ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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TAMIL NADU-Passing of the Periyar

January 12, 1974 TAMIL NADU Passing of the Periyar E V RAMASWAMI, or Periyar ('the Great One') as he was popularly called, breathed his last on Christmas eve, following his close personal friend and bitter political opponent, C Rajagopaia- chari, by exactly a year. While Rajaji had gradually become obsolete to the political process in Tamil Nadu, Periyar had opted out of it when events overtook him. By then, his initially firebrand social movement, which had mounted a frontal attack on traditionalism and particularly on Hindu religion and the caste system, was already frozen into a traditionalism of sorts. Despite their divergent attitudes on social issues, Rajaji and Periyar had one thing in common: both were against any upsetting of the existing economic order. In the result, Periyar's anti-Brahminism and his attack on religion have made no more than a minor dent in Tamil society and the DMK which was the inheritor of his rebellious mantle has been totally absorbed by the system. Nevertheless there can be no justification for ignoring Periyar.

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