COIMBATORE: Caste killing survivor and anti-caste activist Gowsalya Shankar married Parai artiste Sakthi at the Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam office in Gandhipuram on Sunday. At the self-respect marriage ceremony, the couple took an oath to continue to fight against caste killings and to annihilate caste in society.
They also said the doors to their house would remain open to provide refuge for inter-caste couples and those who married for love. “Periyarist, Ambedkerist and Marxist people working for the welfare of the society can always come to our house to work for the people,” they vowed.
Gowsalya, who belongs to the socially dominant Thevar community, had married Shankar, a Dalit youth of Udumalpet in Tirupur district, in 2015. On March 13, 2016, the couple was brutally attacked by a three-member gang near Udumalpet town bus stand. Shankar, only 22 at the time, succumbed to his injuries while 19-year-old Gowsalya survived. On December 12, 2017, a Tirupur court convicted her father Chinnasamy and sentenced him to death for masterminding the attack against the couple.
Gowsalya, by then an anti-caste crusader, had started the Shankar Social Justice Trust and was living with Shankar’s family. She testified against her father at court.
Gowsalya wed Sakthi, who runs the Nimirvu Kazhaiyagam, in the presence of Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam founder Kolathur Mani, Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam’s K Ramakrishnan, VCK’s Vanniyarasu and ‘Evidence’ Kathir. Shankar’s family attended the wedding. The couple vowed not to become a part of each other’s organisations. Sakthi, an MBA graduate from Vellalore, has been teaching Parai for eight years.
He trained Gowsalya too. Gowsalya gives Parai lessons in Shankar’s village. “I would never interrupt her political career and would guide her as a father at a crisis,” Sakthi vowed. Gowsalya said she would support his dream to make Parai globally known. She later told media she would continue to fight for a separate law against ‘honour’ killings. Sakthi belongs to the same community as Gowsalya but his parents objected to the wedding and did not attend.
“Shankar wanted to build a house in his village and wanted his brothers to pursue higher studies. Gowsalya built the house and still works for the development of the village,” Kathir said.