CHENNAI: V Anaimuthu, a close associate of 'Periyar' EV Ramasamy, founder-general secretary of Marxist Periyarist Communist Party (MPCP) and one of the significant crusaders for reservation for Backward Classes in India, died on Tuesday at a private hospital in Puducherry where he was undergoing treatment for age-related ailments. He was 96 years old.
Anaimuthu was born on June 21, 1925, at Murukkangudi village near Perambalur. He was attracted towards the ideals of Periyar at the age of 19 and his association with Ramasamy continued till the Dravidian leader's demise in 1973.
Walajah Vallavan, secretary of the MPCP, Chennai district, who worked with Anaimuthu for around four decades, shared thoughts on the late leader. "Anaimuthu was an expert in Marxism and Periyarism. He brought together both ideologies into what he termed 'Marxist Periyarism'. After that, all progressive outfits started speaking about this ideology," Vallavan said.
Asked why Anaimuthu chose to leave Periyar's Dravidar Kazhagam, Vallavan said, “In 1975, Anaimuthu issued a statement that DK leader K Veeramani was misleading the Kazhagam and eventually he was expelled for violating the party discipline. In 1976, Anaimuthu launched a movement called Periyar Sama Urimai Kazhagam (Periyar Equal Rights Party). Later, in 1988, he changed the name of his party to Marxist Periyarist Communist Party.”
On Anaimuthu's untiring work to ensure reservation for BCs, Vallavan recalled that in 1978, Anaimuthu strove for the formation of a Commission for BC reservation. He functioned as the patron-president of All India Federation of BCs, SCs, STs and Religious Minorities.
In 1979, Anaimuthu met the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai at New Delhi and urged him to implement the recommendations of the Kaka Kalelkar Commission (the First BC Commission) for BC reservation. However, Morarji Desai formed the Mandal Commission as the Kalelkar Commission report had been submitted in 1955. Anaimuthu also authored a book titled 'Whither Backward Classes?' in 1978 in English and distributed to all MPs at New Delhi to create awareness about the need for providing reservation for BCs.
He also campaigned for the people of Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Assam and West Bengal. He inaugurated the Backward Classes Conference at Muzzafar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh. After this, 20 percent reservation was given to BCs in Bihar.
In Tamil Nadu, he made representations to the former Chief Minister MG Ramachandram to hike the reservation for BCs from 31 to 60 per cent. MGR raised the quota to 50 per cent. In 1994, he launched a journal called 'Periyar Era' to propagate the ideals of Periyar and, two years later, he campaigned for OBC reservation in 30 districts in north India.
Anaimuthu was a vocal supporter of proportional reservation and authored a book on the subject. He met many MPs from various parts of the country at New Delhi to lobby for BC reservation and, in the course of his efforts, he also met BP Mandal, an MP from Bihar, who was later appointed head of the commission to identify the socially or educationally backward classes in India. Anaimuthu handed over vital information on BC reservation to Mandal, which later became the basis for the recommendations of the Mandal Commission.
In 1974, Anaimuthu published three volumes of 'Periyar EVR Thoughts' (2,170 pages) on Periyar's speeches, thoughts, articles etc, arranged chronologically. For this purpose, he met many associates of Periyar for many years and gathered authentic information. Anaimuthu worked vigorously on updating this text and in 2010, he published 20 volumes of 'Periyar EVR Thoughts' (9,300 pages). He also published a book titled 'Periyar Kaalakkannadi' in which he detailed Periyar's movement from 1912 till his demise in 1973.
DMK president MK Stalin, MDMK general secretary Vaiko, PMK founder S Ramadoss, TNCC president KS Alagiri, DK president K Veeramani, CPI State secretary R Mutharasan and Tamil Desiya Periyakkam leader P Maniarasan were among those who condoled his demise.
His mortal remains will be handed over to Sri Ramachandra Medical College in Chennai at 4 pm on Wednesday as he wished to donate his body to science. His wife's body was also donated to science after she died in 2019.
Anaimuthu is survived by four sons and two daughters. His wife Susheela passed away two years ago.