Erode Venkata Ramasamy (17 September 1879 – 24 December 1973), also called Periyar, Thanthai Periyar or E. V. R. by his followers, was an Indian philosopher, politician, independence and social activist. He started the Self-respect Movement or the dravidian Movement and proposed the creation of an independent state called Dravida Nadu, uniting the states of South India. He was also the founder of the socio-cultural organization, Dravidar Kazhagam. Periyar started his weekly magazine, "Kudi Arasu" to express his views against the Congress party and Mahatma Gandhi.
Life[change | change source]
Periyar was born in Erode, Madras Presidency in a rich family. At a young age, he 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. He always protested against young women getting married to much older people. Periyar, when he was 72, married for a second time, Maniammai who was 32 at the time in July 1948. His second wife, Maniammai, continued Periyar's social work after his death in 1973, but Dravidar Kazhagam was still spreading his thoughts and ideas. Periyar fought for the Tamil language, Tamil people, and for their rights until his death. He was against Brahmin for their caste and religious following. Periyar organized anti-Hindi protests in 1938, against introducing Hindi as a compulsory language of study in schools. Now in the present days, Periyar's followers are increasing all over the world among the Tamil people, due to their interest in Tamil language and history behind them.