Annai Maniammai (1920 – 1978), the brave woman leader, was responsible and helpful for the longer life of the Social revolutionary Periyar E.V.Ramasamy (1879 – 1973), by taking care of his personal health and care enabling him to live longer. Many of the progressive ideals of Periyar became a reality through the legal sanctions of the State during the last 5 years of the life of Periyar, who lived for 95 years. After the demise of Thanthai Periyar, Annai Maniammai led the rationalist movement founded by him.
During her leadership , she took the movement progressively forward and organised the historical ‘Ravana Leela’ as the counter propaganda to the periodical celebration ‘Ram Leela’ – a glorification of the mythical character which insulted the original citizens of the land. Her commitment to the ideology of Periyar and conviction for the cause and to take the movement further was very significant. Her leadership was unique as the first ever woman leader leading a rationalist movement.
The Birth Anniversary (March 10) and Death Anniversary (March 16) are observed as the propaganda of rationalist ideology, ever year. The noble services rendered by Annai Maniammai as expressed by her mentor leader and life partner, Periyar are as follows, which remain as authoritative inscriptions for the role assumed and contributions made by her for the cause of the rationalist movement.
THANTHAI PERIYAR IN THE NOBLE SERVICES OF ANNAI MANIAMMAIYAR
l Maniammai is my highly reliable heir to take care of my health, to succeed me to run the organization and to safeguard the property
- Viduthalai 25.9.1949
l Maniammai has joined with me for servicing in the organization. In all these twenty years, she has been helping me in domestic chores and to my personal needs. As a result, my health is being maintained without any problem for my services. No problem at all for my health and even in domestic governance.
- Viduthalai 15.10.1962
l Conquering the nature is a tough task. If anything drastic has happened to you, I could bear with it. But my plan would have spoiled. I may have been subjected to harsh criticism and condemnation. Arrangements, a lot I have made, much against the hatred and unhappiness of many persons. I felt miserable whether you would leave me off without fulfilling those tasks. If my life still agile even at this age, it is because of this woman. Who is not unaware of this? It is that woman who provides suitable food, and dresses to the occasion. Those who are not dare enough to oppose me directly finds fault and decry that woman
- Viduthalai 13.2.1963