If rationalist leader Periyar E.V. Ramasamy's wife Nagammal and his younger sister Kannammal lived today and picketed the TASMAC outlets, as how they had done at the toddy shops after an order from Mahatma Gandhi, they too might have been slapped by a senior police officer for their 'irreverent' act against the 'divine' drink.
“ While Periyar was in the Congress movement, he involved his wife Nagammal and his younger sister Kannammal in Gandhiji's non-cooperative movement to bring a total ban on alcohol. And this incident in the history of freedom struggle portrays the atheist cum feminist's wish to bring women to public life “ says Parimala Manalan Arokiyasamy, who has edited the book 'Periyar – Indrum, Endrum ( Periyar, today and forever) an omnibus edition of the rationalist leader's selected writings.
However, Arokiyasamy says:
“ Nagammal and Kannammal played a key role in the anti-liquor stir of those days, and there have been no reports of the two women got beaten up by police. What's more, even in the salt satyagraha, the British cops did not exercise violence on women. But a police officer slapped a woman protestor in the recent anti-liquor stir at Samalapuram in Tirupur district. The barbaric act reflects only a society, which is devoid of culture ”
A well-read man in the moral pieces of Tamil literature, Arokiyasamy says:
“ Despite great developments in science and technology, the present day society lacks in moral values. With Tamil being rich in didactic pieces of literature, edifying works like Thirukural and Naladiyar need to be taught to the modern day cops in order to make them understand what humanity is”
A retired post master from the Central Post Office and a staunch follower of Periyar EVR's ideology on feminism, Arokiyasamy tagged his wife's name 'Parimalam' with his, and has been called ' Parimala Manalan Arokiyasamy' ever since the day when he took to writing.
'Parimalam', as he is shortly mentioned by the intellectuals of Coimbatore, points out:
“ Periyar EVR is incorrectly understood as a mere atheist and materialist. And most of us have failed to know him a great humanist, whose atheism is based on humanism.”
As a student in the Government Arts College, Coimbatore in the early 1970s, Parimalam, with his college mates, met Periyar when the leader came to meet his friend and popular scientist G.D.Naidu in the city.
“ As we entered the G.D Naidu Hall, Periyar stood up in respect and welcomed us. In course of his conversation, he advised us to concentrate only on our academic studies and not get deviated from the path of progress ” reminisces Parimalam
However, in the following year, Parimalam experienced a rare coincidence in his life:
“ After my graduation, I felt the compulsion of taking up a job. And I received the appointment order from the Department of Posts on December 24, 1973 - the very day Periyar breathed his last !. And the agony caused by the great man's demise, did not allow me to share my joy of getting the government job with anyone“
Periyar – Indrum, Endrum – In a nutshell
The voluminous book has been published by the city-based ' Vidiyal Pathipagam'. The work acknowledges V.Anaimuthu, a veteran researcher on Periyar's literature, Dravidar Kazhagam leader K.Veeramani and Kolathur Mani, founder of Dravidar Viduthali Kazhagam, from whose publications the articles were taken. Pulavar Senthalai. Na. Gowthaman, the first social historian of Coimbatore, and Tholkappiyan, another ardent collector of Periyar's works, provided the source materials to the editor for making this comprehensive book. The work brings out the necessity of Periyar's ideas, from whose perspective one can view the social and political affairs of any time. A convenient material for quick reference,the work has been compiled in the discipline of EVR's articles under respective titles as society, religion, god, caste, philosophy, education, culture, women's emancipation and so on.
Link to the article in The New Indian Express : http://epaper.newindianexpress.com/c/18408825