The south superstar Rajnikanth faced a series of criticism for commenting about anti-caste icon Periyar Ramaswamy, causing chaos in Tamil Nadu. Comments made by him is upon a controversial rally held by Periyar in the early 70s that have kicked up a huge storm in the state. Here is the whole story.
Rajni’s statement on Periyar E.V. Ramasamy
Days ago Rajnikanth made a controversial statement regarding Periyar EV Ramaswamy, an anti-caste icon known for his work among lower caste Hindus in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. He mentioned about how Periyar established a movement against the Brahmin dominance and campaigned against idols.
“In 1971, Periyar led a procession in Salem with the portraits of Sri Ramachandramoorthy (Ram) and Sita, without clothes, and garlanded with slippers. No one had the guts to report that and Thuglak editor Cho alone dared to publish it,” the actor said.
Soon after his statement went viral, various Dravidian groups which included AIADMK and DMK, showed their wrath against Rajnikanth. They claimed that the actor had spread misinformation on Ramasamy, intending to demolish Periyar’s reputation. And now, a smaller group of activists have also approached the Madras High Court to get a police case filed against the superstar.
Rajnikanth on his defense claimed that he did not speak anything out of imagination. “I did not say anything that did not occur. I only said what I heard and things that appeared in magazines. Sorry, I will not express regret or apologize,” the actor said
Who is Periyar E.V. Ramasamy?
E.V. Ramasamy, also known as Periyar, was an Indian social activist and politician who started the Self-Respect Movement in Tamil Nadu. He is also recognized as the ‘Father of the Dravidian Movement’. He did well-known work against Brahminical dominance, caste prevalence, and women abuse in Tamil Nadu. Moreover, he truly hated the ideas of Gandhi and the very idea of India.
Ramasamy is cherished today by a large section of the Dravidian movement. Not just now, he was also a very controversial figure even when he was alive. In early 1925 Periyar had quit Congress party accusing it of being dominated by Brahmins and established his own party naming it Justice Party which was later renamed Dravidar Kazhagam.
The Hindu article back in 1971
On January 25, 1971, The Hindu published an article in Chennai which was written by a journalist in Salem. It mentioned about the rally taken out by Periyar, where they mentioned about obscene images of some of the Hindu Gods like Rama and Sita paraded naked and garlanded with slippers. The original report also mentioned another recommendation urging “the government to allow free criticism of religious practices of people of various faiths including Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism.
Here is what the report read: “The tableaux included obscene pictures of the birth of Lord Muruga, penance of sages and Mohini Avatara, a 10-foot long image of Lord Rama was carried on a vehicle and dozens of people kept beating it with chappals”.
The report also added that Periyar “seated on a tractor, was at the back of the procession”. Moreover, an image of Lord Rama cut out in wood was set on fire at the end of the procession.
Rajni defends his statement
Rajnikanth defending his statement, shared a related article with the media on 21st January as it read: ‘pictures of a Dravidar Kazhagam’s procession in Salem represented Hindu gods Rama and Sita in the nude with a garland of slippers around their necks’. After showing this, he added that he stands by his statement and that he didn’t say anything out of unnecessary.
— Abiram (@Abiram20548001) January 21, 2020
“I would not apologize as there was a lot of evidence of what happened then, including various published and oral accounts.”
“Many say all can’t become MGR. Nobody can match MGR even in 1,000 years and that includes me. He’s a yuga Purusha. I know the political journey is not easy. It is a journey through struggles and hurdles but I can give governance which they (MGR) gave to common people and I trust I can do that too,” the superstar said.