for a month. Turkey. Periyar. To accomplish this. K. the Justice Party under Sir A. and then went to Singapore. Ramanathan and Erode Ramu. England. from December 1929 to January 1930. on socio-economic issues Periyar was Marxist. convened by the Tamils Reformatory Sangam in Ipoh. In May 1929. Embarking on his journey from Nagapattinam with his wife Nagammal and his followers. Guruswami. During the same month. Singaravelu Chettiar. A training school in Self-Respect was opened at Erode. Periyar. way of life. he introduced Hindi as a compulsory language of study in schools.

However. a few who disagreed with Periyar started a splinter group. Periyar explained that Hindi would not only halt the progress of Tamilians. most of whom were rich and educated. This party was led by veteran Justice Party leader P. He explained that the introduction of Hindi was a dangerous mechanism used by the Ayrans to infiltrate Dravidian culture. Hindi. the slogan "Tamil Nadu for Tamilians"[38] was first raised by Periyar in protest against the introduction of Hindi in schools. To the Tamils. South Indian politicians rallied together in their opposition to Hindi. acceptance of Hindi in the school system was a form of bondage. were identified as alien symbols that should be eliminated from Tamil culture. Villages were influenced by its message. and ceremonies that had become associated with Brahmanical priesthood. The party's goal was to render social justice to non-Brahmin groups. The fear of the Hindi language had its origin in the conflict between Brahmins and non-Brahmins. When the Justice Party weakened in the absence of mass support. Rajan and survived till 1957. came under verbal .During the same year. when the government required that Hindi be taught in the school system. [41] As President of the Justice Party (1938–1944) Main article: Justice Party (India) A political party known as the South Indian Libertarian Federation (commonly referred to as Justice Party) was founded in 1916.[40] There were recurrent anti-Hindi agitations in 1948. but the party's conservative members. in his capacity as the leader of the Justice Party. In later years. After 1937. In order to gain the support of the masses. claiming to be the original Justice Party. the Dravidian movement derived considerable support from the student community. 1952 and 1965.[39] Cutting across party lines. Periyar took over the leadership of the party after being jailed for opposing Hindi in 1939. T.[14] Under his tutelage the party prospered. Brahmanical priesthood and Sanskritic social classvalue hierarchy were blamed for the existence of inequalities among non-Brahmin jati groups. Periyar organised opposition through the Justice Party to this policy. declared that the party would henceforth be known as the Dravidar Kazhagam.[42] In 1937. or "Dravidian Association". Periyar. Brahmins. withdrew from active participation. principally to oppose the economic and political power of the Brahmin jati groups.[38] He reasoned that the adoption of Hindi would make Tamils subordinate to Hindi-speaking North Indians. non-Brahmin politicians began propagating an ideology of equality among non-Brahmin jati groups. opposition to Hindi played a big role in the politics of Tamil Nadu. who were regarded as the guardians of such symbols. The Dravidar Kazhagam came to be well known amongst the urban communities and students. but would completely destroy their culture and nullify the progressive ideas that had been successfully inculcated through Tamil in the recent decades.[42] Dravidar Kazhagam (1944–onwards) Main article: Dravidar Kazhagam Formation of the Dravidar Kazhagam At a rally in 1944.

[45] Later years In 1956. where Periyar advocated a separate independent Dravidian or Tamil state. established a separate association called the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). wanting to enter into politics and have a share in running the government.[15] From 1949 onwards. widow marriage. Five years later.[15] The Dravidar Kazhagam continued to counter Brahminism. women's education.he was 70 and she 30.[43] Split with Annadurai Main article: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam In 1949. on 27 June 1970. There he stressed the need to retain English as the Union Official Language instead of Hindi. But amongst his followers. Indo-Aryan propaganda. and it was presented to him by the Union Education Minister. Periyar travelled to North India to advocate the eradication of the caste system.[citation needed] Thus. the President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee. Periyar declared a call for action to gain social equality and a dignified way of life. The Dravidar Kazhagam vehemently fought for the abolition of untouchability amongst the Dalits. Thus. Nearing Periyar's last years. In his last meeting at Thiagaraya Nagar. Periyar organised a procession to the Marina in order to burn pictures of the Hindu God Rama. or Dravidian Advancement Association. Those who parted company with Periyar joined the DMK. when Periyar married Maniammai on 9 July 1948. On 24 December 1973. and uphold the Dravidians' right of self-determination. they would lose vigor and sense of purpose. if they contest elections aiming to assume political power. there were those who had a different view. Triguna Sen in Madras (Chennai). stating that Periyar set a bad example by marrying a young woman in his old age . the organisation made efforts to carry on Periyar's Self-Respect Movement to villagers and urban students.[9] .[46] The activities of Periyar continued when he went to Bangalore in 1958 to participate in the All India Official Language Conference. Periyar's chief lieutenant. Periyar died at the age of 94. orphanages and mercy homes. and thus was a key which opened the door to subjects to be learned. Kakkan. They were looking for an opportunity to part with Periyar. The DMK advocated the thesis that the Tamil language was much richer than Sanskrit and Hindi in content.[44] Periyar was convinced that individuals and movements that undertake the task of eradicating the social evils in the Indian sub-continent have to pursue the goal with devotion and dedication without deviating from the path and with uncompromising zeal. Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai. willing marriage. despite warnings from P. It also focused its attention on the liberation of women.[46] Periyar was subsequently arrested and confined to prison. an award was given to him by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).[9] Though the DMK split from the Dravidar Kazhagam. Chennai on 19 December 1973.attack. the Dravidar Kazhagam intensified social reformist work and put forward the fact that superstitions were the cause for the degeneration of Dravidians. they quit the Dravidar Kazhagam.[15] This was due to differences between the two. while Annadurai compromised with the Delhi government combined with claims of increased state independence.

propagating the realisation that everyone is an equal citizen and the differences on basis of caste and creeds were man-made to keep the innocent and ignorant as underdogs in the society. Annadurai in the English magazine India Today. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (June 2011) Periyar spent over fifty years giving speeches. N. And what a philosophy it was![49] Rationalism The bedrock of Periyar’s principles and the movements that he started was rationalism. According to him.[48] Cho Ramaswamy wrote an article on E. scores of educated people were also swayed. a rarity among those in public life. His sphere of activity was wide and when he took up an issue he went deep into it. Cho remarked: "Periyar was accepted and acclaimed as the leader by a significant section of the Tamil population in spite of all his contempt for Tamil and disdain for Tamils only because he was perceived to be a genuine individual. with respect to subjects of social interest. He . What drew him to public service and made him dedicate his life to it was man’s inhumanity to man.Principles and legacy Articles related to Periyar Ideologies on[show] Activities[show] v·d·e The neutrality of this article is disputed. Although Periyar's speeches were targeted towards the illiterate and more mundane mass. Ramasami Naicker and C. took time to understand the aspects. in his presentations to his audience.[47] Periyar was not only a social revolutionary but also a champion of the underprivileged. Thus Periyar's used reasoning. V. Communal differences in Tamil society were deep-rooted and appeared to be permanent features until Periyar came to the scene. all were blessed with his tool but very few used it.[47] Periyar viewed reasoning as a special tool. and did not rest until he found a permanent solution. There was no shade of hypocrisy in him and he never attempted sophistry while propounding his social philosophy. Please see the discussion on the talk page.

Periyar spoke to the people on innumerable platforms.[52] . hatred. Stop this life of cheating us from this year. now prevalent in the society are due to lack of wisdom and rationalism and not due to God or the cruelty of time. and wickedness. An example he showed was the West sending messages to the planets. and use their reason to realise that they were being exploited by a handful of people. There is not much difference between 'freedom' and 'self-respect'.[51] He further explained that "any opposition not based on rationalism. If they started thinking. the philosophy of self-respect taught that human actions should be guided by reason. that birth did not and should not endow superiority over others and that they must awaken themselves and do everything possible to improve their own lot. Most of them did not know that their subordinate position had been brought about by the cunning schemes of self-seekers. he stated that no other living being harms or degrades its own class. Freedom means respect to thoughts and actions considered 'right' by human beings on the basis of 'reason'. was based on his image of an ideal world and a universally accepted one. enmity.[47] It was not an easy task for Periyar to create this awakening among the people who had.found that an insignificant minority in society was exploiting the majority and trying to keep it in a subordinate position forever. which has to lead the way for peaceful life to all. religion. He wanted the exploited to sit up and think about their position. selfishness. It is a philosophy preaching that human actions should be based on rational thinking.[50] In a message to the Brahmin community. On caste. science. Periyar explained that wisdom lies in thinking and that the spear-head of thinking is rationalism. Thus. Periyar stated. We were the ruling people. does these evils. while the Tamil society in India were sending rice and cereals to their dead fore-fathers through the Brahmins. "in the name of god. gotten used to a subordinate position. Thus. Give room for rationalism and humanism". over the years to arouse their thinking power. But man. He went on to explain that there is no use of simply acquiring titles or amassing wealth if one has no selfrespect and scientific knowledge. poverty.[47] Likewise. said to be a rational living being. it is an outcome of the natural instinct of human beings to examine every object and every action and even nature with a spirit of inquiry. for generations. The differences. creating difficulties to the workers. Consequently rationalism. lies and conspiracies". they would realise that they were human beings like the rest.[50] Periyar also blamed the capitalists for their control of machineries. Further. reveal the fraud.[51] Self-Respect Main article: Self-Respect Movement Periyar's philosophy of self-respect. had resulted in causing poverty and worries to the people because of dominating forces. degradation. and sastras you have duped us. right and wrong should follow from rational thinking and conclusions drawn from reason should be respected under circumstances. and to refuse to submit to anything irrational as equivalent to slavery. or experience will one day or another.

[54] Much worse was the practice of child marriages practised throughout India at the time. He claimed that in certain places the scheduled caste people were not allowed to use the tanks. Though sporadic caste-violence and atrocities continue to occur in Tamil Nadu.[56] There have been hundreds of thousands of cases where wives have been murdered.[55] Another practice. it was manipulated to enslave women. V. Ramasamy and women's rights As a rationalist and ardent social reformer. and as temple prostitutes. The outcome of this abuse turned to the exploitation of the bride's parents wealth. he advocated for it not only for the health of women and population control. Periyar fiercely stood up against this abuse meted out against women. discrimination has largely been eliminated due to Periyar's agitations against these unjust restrictions. He was keen that women should realise their rights and be worthy citizens of their country.[58] While fighting against this. He continued to remind them that most Brahmins claimed to belong to a "superior" community with the reserved privilege of being in charge of temples and performing archanas. mutilated. In his view it was an example of a list of degradations of women attaching them to temples for the entertainment of others. that women should be given their legitimate position in society as the equals of men and that they should be given good education and have the right to property.[57] Women in India also did not have rights to their families' or husbands' property.Periyar's foremost appeal to people was to develop self-respect. Periyar fought fiercely for this and also advocated for the women to have the right to separate or divorce their husbands under reasonable circumstances. but in many instances dowries were misused by bridegrooms. Though arranged marriages were meant to enable a couple to live together throughout life. and in certain circumstances. It was believed that it would be a sin to marry after puberty.[51] He criticised the hypocrisy of chastity for women and argued that it should also either belong to men. which is prevalent today.[57] While birth control remained taboo in society of Periyar's time. He preached that the Brahmins have monopolised and cheated other communities for decades and deprived them of self-respect. Periyar pushed for the right of women to have an education and to join the armed services and the police force.[59] As a further liberation of women.[58][60] . and burned alive because the father of the bride was unable to make the dowry payment to the husband.[53] Periyar fought against the orthodox traditions of marriage as suppression of women in Tamil Nadu and throughout the Indian sub-continent. throughout his life. Periyar advocated to get rid of the Devadasi system. or not at all for both individuals. He felt that they were trying to reassert their control over religion by using their superior caste status to claim the exclusive privilege to touch idols or enter the sanctum sanctorum. wells and at times even the streets used by Brahmins. is the dowry system where the bride's family is supposed to give the husband a huge payment for the bride. Periyar advocated forcefully. The purpose of this was to assist the newly wedded couple financially.[48] Women’s rights Main article: Periyar E. but for the liberation of women. lead to dowry deaths.

bus transport. and that the philosophy of religion was to organise the social system. Thus. but.Periyar and his movement have achieved a better status for women in Tamil society. the Hindu religion remained totally unsuitable for social progress. the first duty of a government is to run the social organisation efficiently.[61] Periyar's philosophy did not differentiate social and political service. in spite of the ongoing process of urbanisation. That was why he emphasised the view that we must first develop self-respect and . the distinction between rural and urban had meant an economic and social degradation for rural inhabitants. There was a time when no girl opted for engineering studies. lots of young women can be found studying at engineering and medical colleges in Tamil Nadu. He attributed this situation to the state of the social system contrived for the advantage of a small group of people. Periyar advocated for a location where neither the name nor the situation or its conditions imply differences among people. and police stations.[48] His influence in the State departments and even the Center have made it possible for women to join police departments and having posts in the army. the political parties and social workers to identify the evils in society and boldly adopt measures to remove them.[48] Social reform and eradication of caste Main article: Periyar E. roads. libraries. there are State governments encouraging birth control now.[62] According to him. Conditions appeared to him such that the government was not for the people. the people were for the government. Today. V. It was his conviction that in matters of education and employment there should be no difference between men and women. In a booklet called Village Uplift. Periyar wanted to eradicate the concept of "village" as a discrimination word among places. At that time rural India still formed the largest part of the Indian subcontinent.[62] One of the areas of Periyar's focus was on the upliftment of rural communities. In one of his meetings he even wondered why the scientists should not think of producing test tube babies. Ramasamy and social reform Main article: Periyar E. Periyar plead for rural reform. girls started to receive rights over ancestral property along with male children.V. or parents thought of sending their daughter to an engineering college. Periyar was engaged in strenuous propaganda against child marriage and now the government has fixed the minimum age for the marriage of girls to be eighteen. He wanted the Government. Considering the growth in the percentage of Indian population.[64] Periyar felt that a small number of cunning people created caste distinctions in order to dominate over society. just as the concept of "outcast" among social groups.[63] He further advocated for the modernisation of villages by providing public facilities such as schools. Ramasamy and the eradication of caste Periyar wanted thinking people to realise that their society was far from perfect and that it is in urgent need of reform. Periyar confronted this problem even over fifty years ago. He advised married people to limit the birth of children so that both men and women can be able to contribute their society. radio stations. Periyar pointed out that while Christian and Islamic religions were fulfilling this role. Through his advocacy for the equality of men and women. in a "topsy-turvey" manner.

and thus it can be regarded as a zeal for Tamil. current understanding of Dravidian languages contains statements contradicting such claims. He further explains that amongst dogs you do not have a Brahmin dog.[65] Periyar explained that the caste system in south India is. Thus. Malayalam. . But. Periyar was listed amongst the top 100 most influential people amongst Tamil society of the 20th century. Ramasamy and Tamil grammar Periyar claimed that Tamil. Periyar stated that using the Tamil script about the arts. is suffering from these because of religion. Nevertheless. Ancient Tamil Nadu (part of Tamilakkam) had a different stratification of society in four or five regions (Tinai). the currently known classification of Dravidian languages provides the following distinct classes: Southern (including Tamil–Kannada (Malayalam) and Tulu).[66] Periyar also mentions that birds. which are useful to the people in their life and foster knowledge. the political ideal was a mix of casteism and racism. Central (including Telugu–Kui and Kolami– Parji). and propagating them among the masses. Christianity. which viewed the Indian demography along racial dimensions—the Aryan North and the Dravidian South. But. Further. V. due to Indo-Aryan influence. The basis of this strategy was the assumed truth of the Aryan Invasion Theory. But his was targeted against Brahminism and not Brahmins. A self-respecting rationalist will readily realise that caste system has been stifling self-respect and therefore he will strive to get rid of this menace. Telugu. there are no statements attributed to Periyar on any manipulations by other religions such as Buddhism. and Kannada came from the same mother language of Old Tamil.[68] Periyar also stated that if words of North Indian origin (Sanskrit) are removed from Telugu. But man considered to be a rational being. linked with the arrival of Brahmins from the north. and. or Islam. Kannada. For example. talent and courage. only Tamil will be left. Periyar's opponents accused him of attacking Hinduism and the Brahmin community. and the manipulation of Hinduism and not Hinduism as a faith. Northern (including Kurukh–Malto and Brahui). will enlighten the people. He explained that the Tamil language is called by four different names since it is spoken in four different Dravidian states. or differences of high and low in their own species.learn to analyse propositions rationally. determined by natural surroundings and adequate means of living. Additionally. and Malayalam.[9] Tamil language and writing Main article: Periyar E. or a Pariah (untouchable) dog. With relation to writing.[67] Ideals and criticisms Periyar's political ideal was to nullify the effect of perceived Brahmin power in favour of a Shudra power. Among donkeys and monkeys we also do not find such things. statements on the presence of evidence for linking Dravidian languages and Indo-European languages are available. he explained that it will enrich the language. which are considered to be devoid of rationalism do not create castes. animals. and worms. amongst men there is such discrimination.

and economics.[69] At the same time.[74] On caste. the glory and excellence of a language and its script depend on how easily they can be understood or learned and on nothing else" [26] Thoughts on Thirukkural Main article: Thirukkural Periyar hailed the Thirukkural as a valuable scripture which contained many scientific and philosophical truths. According to him. Because of changes brought about by means of modern transport and international contact. He further explained that the older and the more divine a language and its letters were said to be. having a cursive and looped representation of the short form. Thus. This will go on till there is an end to the North Indian domination. We shall reclaim an independent sovereign state for us". he stated how the Tamil spoken by the Andrhas and the Malayalee peoples was far better than the Tamil spoken by the Brahmins. On one occasion. '. the more they needed reform. kE:). With regards to a Dravidian alliance under a common umbrella language. though certain items in this ancient book of ethics may not relate to today. Periyar argued why should not other compound characters like ' '. society.' ' (kI. ki:. Periyar praised Thiruvalluvar for his description of God as a formless entity with only positive attributes. he believed that the Kural illustrates how Vedic laws of Manu were against the Sudras and other communities of the Dravidian race. Periyar believed that Tamil language will make the Dravidian people unite under the banner of Tamil culture. Further. foreign words and their pronunciations have been assimilated into Tamil quite easily. On the other hand. Andhras and the Malayalees be vigilant. it permitted such changes for modern society. Periyar thought that it was sensible to change a few letters. and that it will make the Kannadigas. He also praised the secular nature of the work. He also suggested that one who reads the Thirukkural will become a Self-respecter.[clarification needed] ' In stone inscriptions from 400 or 500 years ago. Periyar was also known to have made controversial remarks on the Tamil language and people from time to time. changing the shape of letters.[74] One of Periyar's quotes on the Thirukkural from Veeramani's Collected Works of . 'இ (I).[49][70][71][72][73] However.' '. Periyar opined that the ethics from the Kural was comparable to the Christian Bible.' ' (kA: . creating new symbols and adding new letters and similarly. dropping those that are redundant. were quite essential according to Periyar. he referred to the Tamil people as "barbarians"[70] and the Tamil language as the "language of barbarians".On the Brahmin usage of Tamil. many Tamil letters are found in other shapes.[26] Periyar's ideas on Tamil alphabet reforms and his reasons were for the following such as the vowel 'ஈ ' (i). absorbing knowledge in politics. reduce the number of letters. The Dravidar Kazhagam adopted the Thirukkural and advocated that Thiruvalluvar's Kural alone was enough to educate the people of the country. and alter a few signs. also have separate signs.kU. Periyar stated that "a time will come for unity. ku:) (indicated integrally as of now).' Just as a few compound characters have separate signs to indicate their length as in ' '. Anita Diehl explains that Periyar made these remarks on Tamil because it had no respective feminine verbal forms. and happenings that have attracted words and products from many countries. As a matter of necessity and advantage to cope with printing technology.

this fear that North India would take the place of Britain to dominate south India became more and more intense. Thirukkural was written by a great Dravidian Thiruvalluvar to free the Dravidians".[74] Self-Determination of Dravidistan Main article: Dravidistan Periyar with Muhammad Ali Jinnah and B. Malayalam and Kannada areas. A separatist conference was held in June 1940 at Kanchipuram when Periyar released the map of the proposed Dravida Nadu.[75] Periyar became very concerned about the growing north Indian domination over the south which appeared to him no different from foreign domination. economic. and lamented that fields such as political.[75][77] The concept of Dravida Nadu was later modified down to Tamil Nadu[78] This led to a proposal of a union of the Tamil people of not only South India but including those of Ceylon as well. industrial. that is roughly corresponding to the then existing Madras Presidency with adjoining areas into a federation guaranteeing protection of minorities.[79] . "as long as Aryan religion. Even a decade before the idea of separation appeared. He wanted to secure the fruits of labour of the Dravidians to the Dravidians.Periyar was "when Dravida Nadu (Dravidistan) was a victim to Indo-Aryan deceit. art. and cultural freedom of the people. propagation of Aryan Vedas and Aryan "Varnashrama" existed. and for his opposition to Hindi. On the contrary. with the approach of independence from Britain. They then decided to convene a movement to resist the Congress. including religious. there was need for a "Dravidian Progressive Movement" and a "Self-Respect Movement". linguistic. Telugu. Periyar stated that. Indo-Aryan domination. Ambedkar The Dravidian-Aryan conflict was believed to be a continuous historical phenomenon that started when the Aryans first set their foot in the Dravidian lands.[76] Periyar was clear about the concept of a separate multi-linguistic nation. R. Periyar received sympathy and support from people such as Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar and Muhammad Ali Jinnah for his views on the Congress. social. but failed to get British approval. comprising Tamil. and spiritual were dominated by the north for the benefit of the north Indians. Thus.

[80] In 1955 Periyar threatened to burn the national flag.[82] However. Periyar was sentenced to six months imprisonment for burning the Indian constitution. The Brahmin is a snake entangled in our feet. His anti-brahmanism was evident from his comments to his followers that if they encountered a Brahmin and a snake on the road they should kill the Brahmin first.[84] He also used violent and vulgar language in his writings against Hindu gods.[89][90] However. he criticised the Central Government of India inducing thousands of Tamilians to burn the constitution of India. He wrote an editorial on 'Tamil Nadu for Tamilians' in which he stated.[81] Advocacy of such a nation became illegal when separatist demands were banned by law in 1957.[26] In his speech of 1957 called Suthantara Tamil Nadu En? (Why an independent Tamil Nadu?).[86] Periyar. which later was the name he substituted for the more general Dravida Nadu.In 1953. Brahmin is not able to dominate because power is in the hands of the Tamilian[91] . "Only if the Brahmin is destroyed. Brahmins occupied about 70 percent[10][86] of the high level posts in government.[83] Anti-Brahmanism vs. Anti-Brahmin Periyar was a radical advocate of anti-Brahmanism. I would only pity him. The reason for this action was that Periyar held the Government responsible for maintaining the caste system.[88] Furthermore. judiciary and the Madras University. but on Chief Minister Kamaraj's pledge that Hindi should not be compulsory he postponed the action. Whatever support they may have from the government. through the Justice Party. caste will be destroyed. it reversed this trend. If anyone thinks so. Periyar resumed his campaign in 1968. Periyar has also advocated the destruction of Brahmins.[85] In 1920 when the Justice Party came to power. If you take off your leg. He will bite. advocated against the imbalance of the domination of Brahmins who constituted only 3 percent[10][87] of the Population over Government jobs. Regardless of these measures. After stating reasons for separation and turning down opinions against it he closed his speech with a "war cry" to join and burn the map of India on June 5. that's all. a Dravida Nadu Separation Day was observed on September 17. Don't leave. allowing non-Brahmins to rise in the government of the Madras Presidency. Periyar helped to preserve Madras as the capital of Tamil Nadu. at the same time. But we will not tolerate the ways in which Brahminism and the Bandiaism is degrading Dravidanadu. After reservation was introduced by the Justice Party.[87] His Self-Respect Movement espoused rationalism and atheism and the movement had currents of anti-Brahminism. neither myself nor my movement will be of cowardice". He advocated that there was need to establish a Tamil Nadu Freedom Organization and that it was necessary to work towards it. that by nationalism only Brahmins had prospered and nationalism had been developed to abolish the rights of Tamils. 1960 resulting in numerous arrests. Periyar stated that: "Our Dravidian movement does not exist against the Brahmins or the Banias (a North Indian merchant caste).

such as fighting the Untouchability Laws and eradication of the caste system. The consequence of this would be continued high-caste leadership. Periyar and Gandhi both cooperated and confronted each other in socio-political action. What else could he sing? His own mother tongue. As shown in the negotiations at Vaikom his methods of abolishing discrimination were: to stress on the orthodox inhumane treatment of Untouchables. Gandhi did not advocate the eradication of Varnasrama Dharma structure but sees in it a task for the humanisation of society and social change possible within its structure. The main difference between them came out when Periyar stood for the total eradication of Hinduism to which Gandhi objected saying that Hinduism is not fixed in doctrines but can be changed. In the Kudi Arasu. According to the booklet Gandhi and Periyar Periyar wrote in his paper Kudi Arasu. If you oppose the Brahmin you will die.[93] but was against discrimination against them using the revaluing term Harijans. Gandhi adapted Brahmins to social change without depriving them of their leadership". Gandhi accepted karma in the sense that "the Untouchables reap the reward of their karma. Gandhi did not advocate the eradication of the Varnasrama Dharma structure but saw in it a task for the humanisation of society and social change possible within its structure. If you eat poison you will die. Sanskrit. Periyar explained that: "With all his good qualities.[93] Peiryar in his references to Gandhi used opportunities to present Gandhi as on principle serving the interests of the Brahmins.…Even if a rat dies in an akrakāram. in 1927. has been dead for years. Therefore nobody can say this is a time of high culture. Periyar and his followers emphasised the difference in point of view between Gandhi and himself on the social issues. Why should this be so? Supposedly because he sang fulsome praises of Tamil and Tamilnadu. If electricity hits the body you will die. Gandhi did not bring the people forward from foolish and evil ways. From this Gandhi learned the need of pleasing the Brahmins if anything was to be achieved. What other language did he know? He cannot sing in Sanskrit."[92] Comparisons with Gandhi In the Vaikom Satyagraha of 1924. The consequence of this would be continued high-caste leadership.…He says Tamilnadu is the land of Aryas. in 1925.…All of Tamilnadu praises him. and to work within a Hindu framework of ideas.[93] . His murderer was an educated man. to secure voluntary lifting of the ban by changing the hearts of caste Hindus.[93] Thus. they would declare it to be immortal. reporting on the fact that Gandhi was ousted from the Mahasabha. Periyar and Gandhi met at Bangalore to discuss this matter. because he opposed resolutions for the maintaining of caste and Untouchability Laws which would spoil his efforts to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity.Periyar also criticised Subramanya Bharathi in the journal Ticutar for portraying Mother Tamil as a sister of Sanskrit in his poems: "They say Bharati is an immortal poet.

[97] Periyar also shoed the images of Krishna and Rama. by stating.On the Temple Entry issue Gandhi never advocated the opening of Garbha Griha to Harijans in consequence of his Hindu belief. Mahar and D. Periyar believed that it was a religion with no distinctive sacred book (bhawad gita).[95] On Hinduism. Periyar stated.[38] Maria Misra. a term that has no meaning". On Islam. the god that does not ask for money. Periyar said: . Periyar also commended Islam for its belief in one invisible and formless God.[94] In a book on revolution published in 1961.. mainly what he regarded as Brahmin domination. These sources which can be labelled "pro-Periyar" with the exception of M.[96] In 1955. the god that does not stop free thinking and research. clearly show that Periyar and his followers emphasised that Periyar was the real fighter for the removal of Untouchability and the true uplift of Hairjans. This did not prevent Periyar from having faith in Gandhi on certain matters. Do not use treachery or deceit. stating that they were Aryan gods that considered the Dravidian Shudras to be "sons of prostitutes". "his contemptuous attitude to the baleful influence of Hinduism in Indian public life is strikingly akin to the antiCatholic diatribes of the enlightenment philosophes".S.[98] Periyar openly suggested to those who were marginalised within the Hindu communities to consider converting to other faiths such as Islam. proclamation of equal rights for men and women. For saying this much I have been called an atheist. That indeed is service to God". based on one of his speeches to railway employees at Tiruchirapalli in 1947. Christianity. and the untouchability of the Dalits (Panchamas). qualified for the definition of what the term 'atheist' implies in his address on philosophy. At a young age. compares him to the philosophes.[25] Anita Diehl explains that Periyar cannot be called an atheist philosopher. V. Sharma. or origins. Periyar. whereas Gandhi was not. a lecturer at Oxford University. Periyar was arrested for his public agitation of burning the pictures of Rama at public places. The thing I call god.[99] At the rally in Tiruchi. he stated how it was good for abolishing the disgrace in human relationship. and advocating of social unity. the inferiority of the Shudras. Speak the truth and do not cheat.[93] Religion and atheism Main article: Periyar E. "be of help to people. He repudiated the term as without real sense: "…the talk of the atheist should be considered thoughtless and erroneous. but to be an imaginary faith preaching the "superiority" of the Brahmins.. he felt that some people used religion only as a mask to deceive innocent people and considered it as his life's mission to warn people against superstitions and priests. flattery and temples can certainly be an object of worship. however.[26] Anita Diehl explains that Periyar was against incompatibility of faith with social equality and not religion itself. or Buddhism. that makes all people equal and free. as a symbolic protest against the Indo-Aryan domination and degradation of the Dravidian leadership according to the Ramayana epic. Ramasamy and religion Periyar was generally regarded as a pragmatic propagandist who attacked the evils of religious influence on society.

When Brahmanism was imposed in this country. It's like that proverb: Fearing the dung. what will be your future[103][104] These comments. We are facing the consequences today. where both he and his followers wanted to liken him and his role to that of the European reformer. 1931.[73] However. Thus. by instilling the Dravidian religion's policies as Islam in the minds of the people"[100] Periyar viewed Christianity similar to the monotheistic faith of Islam. He cites Periyar's sayings from the book "Periyar E V R Sinthanaigal" by Anaimuthu in support of this claim We feared the Brahmin. Dalit leader and founder of Puthiya Tamizhagam K.[105] In 1954. Periyar also found in Buddhism a basis for his philosophy though he did not accept that religion. and up to 1950 were created for the non-Brahmins. The Arabic word for Dravidian religion is Islam. Krishnasamy praises Periyar and credits him for administering justice to Dalits during the 1957 Ramnad riots. Dalit intellectual Ravikumar claims that Periyar was not much of a supporter of the minorities. He explained that their faith says that there can be only one God which has no name or shape. were also perceived as anti-Dalit by a section of the intelligentsia and were the subject of a book "'E V Ramasamy Naickarin Marupakkam" or "The other side of E V Ramasamy Naicker" written by M.[102] Through Periyar's movement Temple Entry Acts of 1924. while Dalits were finally eligible for priesthood. Martin Luther.[104] Factionism in the Justice Party See also: Justice Party (India) . we have stepped on shit. Periyar controversially referred to Tamil Nadu's Christians and Muslims as nonTamils. Christian views such as that of Ram Mohan Roy's The Precepts of Jesus has had at least an indirect influence on Periyar. O Shudra.[26] Controversies Comments on Brahmins.[101] Apart from Islam and Christianity. It was again an alternative in the search for self-respect and the object was to get liberation from the discrimination of Hinduism. Another accomplishment took place during the 1970s when Tamil replaced Sanskrit as the Temple language in Tamil Nadu."Muslims are following the ancient philosophies of the Dravidians. Periyar took an interest in Rev. Venkatesan.Dalits and Religious Minorities However. and yielded extra space to Muslims.[105] His views are echoed by Punitha Pandian of Dalit Murasu. it was Mohammad Nabi who opposed it. along with other controversial comments allegedly made by Periyar. If sahibs (meaning Muslims) get proportionate representation and the Scheduled Castes get representation in jobs and education and if the rest of the slots are monopolised by Brahmins.

[107][111] Petrol bombs were allegedly hurled and devotees attacked at Ayodhya Mandapam.[107] Though Periyar claimed to follow peaceful means of protest.[108] On 7 December 2006.[107][110][111] Followers and influence . activists of the Dravidar Kazhagam have also launched physical attacks on Brahmins. represented in modern times by rightwing organisations as Hindu Munnani and Hindu Makkal Katchi.a faction in the Justice Party known as the "Ginger Group" opposed the resolution and eventually voted it down. these processions often caused violent clashes between Periyar's followers and theists.[106] Though certain members supported the resolution. provincial autonomy is given to the provinces as a result of the reforms that may be granted. a statue of Periyar opposite the Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam was defaced by activists of the Hindu Makkal Katchi. unsuccessful and was severely condemned by Periyar who prohibited the usage of violence.Munuswamy Naidu became the Chief Minister of Madras Presidency. being fed up with the Brahmin's methods and ways of dealing with political questions. as we hope. nevertheless. a splinter group of the Dravidar Kazhagam.when B. by members of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam. Lakshmana and Pillaiyar.[109][110] Supporters of Periyar retaliated with violence against Hindu mutts and temples. a Hindu religious congregational centre in West Mambalam. it was nothing short of folly to think of admitting him into the ranks of the Justice Party.he endorsed the inclusion of Brahmins in the Justice Party saying: So long as we exclude one community. Periyar led processions which slippered and broke idols of Rama. we cannot as a political speak on behalf of or claim to represent all the people of our presidency.In 1930.[107] Tempers reached a boiling point when a member of the Dravidar Kazhagam tried to assassinate Rajagopalachari.Periyar who was then an observer in the Justice Party criticised Munuswamy Naidu saying: At a time when non-Brahmins in other parties were gradually coming over to the Justice Party.[106] This factionism continued till 1932 when Munuswamy Naidu stepped down as the Chief Minister of Madras and the Raja of Bobbili became the chief minister.[106] Violence by Periyar's followers In response to Hindu processions during Ganesha Chathurthi and Ram Navami. What objection can there be to admit such Brahmins as are willing to subscribe to the aims and objects of our Federation? It may be that the Brahmins may not join even if the ban is removed. however. But surely our Federation will not thereafter be open to objection on the ground that it is an exclusive organisation. it should be essential that our Federation should be in a position to claim to be a truly representative body of all communities.[108] The attack was. If.[107] From time to time.

'Sita' and 'Lakshmana' at Periyar Thidal. The same year Periyar's wife. 'Kumbakarna' and 'Indrajit' were burnt in New Delhi. Madras. Karunanidhi. a resolution urging the Government to preserve 80 percent[10] of jobs for Tamils was passed. For this act she was imprisoned. This library contained Periyar's rationalist works. the new head of the Dravidar Kazhagam. the manuscripts of Periyar .[10] On Periyar's Birthday of 17 September 1974. set fire to the effigies of 'Rama'.MGR paying respects to Periyar's mortal remains After the death of Periyar in 1973. conferences were held throughout Tamil Nadu for a week in January 1974. This was a retaliation to the Ramaleela celebrations where effigies of 'Ravana'. Soon after this. Periyar's Rationalist Library and Research Library and Research Institute was opened by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Maniyammai. a camp was held at Periyar Mansion in Tiruchirapalli to train young men and women to spread the ideals of the Dravidar Kazhagam in rural areas. During the 1974 May Day meetings held at different places in Tamil Nadu.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful