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Part 5: A Voice Among The Communist Party Opposing Varnashrama

MCPI(U) Marxist party has given a controversial statement that Marxists in Tamil Nadu did not perceive Periyarism properly. Following this, the party has announced its policies, and it cites that “the party has felt the complete need of Periyar and Ambedkar significantly in the present where caste and religious divisions are strengthening.” This symposium was organized based on this. The discourse of Kolathur Mani is as follows:

periyar 343There lived a person called A.S.K. Iyengar. Later in 1969, he renounced his name Iyengar and registered as A.S.K in the gazette. He was a very proximate friend of Periyar. He wrote a novel called ‘Thangamma’. It was his mother’s name. He even dedicated that novel to Periyar as Periyar was the one who was responsible for the sprouting of communism. He also wrote books like ‘God is Imaginary’ (Kadavul Karpanaiyae) and ‘The Peak of Rationality is Periyar E.V.R.’ (Pagutharivin Sigaram Periyar E.V.R.).

Even Periyar used to tease him by asking that why he gave up Iyengar in his name and also ridiculed him that the caste name Iyengar suits him the best. For that, A.S.K. used to reply that he feels diffident for having that name in Tamil Nadu.

It was said that Periyar told A.S.K., ‘it would be great if you speak against brahmins bearing Iyengar in your name’, and he also expressed his grief. He quoted Lenin’s book, “On the Significance of Militant Materialism”, in the preface of his book to instigate that communist must propagate atheism. This book stresses the significance of atheism or the need for atheism.

“Today’s social setting is embedded with lakhs and lakhs of labors, agricultural people, dark ignorance and superstitions. In order to liberate people from these chains, if a Marxist think that teaching true Marxist education is the only way, then it would be a blunder, a Himalayan mistake.

These lakhs and lakhs of people who were in the clutches of superstitions must be preached with simple, understandable ways and measures to get rid of the evil chains of society. We should liberate them from the illusion of religion by citing examples from their own life.

We have to propagate in multiple ways to kindle interest among people. A communist, that too a Marxist Communist, must work for the betterment of people who were immersed in superstitions and religious beliefs. A true Marxist Communist should trigger the intellect of the people by asserting scientific and rational thoughts and help them to unshackle the chains which make people ignorant. Else, it is a great dishonor to Marxism for a true Marxist communist.” A.S.K. stated this in his book, “On the Significance of Militant Materialism”.

This book was written in 1968 when Periyar was alive. In that book, he persisted on the need for militant materialism then and how they have failed to do so. He was a leader of a big trade union. He is from a Marxist family. He was the only bachelor in his family, whereas all others in his family were married. (one of his brothers performed inter-caste marriage while two of his brothers performed inter-religious marriage). But he was a resident of Andra since his birth; later, he became an inhabitant of Tamil Nadu. He was a great scholar in Thirukural.

There existed a continuous contradiction between him and Marxists here.

When Periyar went to Russia, he was ceaselessly chased by people of an intelligence agency. While Periyar was travelling from Turkey, they were hiding in a coal bunker along with his two companions as they were being searched. They come outside only when the ship reached the Russian border. S. Ramanathan, who was a supportive friend of Periyar, went with him. He was an eminent Marxist scholar too. He had even written articles about Hegel in Revolt in 1928. Another companion of Periyar was Ramu.

In 1935, Periyar applied to go to China. We have got those documents recently through comrade V. Anaimuthu. Indian home ministry had refused to give permission for Periyar. He applied in the month of May. Periyar received the refusal letter on 10/08/1935, August.

Indian home ministry wrote a letter to the deputy secretary of the legal department of Madras presidency, DH Boulden stating that “person who has rationalist thoughts like Periyar should not be allowed to visit countries like China. It would not be favorable to the government because the government is already distressed that he might join hands with Rash Behari Bose from Japan and other such revolutionaries.

The letter from the home ministry was enclosed with the following contents. ‘Ramasamy Nayakar was the leader of the self-respect league in Madras presidency. Some of the members of the self-respect league are still propagating social- communism. Some people from Tamil Nadu wrote a letter to the Director of Intelligence Bureau stating that social communism is coming to our country, and we are writing this to throw light on this information and urge you to take necessary actions. So, the home ministry suggested madras presidency to take immediate decisions to prevent Periyar from visiting those countries, and it also recommended that if Periyar decided to visit the desired country, then all the efforts to curtail his travel would be futile.’

So, from this, it is evident that the document states that Periyar cannot be stopped at any cause, once he decides to do something.

Periyar had the curiosity to see how revolution broke out in China. If everything has gone properly, Tamil Nadu might have witnessed some changes.

(to be continued)

Kolathur Mani, the leader of Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam

Translated byMaruvarthini P.


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