(Last Updated on : 14/09/2017)
Erode Venkata Ramasamy was a businessman
, politician and a social activist
. He was affectionately known as Periyar, Thanthai Periyar or E. V. R., 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 named Dravidar Kazhagam
, a political party
with principles of rationalisation, atheism, women rights
and caste equality.
Early Life of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy
Periyar was born on 17th September 1879 in Erode
, at Madras Presidency
to a rich and famous family of Kannada
. At a young age, he also witnessed many incidents of racial, caste and gender discrimination. Periyar got 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 to Maniammai in July 1948.
Political Life of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy
Periyar E. V. Ramasamy, after quitting his business and resigning from public posts, became a member of the Indian National Congress
in the year 1919. He 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. He mediated and solved many disputes among the businessmen with neutrality and uprightness.
Periyar E. V. Ramasamy and the Eradication of Caste System
Periyar is one of the key players for bringing cast based seat allocation in education and employment. During the time of Indian Independence
, only the high cast people in India were educated and most of the low cast people were not provided proper education and equality in employment. He has done several campaigns for supporting low cast people, made low cast people enter temples
, brought drinking water to low cast villages
The social works of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy were continued by his second wife Maniammai even after his death in 1973. His thoughts and ideas were being spread by Dravidar Kazhagam.