American Humanists’ Association organized the celebration of the 137th Birthday of Periyar 17th October 2015.
Nachimuthu Socrates welcomed the audience and presented a brief account of the development of Periyar Movement in US.
Betshi : The thoughts of Periyar on Feminism must receive further focus and attention for the real progress of women folk. Such progress is within the fold of initiatives and endeavours of women as advocated by Periyar.
Anbu: Periyar’s attack on the social oppression is not superfluous. It is deep rooted. It aims at the origins of the cause which had pertuated many evils in the society.
Ajay Kumar’s deliberation was unique and different by pointing out certain social evil practices prevailing earlier but not now due to the propagandist task of Periyar like the abolition of Devadasi system, equal treatment of women, the deletion of caste identity as the suffix in the individuals’ names.
Rajaram (Editor – ‘Thinnai’ e-magazine): One who sowed the seed may not be alive to reap the harvest of fruits and taste them. One who tastes such fruits though not be grateful to the sower may at least not find fault with the sower. Such fault finding is like people pelting stone at the fruit bearing trees.
Nanjil Lawrence is instrumental in the transformation of many religious devotees to the rationalist path. He gave a brief details of ‘Beef politics’, prevailing in India.
Selvaraj Murugaiyan: In respect of the uplift of the downtrodden, the efforts of Periyar and Ambedkar were foundational and the ideological connectivity between Periyar and Ambedkar would only facilitate their further uplift.
Rajendran recalled his college days at Kumbakonam, where differential treatments by placing the drinking pots of equal size and numbers disproportionate to the number of students to access such drinking pots. His study of the subject, biochemistry was the monopoly of the upper caste. Periyar was responsible for his progress and Periyar continues to remain as a source of self confidence for him.
Prabu Ramakrishnan: Temples are the places where sinful masses could assemble to get their sins absolved .
Ganesan: Only after my arrival at US , I came to know about Periyar. I regret not having known Periyar while I was in Chennai. The proud name of Periyar must spread everywhere.
Samraj: Periyar was the embodiment of Thrift.
Vinoth Kumar: Due to the propagandist efforts of Periyar, the non Brahmin students are able to enter the medical education significantly.
Varsha: My self-respect wings started to stretch out after experiencing the ill treatment meted out by Namboodari priest in temples who would throw the KumKum with a caution, not to be touched by the devotees.
Karthikeyan Prabu: The political throne cannot accomplish soley the ultimate objective of Dravidian movement. The services of non political Dravidar Kazhagam is a must to advise and to conduct agitation, demonstration, if required imprisonment for the cause of rationalist ideals of Periyar.
Dr.Saroja Elangovan: The Brahmin fellow students discouraged me that medical education would not suit us. Such discouragements motivated me to become a medical professional later. For the ideological enrichment and updating of the activities of Periyar movement Viduthalai, Unmai, Periyar Pinju and The Modern Rationalist must be read by all.
Karthik Deiveegarajan:The thaali removal event conducted by Dravidar Kazhagam in Chennai is not only on the eradication of women slavery but it exhibits as a substantial and supportive efforts taken by Dravidar Kazhagam to protect the right of freedom of expression which was obstructed by the religious fundamentalists for the telecast of debate program on Thaali removal in a local TV channel.
Dr.Soma Ilangovan: Periyar 1000 events are being conducted in more than 360 centres by the Centre of Periyar Thoughts, Periyar Maniammai University to sow the rationalist seeds in the minds of youngsters and it is laudable. Periyar International has been propagating the ideals of Periyar by instituting an award, K.Veeramani’s Award for Social Justice and presenting it to the social justice stalwarts who have contributed to the cause. Germany Chapter of Periyar International would be commenced in July 2016 along with the convening of International Rationalist conference in Colon, Germany.
The significant features of celebration were, many of the Rationalists and humanists books published by Periyar Self-Respect Propaganda Institution, purchased enthusiastically by the audience and the vibrant gesture prevailed in them for the cause of propagating the rationalist ideals of Periyar.
NORTH AMERICA: PERIYAR FESTIVAL IN GURUDWARA
On 4th October 2015, the 137th birthday festival of Periyar was celebrated at Sri Guru Ravidas Gurudwara situated in Fresno, nearer Los Angeles in USA. The celebration was organised by the Sikh International.
Periyar thoughts, the historically important editorial written by Periyar in the Rationalist Tamil magazine ‘Kudiarasu’, condemning the death sentence pronounced on Bhagat Singh by the British rulers of India was read and deliberated at the festival.
It was made known that many prominent leaders of 1930’s did not come forward to save the life of Bhagat Singh. Dr.Amrik Singh, Bhajan Singh Binder, M.P.Singh of Sikh International spoke about Periyar on the occasion. This is the first time, Periyar festival is celebrated in Gurudwara.
“The world would adore the progressive thoughts of Periyar”.
IN TOTO SURRENDERING OF AWARDS STRONG BUT SILENT PROTEST
A series of murders of agnostics, and rationalists is not a case of mere homicides but a deep – rooted malady of religious fundamentalism. Voice of dissent and advocacy of rationalism are very well permitted in a democratic way of life. Much against this, if rationalists like M.M.Kalburgi are murdered what the Sahitya Academy Awardees have done.
Once the novelist Nayanta Sahgal surrendered her Sahitya Academy Award, many have followed suit and the latest one is Mr.Kasinath Singh, a Hindi novelist. It is he who has already forewarned the advent of Hundutva when Mr. Narendra Modi decided to contest in the Parliamentary election at Varanasi. Even from state – level Sahitya Academics, the awardees started surrendering the Awards along with the prize – money offered.
An argument that the Academy at Delhi is all autonomous organization and it has nothing to do with law and order problems happening elsewhere carries no weight. As a national body in its apex level, it could have condemned the outright killings of academicians, thinkers and intellectuals. Keeping mum for all these atrocious happening is not a healthy sign of its universality.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s argument that the prectest of the Academy Awardees is manufactured is rather untenable. Instead of being apologetic, he deviously defending the stand of the Government is unacceptable. Narendra Modi who has been vociferously and prompously addressing audiences should have the boldness to contain the communal forces and counsel the extremist elements that they should not distrupt the secularism and the basis ethos of pluralism in India.