Friday, September 17, 2004

What if Periyar had not been born?

By P C Vinoj Kumar in Chennai
Friday, 17 September , 2004

It is that time of the year when political leaders in Tamil Nadu remember Periyar E V Ramasamy Naicker, one of the world’s all time great social revolutionaries. September 17, 2004, is the 126th birth anniversary of Periyar, the founder of ‘Dravida Kazhagam,’ the parent party of all Dravidian parties.

Periyar spearheaded a movement that had such a revolutionary impact on society, which could be understood better, if we imagine for a moment that this man was never born.

What if Periyar were not born? Would it have changed the way we live, eat and sleep in the 21st century?

“Definitely,” says Periyar Dravida Kazhagam (PDK) leader Viduthalai Rajendra, “If Periyar had not been born, non-Brahmins would still be in bondage. Education, human rights, and self-respect would have been a distant dream to us. The three percent Brahmins would have completely dominated all spheres of life.”

He points out that Brahmins had separate hotels, and even special wards in hospitals in the State, before Periyar got into action.

“There was total discrimination against non-Brahmins. They were denied education, and according to government rules, one had to know Sanskrit to even apply in Madras Medical College. And remember, at that time non-Brahmins could not easily study Sanskrit,” recalls Rajendran.

The situation has changed today, he says. According to him, in admissions to medical colleges in the State, students from backward classes, most backward classes, scheduled castes, and scheduled tribes have got 73 percent of the seats in the open category. “This situation has come about only because of Periyar,” he says.

Not just that, if Periyar had not been born, “Hindi may be the State language today. Attempts by leaders like Rajaji to impose Hindi would have been successful and Tamil may have become extinct. Also, Rajaji would have successfully implemented his controversial education policy against non-Brahmins,” says Rajendran.

Rajaji introduced certain reforms in education in 1952 when he was CM in the erstwhile Madras Presidency. It was widely perceived as encouraging caste system. According to the plan, schools were to function till forenoon. In the afternoons students had to compulsorily learn the family vocation.

A carpenter’s son would learn carpentry, and a barber’s son had to go to his father’s saloon to learn the art of cutting hair! The DMK dubbed it the Kula Kalvi Thittam (Hereditary Education Policy) and called for scrapping it at once.

Dalit leader and Puthiya Thamizhagam leader Dr. K Krishnasamy pays glowing tribute to Periyar. “All his life he fought against Brahmin domination. If he were alive today, he would have fought for Dalits. Periyar supported Dalits in the 1957 caste clashes. His correct stand made Kamaraj take the right kind of action against the oppressors,” he says.

Editor of Dalit Murasu, Punitha Pandian, asserts that if Periyar were alive today, he would have continued to oppose Brahmins.

“Their domination has not been completely uprooted. It is not backward castes that are against Dalits. It is the Brahmins who created caste system, and it is they who want to protect it,” he argues.

All said and done, nobody could deny that Periyar did his bit to achieve an equal society. Periyar encouraged inter-caste marriages and promoted self-respect marriages, which were conducted without priests.

Indeed, the situation has changed considerably and a modicum of equality achieved. Today, many Brahmin women are married into powerful Dravidian families, wielding influence and political clout. Some of the politically influential families have Brahmin daughters-in-law today. This would not have happened if Periyar had not been born.

Source: Sify news, September 17, 2004


At November 2, 2015 at 4:08 AM, Blogger Lakshmi Narayanan said...

At November 2, 2015 at 4:25 AM, Blogger Lakshman Rama said...

Tamil Nadu is a failed state like Pakistan. TN which was known as temple of intellects once has been reduced to theatre of absurd first by so called periar and then by the party which won the election on the plank of self rule and self respect but mired with freebie culture and breweries addicts thus pregnant with a dull, mopish and indolent society. That is also buttressed by some more regional parties to get some dole of their share in the loot thus all comical parties like MDMK, DMDK, PMK and so on. When the scale is dangling few grains will be added to down the item side and the comrades plays the role of such grains. Thus they had devastated the state with their five decade governance. As the center adoring Nehru Gandhi clan, they do it for Periar, Anna and MGR for their own survival taking umbrage of the ignorance of the common


Post a Comment

<< Home