One of the most controversial figures of 20th century Bharat is E.V. Ramasamy (EVR), founder of the ‘Dravidian Movement’ who is also known by his followers as ‘Periyar’ meaning ‘respected one’ or ‘elder’ in Tamil.
Born on this day, 17 September, 1879 in Erode to a a Kannada Balija merchant family, he later dropped his family surname Naicker. EVR was President of the anti-Brahmin Justice Party, and in 1944 renamed it as Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) or “Dravidian Association”. DK later split with one group led by C. N. Annadurai forming the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), but DMK still retained ideological ties with the parent DK.
Although touted as an anti-caste activist by his hagiographers, EVR had no love lost for Dalits, and often advocated the interests of dominant land-holding sections at the expense of the poor peasants.
However, EVR’s hate for Brahmins was of a different magnitude. It was actually no different than the German Nazi view of Jews. An audio has emerged, of a spine-chilling Tamil speech delivered by EVR in 1973 (the year he died) where he says that ‘all Tamil Brahmins must be killed and all temples and murtis destroyed’.
Mr E.V. Ramasamy (Periyar) 1973 Karaikudi speaking about a solution for Tamizh Brahmin problem and 1:1 pic.twitter.com/9M2JGsg6Lt
— Reality Check India (@realitycheckind) September 10, 2020
The ‘final solution’ given by ‘Periyar’ to the ‘Tamil Brahmin problem’ in the above speech is simple arithmetic: As Brahmins constitute 3% of Tamil society, assuming non-Brahmins and Brahmins are killed in a 1:1 ratio during the violent genocide, there will still be 94% Tamils left after the killings, but zero Brahmins!
How is this different from what Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels thought about Jews? It can be safely said that the only thing which prevented EVR’s indoctrinated followers from actually carrying out a Tamil Brahmin genocide was lack of state power and weaponry.
Amazingly, while Periyar is projected as a ‘humane progressive’ by historians, academics and commentators, RSS is projected as a ‘Hitler-loving, anti-Semitic organisation’ for a few lines penned by Guru Golwalkar in his first book on nationalism written in 1938. The context and period in which those lines were written – at a time when Bharat was trying to free itself from brutal British rule and hence many including Subhash Bose looked upon Hitler as a potential ally, and before World War 2 and the horrors of Holocaust even unfolded – is conveniently overlooked, and secondary sources by hostile, Hinduphobic Europeans like Christophe Jaffrelot are used to vilify Hindus and Hindutva!
EVR and DK’s anti-Hindu bigotry was on full show during a ‘Superstition eradication rally’ in January 1971 where DK men slippered images of Sri Ram, Sri Murugan (Kartikeya) and carried placards that had perverse images on the birth of Sri Ayyappa, Sri Murugan among others. There were also portraits of Sri Ram and Devi Sita without clothes and garlanded with slippers.
EVR was an advocate of a separate Dravidian country, Dravida Nadu, and kept stoking separatism among Tamils right upto his death in 1973. He was a firm believer in the racist Aryan-Dravidian theory manufactured by British colonisers like Bishop Robert Caldwell.
Today, EVR’s ideological successors in DMK keep his legacy alive through Hindu and Hindi/Sanskrit bashing while appeasing fundamentalist followers of globally dominant Abrahamic religions. Brahmins, meanwhile, have either migrated out of TN or become inured to the constant hate-mongering both in speech and actions like their janeu (sacred thread) or shikha (tuft of hair) being forcefully cut.
Did you find this article useful? We’re a non-profit. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.