Nation Other News 20 Oct 2016 Is Periyar’s f ...

Is Periyar’s fight against superstitions, a means or end?

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Oct 20, 2016, 6:40 am IST
Updated Oct 20, 2016, 6:41 am IST
Representational image
 Representational image

Chennai: For the last five decades, political movements which have their roots in Periyar’s DK are in power, but critical views on the rationalist leader failing to eradicate superstitions continue to pour from several quarters.

But campaigning against superstitions and religion is just the means for the leader and not the end, argue his followers. His main objective is to fight caste discrimination against Sudaras (backward communities) and Adi Dravidars in the name of religion.

People belonging to the backward and scheduled communities have progressed in the state economically, socially and politically, they said and added the state politics is now dominated by the backward communities, who were in the fringes of society, till Periyar supported the rise of veteran Congress leader K. Kamaraj.

Besides, political empowerment, numerous people from the oppressed sections have got government and private employments, besides educational opportunities.

S.P. Veerapandian, who is writing a series of articles on Periyar, said “The self-respect movement of Periyar and his rationalist campaign aimed at annihilation of castes. In fact, the first issue of Kudiyarasu in 1925 came with the symbols of a temple tower, cross and a crescent indicating religious harmony”.

Writing in Kudiarasu on August 11, 1929, Periyar said “when dogs are allowed to roam in the streets around temples, human beings labelled as Adi Dravidas are barred from using the streets. It is said the practice is based on religion and God.

I am not worried about theism or atheism. I am ready to burn all  religious writings which safeguard caste discrimination and hinder social progress”.

The declaration makes his intent and objective clear and reinforces that rationalist campaign is only a route to his goal of social justice.

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