Periyar Feminism

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Periyar EVR is no longer a name familiar only in Tamil Nadu the southern part of India. He is widely known all over India and even beyond. The UNESCO Award with which he was accredited during his life — time elevated his stature to that of universally known humanists such as Erasmus, Sir Thomas More and Robert Ingersoll.

Unlike these intellectuals who worked among the learned public and scholars, Periyar had to do a spade work among the rural folk, illiterates and semi — literates. His was a dynamic work resplendent with versatility. However, what he chose to do, was not a Primrose path of dalliance but problematic, painful and pinpricking ways. But he patiently withstood all ordeals and strove hard to remove the cobweb of ignorance, superstition and inequality among the masses. He was at pains to see the horrors to which the women were subjected. Child marriages on the one hand and perpetuating widowhood on the other were the abominable customs prevailing then. In a tone that was stentorian, Periyar condemned them, worked for a radical change and effected it into reality.

Education was denied to women by the die – hard orthodoxy. Unable to brook these atrocious conditions, Periyar took up cudgels and boldly disseminated his ideas that were rejuvenating and reformative. All – round progress of women o-day owes a lot to the untiring services of Periyar.

Feminism has become an academic discipline nowadays. But Periyar was one of those who laid a solid foundation for the acceptance of it at the outset and its application at length.

The Centre for Periyar Thought, Periyar Maniammai University therefore thought it fit to conduct a National Seminar on Periyar Feminism. The papers selected from that National event have assumed the shape of this slender volume. All aspects of Periyar Feminism are found dealt with herein.

I heartily congratulate Dr. H. Parveen Secretary, Periyar Organization for Women Empowerment and Renaissance for having convened this National Seminar and conducted it well. Also to Dr.M. Thavamani Principal Ethiraj College for Women, Chennai who actively associated herself with this timely task and brought this volume into a solid shape. I believe that this informative anthology will be found as a useful referential volume to the scholarly world.

Prof. RamachandranVallam,
Periyar Maniammai University

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