A letter to Periyar E.V.Ramasamy

a kid who had no chance to
write while he is alive

Dear Affectionate Periyar Grandpa,
Thank you for your sacrifices, time and dedication.

It is astonishing how you have done so many revolutions not only for the previous generation and my generation, but also for every future generation to come. You did not go to college . . . yet because of you many colleges were built. Many have graduated and have a brighter future for themselves and their families. Those who have gone to college to study and teach can learn a lot from your managerial, financial and logical skills.

Thank you for abolishing child marriages. Otherwise I could not declare my education and my independent thought as my right, instead of something that was given to me. It is because of you I have a Tamil name. It is because of your efforts I am proud to be a Tamil girl. It is your hard work that has enabled me to say I do not believe in caste. I have the right to go into any temple, if I want (regardless of the caste I was thrust into.) I can choose to be an atheist, agnostic, etc.

It is amazing how you have done so much with very little formal education and even more limited communication – no email, no internet, no cell phones, minimal phone access, and with limited availability to prints (books, magazines etc.)

Your accomplishments are beyond comprehension. How have you (with health problems) been able to eat, sleep, read, learn, write, speak, see the perspective that others don’t , think of so many solutions to the problems faced by the Dravidian people, travel overseas, travel on  land, go to jail, and have a sense of humor till the end!

Many of your ideas are yet to be implemented, they are too modern even for today. You wanted women to have rights and we have started exercising our rights but unfortunately it is our counterparts (men) who cannot handle our success. The boys of today will grow up to be confident self-respecting men of tomorrow. The future generation men will realize that a woman’s success is not a threat to their success.

My generation of women thank you.
        Ponmalar K.Velayutham

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