The self – respect marriage is a progressive marriage of man and women who love each other coming forward on their own to enter into an agreement to live together with equal respects and rights. Many may wonder at it, but there is nothing to wonder at. This is just a marriage of a man and woman coming together.
But this self-respect marriage has taken place without the meaningless rituals, that have taken deep roots for a very long period and method the rituals of man tying ‘thali’ which is a symbol of slavery of woman to man. This has happened suitable to the present progressive world. Though it is just four or five years since our self-respect movement started, You may know that several marriages of this type have taken place, So that, woman after getting complete freedom and equality with man. It is possible there may be old fashioned nuisances and several inconveniences caused in such progressive marriages. The ritual of tying the ‘thali’ has been done away with. A groom tying the ‘thali’ at the neck of bride during marriage, and treating her badly as his slave is like laying bulls tying a rope on their necks and bringing them home.
It is considerable that the idea of tying ‘thali’ is just to indicate whether a woman is married or not, to establish the right of a man over her and to prevent others from loving her. If this is right, then should net man also have the same symbol to show that he is the husband of a woman and to prevent other women falling in love with him? Men also then should wear a ‘thali’ at the time of marriage on their necks. Therefore it is extremely clear that tying the thali only on women is a ritual that is despicable and has to be therefore abolished. Moreover a man, who loses his wife, can remarry. Following the good example shown by Selvi Sivakani, those who lose their husband should come forward to remarry abolishing the superstitious practice living as widows all through their lives. The actions against this marriage should he condemned as superstitious and uncivilized. Conclude by wishing the couple, with the request that, by using reason we must throw away superstitions, and conduct our activities as per the dictates of common sense.
- Periyar’s speech on 5th May1930, in Erode on the occasion of a self respect marriage.
‘Thali’ is a symbol of slavery
Dear brothers, I venture to say that this is the best of all the self-respect marriage conducted so far in the south, because ‘thali’ was not tied on the neck of bride today.
It is quite evident from the very gusto of the parents of both that they are bold and self respectful heroes. Unless we eradicate the ritual of tying the ‘thali’ to women our women cannot attain freedom at all. This ‘thali’ is the very symbol of their lack of self –respect and human dignity. This very same ‘thali’ symbolizes the very beastly behavior of husbands. But to those women who concede that they are of lower status this word may not be portable. Let those women with ‘thali’ who have become conscious of the need for self –respect, remove their ‘thali’ and cast it away; or otherwise let their husbands also wear ‘thali’. That society that thinks that they are slaves, can never progress.
Just as our very acceptance that we the Hindu sudras we are slaves, the acceptance of the women that they are slaves to their husbands has also made women more animals. Therefore I greatly appreciate these couples and their parents who have been very helpful to achieve.
I would insist that those who are interested in the liberation and progress of woman to consider removing the ‘thali’ of their daughters more important than educating their.
So far, people traditionally wish the newly married that should get a happy life of getting all the sixteen. But I wish them that they should not beget children or if needed one or two, that too after 5 or 6 years. Mothers who beget children should not carry their children wherever they go, causing disturbance and nuisance to people. They should estimate appoint nurses at home to look after them. They should teach their children good behavior and discipline.
See how many children cry in this meeting disturbing me. See how much sense of shame is seen on the face of the mothers. Their fathers and mothers look at each other in shame and anger notable to do anything else. Love and happiness should be with a lot of freedom and not bearing uncomfortable difficulties therefore the present joy of learning children can never be happiness of future. This should be therefore changed.
Moreover marriages without jewels ‘thali’ and superstition alone cannot be self respect marriages. The parents of the bride should give a part of their properly to her. Just as husbands the wives also have equal right to properties and trace. If this principle is not followed how can they live with self respect? Therefore, rights of property for women are also very important.
As social service, each woman should arrange for the marriage of a widow. Women also should meet once or twice in a week in a common place, read magazines and read them to women who cannot read. They should forget that only the house hold chores are their duties. They should believe that they are the heads of the family and their husbands. Women should bring their children up with theses ideals.
(Periyars speech in a marriage reception in Virdhunagar on 10th July 1930).
Translated by : Prof. SFN. Chelliah