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Periyar: A Political Biography of E.V. Ramasamy

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Periyar propagated the principles of rationalism, self-respect, women’s rights and eradication of caste. He opposed the exploitation and marginalisation of the non-Brahmin indigenous Dravidian peoples of South India and the imposition of, what he considered, Indo-Aryan India. His work has greatly revolutionised Tamil society and has significantly removed caste-based discri Periyar propagated the principles of rationalism, self-respect, women’s rights and eradication of caste. He opposed the exploitation and marginalisation of the non-Brahmin indigenous Dravidian peoples of South India and the imposition of, what he considered, Indo-Aryan India. His work has greatly revolutionised Tamil society and has significantly removed caste-based discrimination. He is also responsible for bringing new changes to the Tamil alphabet. The citation awarded by the UNESCO described Periyar as "the prophet of the new age, the Socrates of South East Asia, father of social reform movement and arch enemy of ignorance, superstitions, meaningless customs and base manners"


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Periyar propagated the principles of rationalism, self-respect, women’s rights and eradication of caste. He opposed the exploitation and marginalisation of the non-Brahmin indigenous Dravidian peoples of South India and the imposition of, what he considered, Indo-Aryan India. His work has greatly revolutionised Tamil society and has significantly removed caste-based discri Periyar propagated the principles of rationalism, self-respect, women’s rights and eradication of caste. He opposed the exploitation and marginalisation of the non-Brahmin indigenous Dravidian peoples of South India and the imposition of, what he considered, Indo-Aryan India. His work has greatly revolutionised Tamil society and has significantly removed caste-based discrimination. He is also responsible for bringing new changes to the Tamil alphabet. The citation awarded by the UNESCO described Periyar as "the prophet of the new age, the Socrates of South East Asia, father of social reform movement and arch enemy of ignorance, superstitions, meaningless customs and base manners"

30 review for Periyar: A Political Biography of E.V. Ramasamy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Anbukarasan

    The protesting rationalist This book takes us with Periyar to the chronological movements of power in tamil nadu from pre independence till advent of MGR It is also a reference to later generation to understand the stands of particular groups in tamil politics.

  2. 4 out of 5

    muthuvel

    "When I started the Self-Respect Movement, we had five basic goals - to destroy God, Gandhi, Congress, Religion and Brahmins. of these, Gandhi is dead; Congress too is gone. God's condition is laughable. But when we pass laws to allow anyone to become priests, they get it annulled. We should change this state of affairs." - Periyar in his last speech in Chennai, 1973 A Brief unbiased account on the history of politics of the state, Tamil nadu and the consequences of the happenings are well express "When I started the Self-Respect Movement, we had five basic goals - to destroy God, Gandhi, Congress, Religion and Brahmins. of these, Gandhi is dead; Congress too is gone. God's condition is laughable. But when we pass laws to allow anyone to become priests, they get it annulled. We should change this state of affairs." - Periyar in his last speech in Chennai, 1973 A Brief unbiased account on the history of politics of the state, Tamil nadu and the consequences of the happenings are well expressed through the the author's witty research. Unfortunately or fortunately, the Author didn't analyse the actions of the leader so just up with the facts and happenings. The Author also couldn't analyze some of the claims believed by people mostly by the political motivation of some. As indicated unbiased already, the book not only accounted the fame period but also the negative things the leader gone through like his antibrahmin riots and his authoritative nature. EV Ramasamy known widely as Periyar was the greatest iconolocast rationalistic leader who totally influenced the local political front with his empirical, socialistic ideologies. It is even high tedious and dangerous to carry out his protest methodologies to stand up for a cause. The society may never have another person like him influencing people and politics. A Good book to know about the political history of Tamil nadu and it just starts with this man. Bala Jeyaraman started out as a software engineer, but ended up staying home reading books sleeping late and writing some.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Johny Thomas Kariath

    From the day I saw "Iruvar", I had always wanted to read about Tamil Nadu politics. The stories told by my Chennai-wala friends only further piqued my interest. But truth be told, that was not the reason why I started out to read this book. I don't even remember how this book got into my to-read list. When I started reading the book, I had not yet realized that I was reading a biography about the father of Tamil Nadu politics. Periyar was a through and through revolutionary with ideas that were w From the day I saw "Iruvar", I had always wanted to read about Tamil Nadu politics. The stories told by my Chennai-wala friends only further piqued my interest. But truth be told, that was not the reason why I started out to read this book. I don't even remember how this book got into my to-read list. When I started reading the book, I had not yet realized that I was reading a biography about the father of Tamil Nadu politics. Periyar was a through and through revolutionary with ideas that were way beyond his time. His moves and measures were too extreme for that time, or even today for that matter. But despite all his activities early on, the real game started once Anna came into picture. I don't know whether it was a problem with how the author told his or it was me reading it wrong, Periyar's losses where greater in number than his wins, but then how did he gather all his followers. It felt as if Anna was the real hero in this book, while Periyar was just means to an introduction for the titular character. But I still cannot fathom that it was this single man, who started it all, AIADMK, DMK, everything. His actions made sure that Tamil Nadu will continue to have their home-grown parties ruling them. It was also interesting to know that the many things that seemed weird to me in Chennai made proper sense after I read this, like how Tamils don't generally have surnames - it was because of Periyar!! That said if anyone would like to start upon Tamil Nadu politics, you should start out with the biography of Periyar, the Socrates of South Asia

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vipassana

    Unbiased and easy to read biography on one of Tamil Nadu's formative leaders. I would have loved to read a book with better writing and story telling, however this remains one of the few books available to an english audience wanting to know more about Periyar's legacy. -- December 2019 Unbiased and easy to read biography on one of Tamil Nadu's formative leaders. I would have loved to read a book with better writing and story telling, however this remains one of the few books available to an english audience wanting to know more about Periyar's legacy. -- December 2019

  5. 5 out of 5

    Krishna V

    A good book especially relevant to people like me, who are part of a privileged community

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sudarshan Varadhan

    "Periyar: A Political Biography of E.V. Ramaswamy" by Bala Jeyaraman is a 100+ page biography of the greatest influence on modern Tamil Nadu, an uncompromising anti-caste feminist juggernaut who did not bother to mince words. "Why do we need a conference for Tamil? Why not a conference for onions? Our improvement and welfare has nothing to do with speaking in chaste Tamil. We should use a mixture of English and Tamil while speaking" Fringe parties in TN such as the BJP have laughably tried to call "Periyar: A Political Biography of E.V. Ramaswamy" by Bala Jeyaraman is a 100+ page biography of the greatest influence on modern Tamil Nadu, an uncompromising anti-caste feminist juggernaut who did not bother to mince words. "Why do we need a conference for Tamil? Why not a conference for onions? Our improvement and welfare has nothing to do with speaking in chaste Tamil. We should use a mixture of English and Tamil while speaking" Fringe parties in TN such as the BJP have laughably tried to call him "anti-Tamil". NOBODY can say this today and get away. But Periyar could, because he was Periyar - his commitment to the Tamils is unquestionable by anyone worth their salt. The book is a chronological, objective retelling which also throws light on how this confrontational iconoclast extraordinaire was also human like the rest of us - sometimes insecure and even contradictory, making us wonder if he was an obstinate, fussy kid or a resolute crusader. Sample this - "There can be only one leader for a party. It is absolutely mandatory for all others to follow him. Yes, this is a form of dictatorship. If you don’t like it you are free to leave," independent India's greatest champion of rights and liberty said this in the wake of resistance from fellow comrades who wanted him to tone down a bit to pursue democratic change and power. It is an important lesson in complicated nature of leadership, which has to sometimes decide between commitment to ideals and internal democracy. The other stunning aspect is the militant atheist's friendship with people who disagreed with everything he stood for: the former Brahminical chief minister Rajaji for instance. When Periyar had an organisational tussle, he sought legal opinion from Rajaji. This book also succinctly explains how the DMK split from its parent DK because of ideological disagreement, not because Periyar married a much younger woman. Also interesting is how he supported the Congress-sans-Rajaji for a while instead of the DMK post-independence. I wish the author also wrote about how he disagreed with people but put differences over cause to work with saints like Kundrakudi Adigalar One Sun, one moon, one Periyar

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susmitha Devisetty

    Periyar has always been an inspiration to me, I still remember the goosebumps I had when I was first taught about the Dravidian movement and Anti-Brahmanic movement. His ideology which shatters the age old patriarchal beliefs and religious practices are much needed in this skewed saffron world. This books gives an overview of Periyar’s political journey, a good read for political novices.

  8. 4 out of 5

    A

    DONT FALL FOR THIS. IT IS A FUCKING WIKIPEDIA ENTRY. WHAT A WASTE OF TIME. I SPENT 290 RUPEES FOR THIS. TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY RUPEES. YEP

  9. 4 out of 5

    Allen Cutinha

    I heard about Periyar from a friend. And after reading Annihilation of caste reading about Periyar made sense. As the title says it is a political biography of Periyar from a biased perspective. (Annadurai seems to be idolized more than Periyar). I am keen on learning more about the ideas he talked and fought for. which are just mentioned in this book. Since I cant read tamil need to find a biography of Periyar either in Kannada or English which deals with these topics in detail. Having said this, I heard about Periyar from a friend. And after reading Annihilation of caste reading about Periyar made sense. As the title says it is a political biography of Periyar from a biased perspective. (Annadurai seems to be idolized more than Periyar). I am keen on learning more about the ideas he talked and fought for. which are just mentioned in this book. Since I cant read tamil need to find a biography of Periyar either in Kannada or English which deals with these topics in detail. Having said this, the book does not demonize Periyar. Some how takes a stance which I think has tried to seem neutral and has failed.

  10. 5 out of 5

    VENKATRAMAN C K

    A concise political biography of this great mass Tamil leader and social reformer. We get to see this multi-sided personality who often adopted controversial and contradictory tactics but kept his long term vision consistent. What amazes me is that everything that’s happening these days such as opposition coalition, political manoeuvring, horse trading etc has been happening since independence !! Only a different party was dominant 😀

  11. 5 out of 5

    Narmada Perumal

    This book is an eye-opener for me. I didn't know much about periyar and his life history. I recommend this book for all the young generation . So inspiring person. In 1900's such vision and his accomplishments are really unbelievable. No such person would be ever born to think and act only about society. This book is an eye-opener for me. I didn't know much about periyar and his life history. I recommend this book for all the young generation . So inspiring person. In 1900's such vision and his accomplishments are really unbelievable. No such person would be ever born to think and act only about society.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Toshiba Thrives

    Covers a lot of ground in a book Good introductory text to understand the man.... Difficult to capture all of his life. Better editing between chapters could help improve readability. Example, the chapters dealing with Anna & 1967 elections has a lot of repetition

  13. 4 out of 5

    Praveen Srinivasan

    It is well written in very simple language. It also gives some insight into Indian and Tamil Nadu politics as well.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aditya Bharadwaj

    Must read for anyone looking to understand Tamil politics. The author is fairly unbiased and has kept the book very concise and to the point. It's a good introduction and gives a perspective into the mind of EVR Must read for anyone looking to understand Tamil politics. The author is fairly unbiased and has kept the book very concise and to the point. It's a good introduction and gives a perspective into the mind of EVR

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ananth Krishna

    An informal assesment of EV Ramswamy Naicker and his poltical life. The book is however not a very balanced book that covers all aspects of EVR.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Desh Raj Sirswal

    It's an inspiring biography. I really like to suggest others to read it. He is a great person in his own way to deal with life. It's an inspiring biography. I really like to suggest others to read it. He is a great person in his own way to deal with life.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Layacharan Sandadi

    Rating: 6/10

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sundarraj Kaushik

    A very balanced biography of the much revered political leader of Tamil Nadu. Just like any other leader he had his good points and his warts. As the author rightly says he is neither the saint that his followers make him out to be, nor is he a demon which his detractors make him out to be. He was an ordinary man who succumbed to the normal human temptation of attempting to make the whole world see things from his point of view. The good part was that he wanted a society where everybody is equal A very balanced biography of the much revered political leader of Tamil Nadu. Just like any other leader he had his good points and his warts. As the author rightly says he is neither the saint that his followers make him out to be, nor is he a demon which his detractors make him out to be. He was an ordinary man who succumbed to the normal human temptation of attempting to make the whole world see things from his point of view. The good part was that he wanted a society where everybody is equal irrespective of caste, creed, religion or gender. Some of the stance that he took were militant, like cutting off the tufts and sacred thread of the brahmins. It is arguable if they really deserved it. And in the later part of his life he seems to have become power crazy, power to bring his dreams to reality. The other deified leader who has been brought down to earth in this book is Rajagopalachari. Many think he was a paragon of virtue, but this book brings out the shades of grey in him as well. A eminently readable book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sanjeev

    Initially I thought it will be biased towards Periyar. Like Periyar, the author is honest in writing about him and didn't confine to praising only Initially I thought it will be biased towards Periyar. Like Periyar, the author is honest in writing about him and didn't confine to praising only

  20. 5 out of 5

    Multis

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mayil Vaganan

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nishant Shastry

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vatsala

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sushant

  25. 4 out of 5

    Prerna

  26. 4 out of 5

    Thilip Toxy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anuj Shekhar

  28. 5 out of 5

    subhash

  29. 4 out of 5

    Balagopal Chandrasekhar

  30. 4 out of 5

    Aditi

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