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|Movement||Dravidar Kazhagam, Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam|
Kolathur Mani or T. S. Mani (Tamil: தா.செ.மணி) is a Periyarist and the founder of Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam formerly Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam. He puts relentless efforts for propagating the principles of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy. He is also known for his great support for LTTE. He is the coordinator of People's Alliance against Kudankulam nuclear power plant and one of the coordinators of the Federation against death penalty.
- 1 Personal life
- 2 Public life
- 3 Rajiv Gandhi murder case
- 4 Imprisonments
- 5 Books
- 6 References
Kolathur Mani was born to Sengodan and Pavayammal on June 20, 1948 in Ukkamparuthikaadu, Salem district.His father was a farmer who owned 50 acres of land; He was a forest contractor since 1950 and was also a contractor in Highways and Excise departments.
He completed his schooling in Nirmala High School. He started his Pre-university course in Government Arts College, Salem. At the age of 17, he started to show interest in public life. In 1965, he participated in the Anti-Hindi agitations of Tamil Nadu. So he was unable to pass the Pre-university course. In 1966, he started his career as a junior Assistant in Panchayat Union. With the help of the staffs who worked with him, he involved in many agitations like removal of images of God in his office, preventing them from celebrating religious festivals like Ayudha Pooja and succeeded in those too. In 1971, he quit his Government job.
He started sharing his life with Kamala from 10 June 1970. They had two daughters: Nathigarani, Arivuchelvi. As caste denial marriage is one of the ways to eradicate caste, he held caste denial marriage to both of his daughters. He held the marriage of his elder daughter, Nathigarani in a public meeting organized on the closing ceremony of a Periyarism training camp,conducted at his own expenses to more than 100 youngsters. He registered the marriage of Arivchelvi and advertised it in various newspapers.
He started thinking rationally through his high school Tamil teacher Venugopal. According to the advice given by his Tamil teacher, he started reading “Viduthalai”, a daily founded by Periyar in 1963. As he read it continuously, he became a member of Dravidar Kazhagam. In 1970, he met Periyar for the first time in the unveiling ceremony of Periyar statue at Salem. He participated in “Superstitions Abolition Conference” organized by Dravidar Kazhagam. In that conference, he met some senior followers of Periyar like Aambur Perumal, Pennagaram Nanjaiah and Thakkalai S.K.Ahmed. With the help of a senior self-respecter Mettur T.K.Ramachandran, he organized a public meeting presided by Periyar at Kolathur on May 1971. He clarified many of his doubts when he was with Periyar during the four-day propaganda campaign organized by Dravidar Kazhagam around Mettur. He served as the President of Kolathur town, Deputy Secretary of Salem district in 1974 and 1977 respectively. He participated eagerly and actively in all the events organized by Dravidar Kazhagam. He was also very active in the Farmers Association. When he served the role of Deputy Secretary for farmers, he organized many protests for the welfare of the farmers. He was incarcerated for many protests.
In 1980, he became the District Secretary of Salem district. He was one of the four organizing secretaries designated in 1984 for some of the districts. In 1988, he became the organizing secretary for the state. As a result of his relentless efforts, he established seven Periyar reading rooms in his own buildings, in different parts of Mettur Taluk, Salem district.
In different parts of Mettur, Kolathur, certain castes followed a custom which compelled widowed women to wear a white saree. He organized protests against this, fought back and succeeded. He held caste denial marriages for many people in his region which is known for its caste frenzy. In October 2000, he left Dravidar Kazhagam.
Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam and Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam
There were two other active movements functioning separately on Periyar’s ideologies viz. Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam led by Aanoor Jegadeesan and Viduthalai Rajendran, Tamil Nadu Dravidar Kazhagam led by Thiruvaarur Thangarasu and Ramakrishnan. The team of supporters who left Dravidar Kazhagam along with him and the two movements stated above combined and started functioning in the name of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam. He became the President of that movement. A merger conference was held on August 11, 2001 in Chennai. Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam was later renamed as Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam.
Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam
Some differences of opinion among the members led to the dissolution of the movement. The dissolution was done on one condition that none should use the name “Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam”. He started functioning as the President of a new movement, “Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam” from August 12, 2012. The ultimate goal of the movement is to propagate different aspects of Periyarism like eradication of caste and women subjugation, rationalism, communism, independent Tamil Nadu and bring out a communist society without caste and gender inequalities which Periyar dreamt of! The slogan of the movement is, Let us defeat the joint stealth of Brahmins,Indian Nationalists and Multinationals. He is functioning as the President of this movement till today committed to the principles of Periyar. The events organized by the movement such as the conference on Why Manusmriti has to be burnt? , Manusmriti burning agitation and propaganda tours for eradication of caste had a great impact on the Tamil society.
Support for Tamil Eelam
After the introduction of rebels who fought for the liberation of Tamil Eelam in 1982, he played active roles in “Support for Eelam Liberation” conference which was held in Madurai. When Indian Government invited LTTE rebels to India to provide military training for them, the first of the three military training camps was held in his own land for 3 years (January 5, 1984 to November 5, 1986). To evaluate the tigers who get trained in the camps, LTTE leader Prabhakaran used to visit the camp (1 week to 23 days). During his stay in the camp, close friendship blossomed between them. In 1989, LTTE announced that their chief Prabhakaran has planned to observe November 27 as “Heroes' day” (Tamil:மாவீரர் நாள்). He was invited by LTTE chief Prabhakaran for the ceremony which was to held on November 27, 1989. As he faced many hurdles in his sea travel to Sri Lanka, he returned. Once again, he travelled to Sri Lanka on December 9, 1989 and met Prabhakaran in a military training camp in Vanni forests. He stayed with him in the camp for 14 days. He visited many military training camps including the training camps for women rebels in LTTE. He witnessed the tragedies and woes of the Tamils in Eelam. A rumor prevailed in India that Prabhakaran was shot dead by Maathiah in July,1989. People came to know that the rumor was false through the interview given by him with the photographs he took with Prabhakaran. He participated in several protests in support of Tamil Eelam Liberation and was incarcerated several times. As he functioned in support for the Eelam struggle, he faced several severe repressions. Crime report submitted by Q branch of Tamil Nadu in 1994 stated that He spends his own money in favor of Eelam rebels…… He has dedicated his life to fulfill the ambition of Eelam rebels.
People in foothills and villages in forest faced oppression during the search operation for Veerappan carried out by the Special Task Force(STF) of Tamil Nadu – Karnataka in 1993 and 1994. Nearly 100 people were shot dead by STF. More than 300 people were severely affected by their torture. More than 60 women were sexually assaulted. In Madheswaran hills, STF had a dedicated place to torture the people called “workshop”. In addition, 124 people were arrested under TADA and incarcerated in Central jail, Mysore. They were all innocent people who don’t even know the reason behind their imprisonment. He lodged a habeas petition in High Court, Chennai to free 11 persons arrested by STF in 1993. Due to his effort, nine were released. In 1996, on behalf of People’s watch, Madurai, human rights groups met the victims there and prepared reports on the vulnerabilities faced by them. He provided full support for this. He helped the human rights groups in many ways. He made them to stay in a wedding hall which is run by his family members in partnership with others. In addition, he provided automotive facilities too. He held many rallies and protests and condemned the brutal repression of striking force. He held protests in Bangalore too.
In 1999, he invited human rights organizations, political party leaders, Tamil activists, members of the Legislative Assembly in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and held a conference asking for compensation for those who are affected by the striking force and to free the innocent people arrested under TADA suffering in Mysore prison. He stood in support for the joint committee consisting People's Watch, Tamil Nadu Tribal People's Association, Soho Foundation and SICHREM, and exposed the vulnerabilities faced by the innocent people to the outside world. As a result, Judge Sadasiva Commission was set up by the National Human Rights Commission. He stood in support for its functioning. He took legal efforts to help the victims testify to the investigation of the Commission. The STF officials got an interim stay for the Commission legally. He took necessary steps to vacate the stay order. He supported and led the conference organized by the human rights organizations for the justice of the affected people. He made appropriate arrangements to conduct the case for the people suffering in Mysore prison for more than 8 years. He provided a helping hand for the Human rights organization regarding this concern. Out of 124, Mysore Special court released 109 by declaring them innocent, and 11 by stating that the sentence was less than their period of imprisonment. For others, they appealed to Supreme Court. They too were released from 2 cases out of three. Likewise, he devoted himself completely for activities related to human rights also.
He played an important role in the rescue of the Kannada film star Rajkumar kidnapped by Veerappan in 2000. As efforts of Nakkeeran Gopal were inadequate, he involved in the rescue mission with Tamil National Movement leader Nedumaran, Professor Kalyani, Pondicherry G. Sugumaran and Nakkeeran Gopal abiding to the request made by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Government.He not only took necessary measures to make the Government of both the states, fulfill the reasonable demands set by Veerappan but also fought for the justice for the victims. His team rescued actor Rajkumar only for the welfare of the 40 lakh Tamils who were terrified because of the kidnap. This led to disagreement with Dravidar Kazhagam General Secretary K.Veeramani. He left Dravidar Kazhagam in which he functioned actively for 30 years.
Voice against death penalty
He associated himself in the protest against death penalty to save the lives of Santhan, Murugan, Perarivalan and four Tamils who were sentenced to death in Veerappan case. He organized many protests against death penalty. He is one of the coordinators in the Federation against death penalty. He played active and important roles in the conferences against death penalty held in Marathahalli and Bangalore. He also participated in public meetings and protests that were held against death penalty by various movements.
Protest against Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu
He is the coordinator of People's Alliance against Kudankulam nuclear power plant. He organized the rally and conference against Kudankulam nuclear power plant. In Tirunelveli, he led the protest against Kudankulam nuclear power plant in which 1500 people participated.He involved in the blockade of the Legislative Assembly, Tamil Nadu insisting the Government that Kudankulam nuclear power plant shouldn’t be laid. He organized regional public meetings as a part of the protest.
Rajiv Gandhi murder case
Kolathur Mani was accused of helping the squad which murdered Rajiv Gandhi during 1991, as per Justice M.C.Jain who conducted the enquiry and Mani's name appeared in Volume 5 of Final report of the Jain commission which is titled "Role of Suspects in the Assassination". Justice Wadhwas's judgement records that Dhanashekaran visited LTTE camp located in the garden lands belonging to Kolathur Mani in 1985.
He has participated in many protests and has been arrested several times. Only long term imprisonments are listed:-
- 8.2.1991 - 27.4.1991 (Arrested under the National Security Act as he was functioning in support for LTTE)
- 28.5.1994 - 2.1.1995 (Arrested under the TADA as he was functioning in support for LTTE)
- 10.9.1995 – 8.9.1996 (Arrest stating that he helped the rebels who escaped from Vellore special camp by cutting a tunnel; one-year imprisonment). He advocated for him and proved he is innocent
- 8.3.2002 - 15.4.2003 (Arrested under repressive law, TADA in Veerappan case. He was in prison for more than a year)
- 28.2.2009 - 4.5.2009 (Arrested under the National Security Act for a public speech delivered by him in support of LTTE in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu )
- 2.11.2013 - 15.2.2014 ( Violent incidents took place in Salem and Chennai stating that India should not participate in Commonwealth conference to be held in Sri Lanka. So, he was arrested under the National Security Act)
The speeches delivered by him in various public meetings have been compiled and released as books. They are:-
- Periyarum thanithamizhnadum [Tamil : பெரியாரும் தனித்தமிழ்நாடும்]
- Thamizhar Panpaatu [Tamil : தமிழர் பண்பாடு]
- Ida othukeedu varalaru [Tamil : இடஒதுக்கீடு வரலாறு]
- Paarpana - Indhiya Dhesiya – Pannaattu kootu kollayai muriyadippom [ Tamil : பார்ப்பன – இந்திய தேசிய – பன்னாட்டுக் கூட்டுக்கொள்ளையை முறியடிப்போம்]
- Viduthalai Vetkai [Tamil : விடுதலை வேட்கை]
- Peyarukku Pinnal… [Tamil : பெயருக்குப் பின்னால்…]
- Gandhi patukolai – Paarpana Pinnani [Tamil : காந்தி படுகொலை – பார்ப்பன பின்னணி]
- TNN Aug 19, 2012, 02.59AM IST (2012-08-19). "Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK) splits into two parties - Times Of India". Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2012-10-14.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- "Veerappan has promised to give up violence". The Hindu. Bangalore, India. 19 November 2000.
- Padmanabhan, Mukund (18 November 2000). "Of Kolathur Mani, Veerappan and the Rajiv murder". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 March 2013.