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From 1879 to 1909  



1879 [Sep-17]

PERIYAR E.V. RAMASAMY

was born at Erode town in Tamil Nadu State - India

Father
VENKATA (NAICKER)
A popular rich merchant;
Ardent devotee of Hindu religion. (A Vaishnavite)

Mother
CHINNA THAYAMMAL alias MUTHAMMAL
1885 [Age - 06]
He was sent to a small primary school normally run at a House - pial in those days.
1889 [Age - 10]
His school career ended within 5 years.
1891 [Age - 12]
He entered his fatherís trade.
1895
He used to hear Tamil Vaishnav religious Gurus talks on mythologies at his house, enjoying hospitability of his parents. As a boy, he started questioning the contradictions and absurdities in the fables of Hindu deities spread by the Arya Race ie., Brahmins for subjugating Dravidian Race.

Blossoming of rationalism and atheism slowly in the mind of this youth - Ramasamy.
1898
He married NAGAMMAL, aged 13.
He reformed his orthadox wife and sowed rationalistic views in her mind.
1900
He became the father of a female - child which expired within 5 months and thereafter had no children.
1904
He undertook "renunciation" of family because of the harsh reprimand of his father.

He went first to Vijayawada in Andhra State. Then he proceeded to Hyderabad and Kolkatta.

INSULT AT KAASI ENLIGHTENS HIS RATIONALISM


He reached Kaasi (Varanasi), a noted sacred town of Hindu pilgrimage on the bank of the River Ganges. There he could not get free meals easily at choultries which exclusively fed Brahmins forbidding other Hindu castes.

Having starved severely for some days, this handsome young man Ramasamy found no other better way than to enter a choultry with the appearance of a Brahmin wearing a thread on his bare chest. But his moustache betrayed him. So the gate-keeper not only prevented his entry but also pushed him rudely to the street.

At that moment, as the feast was over inside the choultry, the leaves with food left over were thrown at the street.

The unbearable burning hunger for the past few days forced Ramasamy to compete with the street - dogs in eating the remnants of food in the leaves.

While eating that food, the eyes of Ramasamy looked at the letters carved on the front wall of the building. They revealed the truth that the choultry exclusively occupied by the highest caste viz., Brahmins, had been built only by a wealthy merchant of Dravidian Race from Tamil Nadu.

Suddenly in the mind of this young man, some questions could have sparked such as:
"Why and how the Brahmins can obstruct the Dravidians from taking meals in the choultry although the choultry was built with the money of a Dravidian Philanthropist? Why the Brahmins behaved so mercilessly and fanatically as to push the communities of the Dravidian race even to starvation - death by adamantly enforcing their evil casteism?"

No justifiable answers came to convince the judicious thinking of Periyar on the above questions.

The disgrace inflicted by the Brahmins at KAASI upon him without the least mercy, made a deep wound in the heart of Periyar and it inflamed intense hatred towards that Aryan race and their creation of innumerable Gods.

Though Kasi (Varanasi) has been acclaimed as the most "sacred town" by the Brahmins, the worst ugly scenes of immoral activities, prostitution, cheating, looting, begging crowds for alms, floating dead bodies on the River Ganges turned Periyar to abhor that so-called holy-town. Consequently, a re-thinking on his renunciation led him to return to his family life.

On returning to Erode - his father delegated all his trade rights to this second son and renamed his major commercial concern under the title: "E.V. Ramasamy Naicker Mandi"

1905 onwards : SELFLESS SOCIAL SERVICES
Besides being a well-known wealthy businessman in Erode Mr. E.V.R. entered into public life by rendering social services selflessly.

One noteworthy instance: Once the dreadful contagious disease plague attacked Erode. Hundreds of people died and thousands fled for saving their life. But this noble man did not desert his native town like other rich merchants. He himself carried the dead bodies to the cremation ground while even the close kith and kin did not touch them for last rites due to the fear of the contagion of the plague disease.

He commanded enormous influence over other traders in the bazaar street of Erode. He mediated and solved many disputes among the businessmen with neutrality and uprightness.

In his youthful years he was attracted by the Tamil scholar Pandithamani Ayothidhaasar who vehemently condemned the caste - system and Hindu religion of Brahmins with the principles of rationalism and Buddhism.

Despite his intense hatred towards the Hindu religion and its caste - system - particularly the cruel 'Untouchability' imposed by the Brahmins to supress the Dravidian race - the executive efficiency and the unshakable honesty of E.V.R. fetched the awards of many posts in various public institutions.

Periyar was made Honorary Magistrate by the British Government.

He held many honorary positions like the President, the Secretary, Vice-President etc., in various public institutions numbering 29 such as - District Board, Taluk Board, Urban Bank, Davasthanam (Religious Trust), Public Library, War Recruitment Committee, Association of Agriculturists, Association of Merchants, Mahajana School Committee... etc.,

1906 : FRIENDSHIP OF TAMIL SCHOLARS
There was a Tamil Scholar by name: Pulavar Marudhaiya Pillai at Karur. His logical arguments and daring condemnation of Hindu religion, caste-system, deceptive myths in the epics and Vedic sasthras spread by the Brahmins, had attracted admiration of even the ordinary rural people in the areas around Erode and Karur.

His bosom - friendship played a major role in inculcating atheism firmly in the mind of Periyar and in moulding the latter as a probing rational thinker.

Intimacy of another Tamil Scholar Sage KAIVALYAM had also enriched the rational intuition of Periyar.

Many higher officials and learned persons like Engineer P.V. MANICKA NAICKER befriended this Erode Beacon, because of his progressive views.

1909
Unyielding to stiff protest of orthodox family members, Periyar arranged the remarriage of his sister's daughter who became a child widow at the age of 9
 
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