On 17 September, 2010, Triveni Sangh, Bihar, Patna organized a meeting of intellectuals and activists belonging to various organizations related to dalit and OBC movement to remember Thanthai Periyar E V Ramasami.

The meet was presided over by Dr Rajiv Kumar Rajak, Mch (Plastic Surgery), Assistant Professor, Patna Medical College Hospital, Patna and National Executive Member, BAMCEF and a dalit. There were three speakers to speak on the occasion. Shambhu Suman, a chemistry teacher in a local government Sr Secondary School, and an OBC, told that two adjectives have been given by the Tamil people to him-Thanthai and Periyar meaning the Great Father. (Thanthai= father; Periyar = The great one).

He was truly a great father as like a dutiful father he made us conscious to break free from mental slavery of religious superstitions and to value self respect. Without self respect and rationalism the man is reduced to a bonded labour who does not even think of getting freedom. The people of North India are gradually coming to know of the role played by Thanthai Periyar in awakening the backward castes to fight against Brahminical social order.

Periyar’s life and services remembered

Ashok Yadav, belonging to All India Federation of OBC Employees Welfare Associations and steering committee member of Triveni Sangh, spoke about Periyar’s early life, his spending days in Varanasi, the Mecca of Brahminism, his public service in his home town of Erode, early Congress politics, differences with the Congress, joining Justice Party, journey to the Soviet Union and on getting influenced by Marxism Leninism thoughts, launching of a leftwing organisation, anti-Hindi agitation, famous and historical iconoclastic works, demand of a separate Dravidian nation state, agitation against the Supreme Court judgment against communal representation in Tamil Nadu that resulted
in first constitutional amendment leading to formation of first and later on second backward class commission, better known as Mandal Commission. He also emphasized Periyar’s contribution to women liberation.

Legal fight against the ban of the book ‘Sachi Ramayan’ based on the work of Periyar

Ashok Yadav told that north India was well familiar with the life and works of Periyar. He narrated events from the life of Lalai Singh Yadav of Uttar Pradesh. Lalai Singh Yadav wrote a book known as ‘Sachi Ramayan Ki Chabi’ i.e. ‘The Key To Understanding True Ramayan’ based on the famous polemical work of Periyar.

Ashok Yadav told that Thanthai Periyar along with Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar and Sardar Bhagat Singh were the three greatest revolutionaries of 20th century India whose life, works and teachings held a beacon of light for the SCs, STs and OBCs of this country.

When the book was first published it was banned by the government of Uttar Pradesh. Lalai challenged the ban in the court of law which set aside the government’s ban order. UP government challenged the order of Allahabad High Court in the Apex Court which too termed the ban unconstitutional. When Lalai stood to speak in the meeting to condole death of Periyar in Chennai he was cheered as ‘Uttar Bharat Ka Periyar, Lalai Singh Yadav, Lalai Singh Yadav’ i.e.

Periyar’s Mela celebrated in Uttar Pradesh by Ms Mayavathi

‘ North India’s Periyar, Lalai Singh Yadav, Lalai Singh Yadav’. He also recalled the episode related to Mayawati. When during her last stint as UP CM she announced for organizing Periyar Mela in Lucknow the BJP which was supporting her government from outside threatened to withdraw the support. Ashok Yadav told that Thanthai Periyar along with Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar and Sardar Bhagat Singh were the three greatest revolutionaries of 20th century India whose life, works and teachings held a beacon of light for the SCs, STs and OBCs of this country.

The third speaker Er Umesh Rajak, BAMCEF State Pracharak and a dalit, narrated the story of encounter of Periyar with Gandhi. He mentioned the fact of his being conferred with the title of Socrates of South Asia by the United Nations. He stressed upon the need to popularize life, works and teachings of Periyar among the SCs/STs/OBCs. Dr Rajiv told that it was a pity that birthday of a social revolution icon such as that of Periyar was not being celebrated as an occasion of festivities for the shudras and ati shudras of our society.

People must be made aware of the legacy of Periyar

Not to speak of the vast multitudes of illiterates of our society, even the well educated are not well aware of the legacy of Periyar. So the individuals and organizations working for social justice and change should strive hard to make people aware of the legacy of Periyar. Otherwise our future is doomed. Shashikant, a journalist and an OBC, too spoke on the occasion. He told that an event like this would go a long way in reviving, popularizing and strengthening of the legacy of Thanthai Periyar EVR.

The meeting was conducted by Rameshwar Choudhary, convener of Triveni Sangh. He also spoke on the occasion and paid rich tribute to Periyar. The event was organized in the meeting hall of Patel Sewa Sangh. The meeting was also attended by Sri Janaki Singh, the President of Patel Sewa Sangh. The vote of thanks was given by Sri Ashok Kumar, the executive committee member of Patel Sewa Sangh. It is to be noted here that Triveni Sangh was the first backward castes organization of Bihar established in 1933. It was revived recently.

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  • Periyar Pinju