Periyar Memorial @ Chennai

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Periyar E.V.Ramasamy (aka. Periyar, EVK, Thanthai Periyar) was a businessman, politician, freedom fighter, social activist and the convener of Dravida Kazhagam party in Tamil Nadu. He was the founder of the self-respect movement in Tamil Nadu. He spread the ideals of rationalism, self-respect and women’s rights. He opposed the caste system, religious rituals and exploitation of lower-castes. He opposed the imposition/compulsory learning of Hindi in South India.

Basically, he was a reformer. He decided not to join in vote-bank politics, but both the mainstream parties in TN (DMK and the AIADMK) were a spin-off from his party. You can guess how influential this person should have been, during his days.  Ref: Wikipedia page on Periyar.

I went to the Periyar memorial (Behind Thina Thanthi office in Ponamallee High Road, Chennai) recently. I saw a Periyar Library and Periyar Museum also, in the premises. Since Periyar Museum was under renovation, I was not able to visit it on that day. I would like to share some pictures and a video taken at the Periyar Memorial. Before that, I would like to present some quotes engraved in stones inside the memorial.

“Showing gratitude is a duty of the beneficiaries. If benefactors expect gratitude, it is nothing but mean-mindedness”

“One should behave towards others in the same manner as he would expect others to behave towards him. And this is my definition of ‘morality’ “

“The discrimination based on the system of dividing the producers as ‘laborers’ and ‘capitalists’ should not exist. It is nothing but slavery for the workers to be mere wage-earners, instead of being equal partners”

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Photos: Destination8Infinity. All photos published under this creative commons license.

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20 Replies to “Periyar Memorial @ Chennai”

  1. I am glad the following quotes from Periyar are not engraved there:

    Tamil people are “barbarians” and Tamil language is the “language of barbarians”.

    If you see a Brahmin and a snake, kill the Brahmin first.

    Dravidians should observe August 15, 1947, as a day of mourning.

    1. I did read the second quote in Wikipedia, but the first and third quotes are new to me. There are other quotes at the venue, but I am not able to publish them.

      Destination Infinity

    1. We need such leaders? He is the worst kind who propagated hatred towards a particular community. Plus his atheism was demonstrated by him garlanding Lord Ganesha with a garland of chappals and parading in the town. I wish he had the guts to do it in Mumbai. Do we need leaders of such stautre today?

      1. Definitely we need such leaders. Don’t you see what happened in Dharmapuri. A love story led to communal riots. It’s purely community politics. Of course, he concentrated more on a particular community. The reason behind that is, that particular community enjoyed monopoly in every single department of the nation. Do you know the our ex-president Late KR Narayanan was denied a special respect at Tirupathi Tirumala Devastanam, which was a mandatory for every president before that?

    1. Yes, the memorial is being maintained well and is a serene place (all green). There are also a couple of cats for company!

      Destination Infinity

  2. However great a person is and however beautiful the memorial I feel that one needs to have a practical use of space in a country that is over populated. I cannot help but say this because right now there is a huge controversy on in Mumbai about Bal Thackeray’s memorial. They want to have the memorial on a public ground. A sad state of affairs in a country where open air spaces for the public are in short supply.

    1. I guess this memorial is in private property. I guess, because it looks to me like that, not that I verified anything. In fact, the place where this memorial is situated has quite an amount of open-space. We can also look at it as a greener open space?

      Destination Infinity

  3. Periyar is famour for reforms at the same time he did say those words SG had quoted above. His followers create problems often, esp. the Periyar statue was placed in front of the Srirangam temple. I remember som Periyar follower removing the Ganesha moorthy from a small open temple in Hosur. Let them follow what they want but they should not hurt others.

    The Park looks nice with greenery, but I don’t like him!

    1. Frankly, I got to know who he was, only after reading the wikipedia article while writing this blog post. I can’t be sure of what he said or what he didn’t say, but as a part of my Chennai tourist places list, I want to include this memorial as well. Mostly for its greenery and the statue that you see there.

      Destination Infinity

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