TN Budget: With books in 21 languages, DMK takes ‘Thanthai Periyar’ to world

DK chief Veeramani told TNIE, “The State government approached us for consent for translating and publishing the writings of Periyar and we happily accepted it.
Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin pays floral tribute to Periyar on the latter's birth anniversary (File Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)
Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin pays floral tribute to Periyar on the latter's birth anniversary (File Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

CHENNAI: To promote the ideas of social reformer and Dravidar Kazhagam founder EVR Periyar across the country and outside, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to translate his written works into 21 Indian and foreign languages.

The works will be made available in print and digital editions, said Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, who has allocated Rs 5 crore for the purpose. Thiaga Rajan said ‘Thanthai’ Periyar worked tirelessly till his last breath to achieve social justice, spread rationalism and eliminate the subjugation of women. “His thoughts and writings have transcended the test of time. It is the duty of this government to spread his message,” he added.

DK chief Veeramani told TNIE, “The State government approached us for consent for translating and publishing the writings of Periyar and we happily accepted it. The concerted propaganda against DK that we are preventing the translation of Periyar’s work to other languages is not true.” The Periyar Trust grants permission to publish the writings of Periyar without altering the words, added Veeramani.

In 2003, the first volume of articles written by Periyar for the Kudi Arasu weekly magazine run by him, to propagate the self-respect movement, was published by Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam, a breakaway group from DK. The second volume was published in 2005. When DVK decided to publish all writings of Periyar in Kudi Arasu, the DK approached the Madras High Court, stating that all writings of Periyar belonged to the Periyar Trust. The case is still pending before the court.

Kolathur Mani, president of DVK said the government’s move deserves appreciation. “At the same time, the writings of Periyar should be published fully regardless of its criticism of popular beliefs, established governments, political leaders and parties.”

The writings of Periyar for Viduthalai, a daily newspaper between 1935 and 1973, are yet to be published chronologically. “A few years ago, the written works of Ambedkar were published and translated into many languages by the Maharashtra government. Periyar’s writings too should be published, which is the only way one can get the idea of what the leader was all about,” added Mani.

According to Ramu Manivannan, professor of the University of Madras, the DMK government is interested in keeping the idea of Periyar alive and popularising his writings is part of political work. “So far, social justice crusader V Anaimuthu has been credited with making significant contributions towards compiling Periyar’s writings. There is always a political competition in the State to retain the philosophical foundations of the Dravidian movement. Periyar is an important component of Dravidian political thought. The move is also significant for DMK to counter BJP,” he said.

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