Well wishers and readers of The Modern Rationalist might have noticed and gone through the multi-focused special Issue of this monthly released on the 2nd of December 2014. Its aim is three-fold. Not only an Annual Number it is, but also a reminder of the Self Respect Day besides celebrating the 82nd Birthday of its Editor.
This journal may not be excelling itself very well amidst umpteen magazines of cinematic world and of sensational and topical issues of politics and current affairs. Nor does it have an interest in them. It believes in the possibility of reforming society from its false beliefs, foolish notions and irrational activities. Strives hard to infuse a scientific temper that is insisted in the preamble of the Indian Constitution. To serve to that extent, it reaches the intellectuals, scholars, social workers and academicians. Let us be optimistic that in the days to come, it will be eagerly read by one and all.
But still in its format, size, illustration, lamination and content, the special issue is second to none. The core value of the magazine is its many-pronged attack against religion and casteism. About fifteen articles are targeting the evils of casteism. Even though one of the aims of the issue is to celebrate the birth-day of the Editor
Dr. K. Veeramani, he took cudgels to prevent it. Only two articles present him as an Editor, veteran writer, speaker and a social reformer.
Congratulatory messages from Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, the Central Minister for Food and from Mr. Siddaramaiah, the Chief Minister of Karnataka welcome the readers at the outset. The Editor Dr. K. Veeramani briefly enumerates what he feels and does in eradicating casteism and in embracing humanism and equality. A passing reference to his dream project – The World of Periyar is also found at length.
An effective excerpt from Ramachandra Guha's anthology – Makers of Modern India is in the opening pages of the issue, followed by Dr. Ramjee Singh's analytical essay on caste system. Dr. K. Anbalagan's contribution is on Siddhar's concept of one creed is highly informative. Evils of casteism is interestingly analysed in an article by Justice A. K. Rajan, while why and how of the caste system has been answered by Dr. Kannupillai, a retired Police officer. Under this general theme, both Dr. Maraimalai Ilakkuvanar and Prof. S.M. Khodke enumerate the perils of casteism.
An Interview with Dr. V. Anantaraman, eminent Professor of Economics traces amidst other things the early life of his student of olden days Dr. K. Veeramani in their alma mater, Annamalai University. Untouchability and the abolition of caste are the central theme respectively of Prof. N. Ramachandran, Vice-Chancellor, Periyar Maniammai University and of Dr. Jegadeesan, former Vice-Chancellor of Bharathidasan University. While Dr. Mangala Murugesan evinces interest in recounting the agitations of Thanthai Periyar and his followers, another History Professor A. Karunanandan speaks in detail about Narayana Guru of Kerala reform Movement. Along with late M.S.S. Panidan's informative pen-portrait of Thanthai Periyar, Dr. Soma Ilangovan and Prof. Venkatasubramanian of Delhi deal with casteism in their brief sketches.
Criticism of Hinduism is the core point of Dr. Kancha Ilaiah and that of Dhaneswar Sahoo is the summary of his lecture on the occasion of K. Veeramani Award for Social Justice presented to him at Bhuvaneswar by Dr. Ilakkuvan Tamil of the USA. While the poet Kali Poonkundran is heralding a war against casteism, Mr. S. Arivukkarasu and Mr. G. Karunanidhy approaches it in two different angles. To shed down caste identity, an innovative mandral or marriage assembly is the suggestion of General Secretary Mr. V. Anburaj in his informative essay. Strange but true that diametrically opposite personalities Thanthai Periyar and Vallalar are identified on the same plane by Prof. Dr. Bhanumathi. Prof. Chelliah and Dr. Palany Arangasamy candidly portray the many-faceted virtues and talent of Dr. K. Veeramani. Messers. Dr.Gowthaman and Dr. Pirai Nuthal Selvi prescribe the inter-caste marriage as a panacea to cure the society of its ailment of casteism.
At length, the remarkable team members of the State Rationalist Forum, Mr. G. Olivannan and Mr. V. Kumaresan have contributed their substantial intellectual mite in their respective articles while that of the latter is a brilliant comparative note of Thanthai Periyar with his disciple.
This monthly is eminently readable and highly informative; fit enough to be patronised by the academic institutions. Efforts must be made to see that it reaches a maximum number of leaders and readers.