Rationalism

Ramaswami was a believer till the age of 28 and managed (dharmakartha) a temple. He became an atheist and followed western philosopher Nietzsche and claimed that God is dead. His anti-Brahmin rhetoric was carefully camouflaged in atheism. This won him considerable following in Tamil Nadu. He portrayed the Brahmins as villains of the society.

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Anti-Hindi Movement

Hindi imposition in Tamil Nadu started in 1937 when the Congress Government of the Madras Presidency under Rajaji introduced Hindi in the school curriculum. Tamils opposed Hindi immediately and the Justice Party under Sir A. D. Panneerselvam and Periyar organized anti-Hindi protests in 1938 and were arrested and jailed by the Rajaji government.

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Education Policy

Rajaji introduced a new education policy based on family vocation which its opponents dubbed Kula Kalvi Thittam (Hereditary Education Policy).

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Modern Tamil Alphabet

He instituted Tamil alphabet reforms and his reasons are as follows:

In writings and publications of 70 or 80 years ago, the vowel ‘ee’ (i:), indicated today as ‘ ¼ ‘, was a cursive and looped representation of the short form, ‘ ¬ ‘ (i). In stone inscriptions of 400 or 500 years ago, many Tamil letters are found in other shapes. The older and the more divine a language and its letters are said to be, they, in truth, need reform.

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Anti-Brahmanism

Periyar’s self-respect movement was founded on a principle of intense anti-Brahmanist racism, while nominally claiming to be a movement espousing “rationalism” and “athieism”.

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Social Reformer

Periyar Ramasami (1879-1973) was known as the Voltaire (1694-1778) of South India, particularly, in Tamil Nadu. Both were rationalists who aroused their people to realize that all men are equal and it is the birthright of every individual to enjoy liberty, equality and fraternity. Both opposed religion virulently because the so called men of religion invented myths and superstitions to keep the innocent and ignorant people in darkness and to go on exploiting them. In one of his articles, Voltaire said “They (the religious men) inspired you with false beliefs and made you fanatics so that they might be your masters. They made you superstitious, not that you might fear god but that you might fear them”

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