Unveiling Periyar's Vision: A Tribute to the Self-Respect Movement Pioneer

Unveiling Periyar's Vision: A Tribute to the Self-Respect Movement Pioneer

Embracing Periyar's Legacy on His Death Anniversary

December 24 signifies the remembrance of E V Ramasamy, fondly known as Periyar, a trailblazing social reformer renowned for initiating the Self-Respect Movement in Tamil Nadu. In this tribute, we delve into the profound impact of Periyar's ideas, focusing on key aspects of his vision that reshaped societal norms.

Challenging Brahmanical Patriarchy: Periyar's Struggle for Equality

Periyar vehemently opposed Brahmanical patriarchy, striving to dismantle age-old hierarchies and untouchability. His vision extended to the creation of Dravida Nadu, envisioning a homeland free from societal prejudices.

"Why Women were Enslaved": Periyar's Iconic Call for Liberation

More than 75 years ago, Periyar authored 'Penn Yaen Adimai Aanaal?' ('Why Women were Enslaved'), a groundbreaking Tamil book advocating women's liberation. Meena Kandaswamy's English translation reveals Periyar's plea for women to reject traditional norms, champion property rights, embrace remarriage, and defy chastity.

Pregnancy: A Barrier to Women's Independence

Periyar staunchly believed that pregnancy hindered women's freedom. He emphasized the need for a more significant campaign for birth control, asserting that it surpassed the importance of combating liquor and diseases. According to him, pregnancy led to women's ailments, premature aging, reduced lifespan, and hindered their pursuit of elite positions in society.

Widow Remarriage: Periyar's Personal Inspiration

Drawing from personal experiences, Periyar advocated for widow remarriage. His poignant anecdote of his 10-year-old niece prompted him to challenge societal norms and facilitate her remarriage, highlighting the injustice faced by widowed women.

Property Rights: A Catalyst for Women's Empowerment

Periyar identified the denial of inheritance rights as a key factor enslaving women. He argued that granting women education and a profession would empower them to acquire property, choose their life partners, and lead independent lives.

Prostitution: Unveiling Gender Disparities

Periyar critically examined gender disparities in prostitution, highlighting society's double standards. He argued that labeling women as prostitutes reinforced their subjugation, emphasizing the need for equal scrutiny of men's behavior.

The Right to Divorce: Embracing Mutual Consent

Periyar advocated for marriages based on mutual consent, endorsing divorce when couples no longer found happiness or fulfillment. He believed in creating space for the annulment of marriages to ensure both men and women could lead satisfying, independent lives.

Liberation Through Women's Leadership

In a revolutionary stance, Periyar argued that women should lead the movement for their liberation, challenging societal norms that perpetuated their subjugation.

Evaluating Periyar's Legacy and Addressing Criticisms

While Periyar's contributions are commendable, he faced criticisms, particularly regarding his own marital choices. Acknowledging these critiques is essential in comprehending the complexities of his personal life.

As we commemorate the death anniversary of this visionary leader, Periyar's legacy endures, inspiring ongoing conversations about gender equality, individual autonomy, and societal progress.

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