On the 140th birth anniversary of E V Ramasamy, popularly addressed as Periyar or ‘the Great One its time to salute his political and social legacy which inspires in us a rational stream of political and social consciousness.
He laid the foundation of political ideologies in Tamil Nadu in the early decades of Tamil Nadu.Periyar formed the Self-Respect Movement in 1925, after coming across Indian National Congress and Mahatma Gandhi which was a vibrant anti-caste, non-Brahmin social movement in that region.
It was not only that the political roots in Tamil Nadu that he focused on strengthening but also on various social aspects of life.
One such issue that he argued for was equal rights of women in marriage, inheritance of property and civic life.
He also argued for accessible contraceptive methods for women, as early as in the 1930s.
He was a visionary who brought “Self Respect Marriages” in the society. These were ceremonies, without any religious, community customs and even without a priest.
He pushed the potential of modernity to secure freedom and dignity, not just for the lower-caste and women.
Socrates, the great ancient Greek philosopher was his ideal in the art of rationality and decision making. He laid intense focus on the art of dialogue and the power of rationale.
His ideologies revolved around the thought that nationalism will make sense only when a nation’s citizens could realise their ideal and dignity. He believed in inclusive growth of individuals which included spread of education, work, equality, unity, initiative and honesty and the abolition of poverty, and untouchability.