Periyar E. V. Ramasamy

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Periyar Erode Venkata Ramasamy (Tamil: பெரியார், Kannada: ಪೆರಿಯಾರ್; 17 September 187924 December 1973), also known as Ramaswami, EVR, Thanthai Periyar, or Periyar, was a Dravidian social activist and former politician from India, who founded the Self-Respect Movement and Dravidar Kazhagam.


  • By helping the poor, we must be able to remove their poverty. By extending help to one here and one there in the form of providing food will not remove poverty
  • If god is the root cause for our degradation destroy that god. If it is religion destroy it. If it is Manu Darma, Gita, or any other Mythology (Purana), burn them to ashes. If it is temple, tank, or festival, boycott them. Finally if it is our politics, come forward to declare it openly".
    • Veeramani, January 1981 (2005) Collected Works of Periyar E.V.R., Third Edition, Chennai. The Periyar Self-Respect Propaganda Institution, p. 489.
  • Man is equal to man. There should not be exploitation. One should help the other. No one should harm anybody. Generally there should be no room for grievance or complaint from anybody. Everyone should live and let others to live, with a national spirit.
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 49.
  • There should be no differentiation amongst the people. All should be treated as equals. On this basis the Brahmin must give up his false prestige. In the interest of the society. I say that the blind beliefs should be given up. If the newspapers “Hindu” and the “Swadesamitran” carry on false propaganda that I am communal, I am not responsible for that".
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 518.
  • The word ‘Sudra’ which means ‘Son of prostitute’ should not find a place even in the history hereafter. We will not allow it to find a place in the dictionary or encycl
    • In the Collected Works of Periyar E.V.R., p. 490.
  • Because our ladies mostly attend Kalatshepams, (Religious discourses) they have fallen prey to the superstitions, blind beliefs, and immorality by the false and fictituous propaganda of the Brahmins
    • Quoted in Collected Works of Periyar E.V.R., p. 517.
  • As long as we give room for domination and the dominators, there will be worries and worried people. Poverty and |pestilence will live eternally in the country
    • Quoted in “Collected works of Periyar E.V.R.”, p. 54.
  • There is no use of simply acquiring titles or amassing wealth if one has no self-respect and scientific knowledge.
    • Quoted in “Collected works of Periyar E.V.R.” p. 511.
  • When the purpose of clearly exposing the differences between the Aryan and the Tamil culture, civilization, conduct and creed Thirukkural was written. I am of that firm view.
  • Quoted in Collected works of Periyar E.V., p. 506.
  • Whomsoever I love or hate, my principle is the same. That is, the educated, the rich and the administrators should not suck the blood of the poor.
    • Quoted in Quotes of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy,
  • It gave me extraordinary pleasure to fling at the pundits their own contradictions and Thus perplex Them. It also gave me the reputation, among our neighbours of being a clever speaker. I believe that it was this experience which deprived me of faith in castes and communities, in religion, in "puranas", in "sastras" and in god.
  • I have not talked of anything to despise the Brahmins, just because they are born as Brahmins.
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 517.
  • Brahmins cannot hope to claim a high and superior status forever. Times are changing. They have to come down. Then only they could survive with dignity. Otherwise they will one day be forfeiting their high status. It will not be by force. It will be just laws of the land and the people.
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 516.
  • I want the Brahmins to realize that the Dravidian people today are very much hating those who cunningly cheated them with absurdities. They are now aware of the particular community making a living by spreading the foolishness. People have begun to hate god, religion, caste, mythologies (puranas) and so on".
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 517.
  • Those who still believe the Brahmins should take a serious not of the changing times and start leading an awakened life.
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, pp. 518 & 519.
  • While all men are born as equals, to say that Brahmins alone are the highest and all others are low as Pariah (the Untouchables) or Panchama is sheer nonsense. It is roguish to say so. It is a big hoax played on us
    • Quoted in “Collected works of Periyar E.V.R.”, p. 482.
  • I am accused of ruining the world. What is it I am going to gain by ruining the world? I do not understand what the Brahmin devotees actually feel. Will anyone carry on propaganda to ruin the world? I hope they would soon think with reason.
  • Quoted in “Collected works of Periyar E.V.R”, p. 513.
  • We do not need to explain how the Aryans entered and settled in the Dravidian country (tira¯vit»a na¯» t»u), and subjugated and oppressed the Dravidians. Nor do we need to explain how before the Aryans entered the Dravidian country, the Dravidian country had a civilization and arts of the highest rank.
  • Aryans made the Dravidians to celebrate the Deepavali festival, Rama's birthday, Krishna's birthday. Similarly the Northerners made the Dravidians celebrate August 15th as the Independence Day. That is all. There is no other benefit or laudable reason.
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 502.
  • If we have a girl at home who has attained puberty, some one should come and ask for alliance. Otherwise the girl will have to remain a virgin only. But in a Brahmin's house if there is a girl who has attained puberty the Brahmin will go from door to door seeking a bridegroom. This is the difference between the Aryan and the Dravidian customs.
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 517.
  • We see morality in speeches and writings. We do not find it in practice. We are having different regulations for the males and the females. Our code of conduct is unfair to women. Child marriage is abolished. If there is right to divorce, right for widows to remarry and if women are now given certain rights, we will not see prostitution in the country. It will gradually disappear.
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 512.
  • A male has the right to wander about as he pleases. He has the right to marry any number of girls. This practice has led to prostitution.
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 513.
  • What for is marriage? It is to unite a man and a woman to enjoy a natural life with happiness. It is to find solace after hard work. Most of the people do not realize that marriages are for sharing pleasures of the wedded life.[citation needed]
  • Marriages should culminate on account of the wishes of the couple. It is their knitting of the hearts that should lead to marriages".
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, pp. 518 & 519.
  • Man treats woman as his own property and not as being capable of feelings, like himself. The way man treats women is much worse than the way landlords treat servants and the high-caste treat the low-caste. These treat them so demeaningly only in situations mutually affecting them; but men treat cruelly and as slaves, from their birth till death.
  • Village reform is not merely cleaning the roads, constructing schools and worshipping monasteries. It is not mere celebration of festivals.
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 513.
  • Money lending is a horrible profession. If we are to call it otherwise it is lawful plundering.
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 514.
  • The number of those who do selfless public service and those who serve without expecting any return, should increase. Their sterling qualities should show the way to the people at large. Their life would be a model to show how man should conduct himself in public life.
  • You cannot expect any rational thought from a religious man. He is like a rocking log in water.
    • Quoted in “Collected works of Periyar E.V.R.” p. 50.
  • Any opposition not based on rationalism or science or experience will one day or other, reveal the fraud, selfishness, lies and conspiracies.
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 504.
  • Foreigners are sending messages to the planets. We are sending rice and cereals to our dead fore-father through the Brahmins. It is a wise deed?
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 511.
  • I want to say a word to the Brahmins, “In the name of God, religion, sastras you have duped us. We were the ruling people. Stop this life of cheating us from this year. Give room for rationalism and humanism.
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, pp. 518 & 519.
  • Capitalists control the machineries. They create difficulties to the workers. Consequently rationalism, which has to lead the way for peaceful life to all, has resulted in causing poverty and worries to the people because of dominating forces
    • Quoted in “Collected works of Periyar E.V.R.” p. 511.
  • It is absurd to quote religion or God or religious doctrines to render the people as lowest castes.
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 511.
  • The Brahmins are making you fools in the name of god. He makes you have faith in superstitions. He leads a very comfortable life condemning you as untouchable. He bargains with you to offer prayers to god on your behalf. I strongly condemn this brokerage business and warn you not to believe such Brahmins anymore".
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 485.
  • There is no Brahmin or Sudra (Backard Caste) or Pariah (the Untouchables) in England. In Russia you do not have Varnasrama (Casteism) dharma or fate".
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 486.
  • People are talking high of Thiruvalluvar. But in practice they do not respect his teachings. They act against him and disregard him".
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 505.
  • When Dravidanadu was a victim to Aryan deceit, Thirukkural was written by a great Dravidian Thiruvalluvar to free the Dravidians".
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 506.
  • Thirkukkural was written to show a good path to the people to create values in life and to develop a good order in the society.
    • Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 506.
  • The Jews are only interested in themselves, and nobody else. They somehow contrive to have the rulers in their pocket, participate in governance and conspire to torture and suck the lives out of other citizens in order that they live (in comfort). ... Are they not comparable to the Brahmins who too have no responsibility but have the rulers in their pocket, have entered the ruling dispensation and been lording over (all of us)?
    • Periyar E.V. Ramasamy writing in his magazine Kudiyarasu. (Naan Sonnal Unakku Yen Kopam Vara Vendum, vol. 4, p. 532, compiled by Pasu. Gowthaman)
  • An earlier anti-Brahmin activist, Ramaswamy Naicker, had said that "we will do with the Brahmins what Hitler did with the Jews". Another slogan of his was: "If you see a snake and a Brahmin, kill the Brahmin first".
    • Ramaswamy Naicker, Attributed and quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society

About Periyar[edit]

Periyar during the during Self respect movement for the Dravidian cause
  • I strongly condemn the statement of a BJP leader and a Member of Parliament that the BJP has come here to eradicate ‘Periyarism’ (Periyar policy) in Tamil Nadu. Father Periyar was the one who fought and won against the poisonous policy of ‘Sanatana Dharma’.
  • The enormous privileges given to Brahmins by the Vedas were sacrosanct only as long as they went unchallenged. The challenge rose in the Tamil country like a whirlwind spearheaded by an iconoclast who questioned the Vedas and the gods as well. He took apparently extremist positions on some issues, but the fundamental nature of the social revolution he wrought was clear even to its victims. The political perspectives of Tamil Nadu and with it much of India, were altered with as seeming finality by Ramaswamy Naicker.
  • Periyar was accepted and acclaimed as the leader by a significant section of the Tamil population in spite of all his contempt for Tamil and disdain for Tamils only because he was perceived to be a genuine individual, a rarity among those in public life. There was no shade of hypocrisy in him and he never attempted sophistry while propounding his social philosophy.
  • It is an irony that the religious discourses which were intended to Kindle piety and religiosity in all listeners produced the opposite effect on Ramasami. As he grew up, he became convinced that some people used religion only as a mask to deceive innocent people. That was why he took it as one of the duties in his life to warn people against superstitious and priests.
    • Mr M.D. Gopalakrishnan, in" Rationalist /Social Reformer/”.
  • While Jaffrelot resorts to convoluted ways to invent racism in the Hindu polity, he develops a blind eye to the racism prevalent in the forging of Dravidian identity. He eulogizes E.V. Ramasami as an ‘egalitarian in a western individualist vein’. Jaffrelot completely glosses over the fact that Kudi Arasu , the official journal of Ramasami's movement, praises Hitler explicitly and draws parallels between Jews and Brahmins. Kudi Arasu quotes at length Hitler's reasons for despising Jews, as found in Mein Kampf and how he vowed to purge alleged Jewish dominance in the German society. It admiringly describes how Hitler accomplished his avowed promise of ending Jewish dominance in Germany, and it warns that the Brahmins of South India pose the same danger as the Jews of pre-Nazi Germany. He praises the racist Afro-Dravidianism of Periyar as ‘an explicitly ethnic conception of the low castes’ identity'. He compares their situation to that of the blacks in South Africa.
    • Malhotra, R., Nīlakantan̲, A., & Infinity Foundation (Princeton, N.J.). (2016). Breaking India: Western interventions in Dravidian and Dalit faultlines.

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