Quoting the famous statement of Karl Marx “Religion is the opium of the masses,” the Madras High Court Bench criticised people who fight over conduct of temple festivals and spend considerable time, money and energy on prolonging legal battles over how and in what manner should God be worshipped.
Thanthai Periyar had despatched many letters from abroad and these despatches were the results of his searching enquiries which could be ranked as a travelogue par excellence and could be favourably compared to the best travelogues ever written. In his letter from Cairo to Kudi Arasu ( dated 07.02.1932) Periyar had documented everything he had seen. The documentation of E.V.R. makes any critic unbelievable that he was a school drop-out. His observation and presentation of things elevate him to the level of a great historian.
In the ancient period, by about the fifth century B.C, humanistic and universal outlooks blossomed in a few civilized centers in the midst of a barbarous environment. Universal outlook was at a comparatively good level in China thanks to the influence of the thoughts of Confucius and Lao-tse; in India owing to the teachings of Buddha; in Iran because of Zarathustra; in Palestine thanks to Hebrew prophets and in Greece as a result of the thoughts of many philosophers.
Periyar! The peerless popular, known Tamil leader!
Waged a vigorous war against vile caste layer;
Self Respect Movement sowed in Tamil Nadu soil,
Liberated the poor from the shackles of social evil.
Periyar! devoid of higher studies, an original thinker!
Studied the minds of suppressed masses as reformer;
A dauntless tempered brave Hero of backward castes,
And led listless struggles to fetch fair status.
Imprisoned many times for the principled agitations,
The precursor of Social Justice to forbidden sections;
The iconoclast of established old rigid regulations,
The awakening voice of Tamils against superstition.
Not greedy of green pastures in Govt position,
Drawn huge public support for social reformation;
Periyar! the great Rebel questioned religious authority,
Revered ever as feminine rights fighting Personality.
- M. Lakshmanan
In recent times all over the world there has been a revival of religious fundamentalism, bigotry and intolerance. In fact, the forces that sustain terrorism today are basically religious.