(Last Updated on : 19/07/2012)
Periyar through his religious beliefs made it very clear about his take on various religions in India. He believed that 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. Though the course of his life and while studying various religions, he found Buddhism
as the basis for his philosophy. But, as a matter of fact, he did not accept that religion as self-respect movement in Tamil Nadu
. Periyar was against incompatibility of faith with social equality and not religion itself.
The entire search for the basis started in the course of movement and was intensified soon after independence of India on 15th of August 1947. It was again an experiment which was conducted in search for self-respect and object was to get liberation from shudrahood of Hinduism. A conference was held to propagate Buddhism. It was convened in Erode on 31st January 1954. Later part of that very year, he along with his wife - Maniammai, (whom he married when he was 74 years old) went to Burma to attend the celebration of the 2500th anniversary of Buddha.
Periyar E. V. Ramasamy
stated that things that he was saying and propagating could be found in the teachings of Buddha given 2000 years ago and also wanted to revive them as the independent government had also accepted the wheel of Hindus and Buddha have regarded Buddha as an avatar.
The Brahmins were also accused of covering Buddha within the Aryan religion as they had been hiding Tiruvalluvar within the Aryan fold. Buddha has also put an emphasis on rationalism on intellect as the percept and on thought process for accepting anything. The maltreatment of Buddha by the Brahmins, the burning of Buddhist institutions and teachings and the 'export' of Buddhism to China, Japan and Ceylon were recalled at the conference and Periyar observed that Buddha Vihars at Srirangam, Kanchi, Palani and Tirupati were converted as Hindu temples. But Periyar did not accept B.R Ambedkar
's invitation to convert to Buddhism. He said he wanted to reform Hinduism by staying within its fold.