Portal:Dravidian civilizations/Selected biography/1

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225px Thanthai Periyar statue at Vaikom town in Kottayam, Kerala

Erode Venkata Ramasamy (17 September 1879 – 24 December 1973), affectionately called by his followers as Periyar, Thanthai Periyar or E. V. R., was a businessman, politician, Indian independence and social activist, who started the Self-Respect Movement or the Dravidian Movement and was the founder of the Dravidar Kazhagam. Periyar was born in Erode, Madras Presidency to a wealthy family of Kannada speaking Balijas. He propagated the principles of rationalism, self-respect, women’s rights and eradication of caste. He opposed the exploitation and marginalisation of the non-Brahmin indigenous Dravidian peoples of South India and the imposition of, what he considered, Indo-Aryan India. In 1939, Periyar became the head of the Justice Party, and in 1944, he changed its name to Dravidar Kazhagam. The party later split and one group led by C. N. Annadurai formed the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in 1949.While continuing the Self-Respect Movement, he advocated for an independent Dravida Nadu (Dravidistan) which comprised southern India and northeast Sri Lanka. more...