Periyar has been removed from school textbooks in Karnataka. On the surface, this is a good move. But dig a bit deeper, and you will realise why Periyar must continue to be a part of school books.
In Karnataka, the zeal of the BJP government seems to be leading it to take some bad decisions. For example, currently, there is a huge controversy that has erupted in the Southern state over the exclusion of E.V. Ramasamy ‘Periyar’ from the Class 10 Social Science textbook. In the PDF of the new social science part-1 textbook posted by the Karnataka Textbook Society on its website, chapter 5 dealing with “Saamajika Mattu Dharmika Sudharana Chaluvaligalu” (social and religious reform movements) has been made concise. References to Periyar and Narayana Guru have been removed.
It must be noted, though, that the chapter on social and religious reforms in the social science part 2 textbook of class 7 contains details of the work done by Narayana Guru. Periyar, though, finds a mention in no books.
Former Mangaluru City South MLA J.R. Lobo said, “By removing portions related to Narayana Guru and Periyar, the State government is denying students the ideals of these two reformers, who have contributed towards a harmonius society.”
Not a Wise Decision
Chairman of the Text Review Committee, Rohith Chakrathirtha, told the Hindu that the chapter is related to reforms brought in by different social and religious organisations. He remarked, “The content in the chapter has only been contextualised now.” However, the removal of all details related to Periyar is certainly not putting the man in context.
For that to happen, Periyar should have been exposed in textbooks. His reality should have been told to everyone. Periyar was the lowest a man can humanly reach. As such, he is an example of how people should strive not to become deracinated morons.
The Karnataka government should have had the foresight to teach Periyar to students for the man he actually was – a vile, miserable, indignant, racist slob who only wanted to see the decimation of Hindus. With the all-out removal of Periyar’s references from textbooks, coming generations would not be able to know the man for the bigot that he was.
Will students around the world not be told about Osama Bin Laden? He was one of the most dreaded terrorists in the world. Yet, people know about him. Removing all references to Osama from books will serve no purpose, as coming generations will not know what kind of a religious extremist he was.
According to Marxist and liberal historians, Periyar was a social activist who wanted to ‘dissolve India of the tyrannies of Brahmanism, caste prevalence and women oppression’. While the idea looks perfectly utopian on paper, the reality was far from it. Periyar’s stance had not been to rectify the caste system or to abolish it; his vendetta had been against Brahmins as a community.
Periyar at the peak of his racist movement kept making it clear that Brahmins are irredeemable due to their virtue of being born a Brahmin. For instance, in an interview, it was asked, “Do you mean to say that Brahmins, by the very fact that they were born Brahmins, can never have honest intentions?” Periyar responded, “I do. They can never have honest intentions.”
On one occasion he stated, “To destroy caste discrimination burn the pictures of Nehru and Gandhi and also the Constitution of India. If all these methods fail to give us results, then we should start beating and killing the Brahmins; we should start burning their houses.”
Periyar has spread numerous canards against the Ramayana. All his lies were directed towards slandering Maryada Purshottam Shri Ram. His lies ranged from accusing Shri Rama of being casteist to claiming that he killed and mutilated women. According to him, the Ramayana and Mahabharata were written by ‘cunning Aryans’ to erase the so-called ‘Dravidian identity.
Periyar is most widely known for desecrating images of Bhagwan Shri Ram in 1971 during a procession. In fact, that procession had a 9-point agenda, which was as follows:
- Scrap the Indian Penal Code section that punishes a person for hurting others’ religious feelings
- No security for God (temples) and religions (processions)
- There should be no attachment towards God, religion, caste, language and the nation
- Remove the Supreme Court
- Parpanars (a term used by Dravidian parties for Brahmins) should not be called Brahmins (The argument is calling them supports the Varna system.)
- Tamil Nadu people must boycott newspapers owned by Brahmins
- Hindu religion is not a religion
- We are not Hindus. In the coming census (1980), we (Tamil Nadu people) should say we are not Hindus
- Eradicate caste means we should taunt Parpans (Brahmins)
Removing Periyar from school textbooks does nobody any good. He should have been made a part of textbooks in the right context, and that is for the poisonous man and alleged paedophile that he was.