(Last Updated on : 18/07/2012)
Erode Venkata Ramasamy was born on 17th September 1879 and was affectionately known as Periyar, Thanthai Periyar or E. V. R., was a businessman, politician, Indian independence and social activist, who started the Self-Respect Movement or the Dravidian Movement and proposed the creation of an independent state called Dravida Nadu comprising South India. He also was the founder of the socio-cultural organization, Dravidar Kazhagam.
Early Life of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy
Periyar was born in Erode, at Madras Presidency to a rich and famous family of Kannada speaking Balijas. At a young age, he also witnessed many incidents of racial, caste and gender discrimination. Periyar married when he was 19, and had a daughter who lived for only 5 months. His first wife, Nagammai, died in 1933. Periyar married for a second time in July 1948. His second wife, Maniammai, continued Periyar`s social work after his death in 1973, but still his thoughts and ideas were being spread by Dravidar Kazhagam.
Political Life of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy
He, after quitting his business and resigning from public posts, became a member of the Indian National Congress
in the year 1919. Periyar took active part in politics along with Mahatma Gandhi
and participated in various non-violent movements along with him. And during the process he was arrested many times. During non-cooperation movement he made tremendous contribution. Periyar was elected the President of the Madras Presidency
Congress Committee during the Tirupur session, where he advocated strongly for reservation in government jobs and education. His attempts were defeated in the Congress party due to a strong presence of discrimination and indifference, which led to him leaving the party in 1925.
Social Reforms by Periyar E. V. Ramasamy
Periyar E. V. Ramasamy, throughout his life, has worked extensively towards the betterment of Indian society and also helped in making sure that social taboo like the caste system and other superstitions were completely eradicated. He made great contribution towards promotion of education among the needy and poor people, and also worked to make a better society for women. Periyar E. V. Ramasamy worked hard for eradication of caste system from the society.