PERIYAR AND WOMEN’S LIBERATION
M.A., M.Phil., B.Ed.,
Lecturer in English,
Kanchi Shri Krishna College of Arts and Science College,
Kilambi, Kanchipuram ' 631 551,
The subjugation of women has been a chronic and deep' rooted problem all over
the world. The condition of women has continued to be far from satisfactory in our
country too. Early nineteenth century saw the emergence of various socio-religious
reform movements in India. In the social sphere, there were movements of caste reform
or caste abolition, equal rights for women, and a crusade, against social and legal
inequalities. Interestingly, the enlightened individuals of the male section took the lead in
initiating efforts to abolish laws and customs, which suppressed the women in society. If
the girls today outshine the boys in Tamil Nadu, in academic excellence, the credit
should go to E. V. R. Periyar and others. This chapter highlights the contribution of
Periyar to women’s liberation.
For ages, women in India had been confined within their homes and it was taken for granted that bringing forth children and cooking for the family were their only duties. Very few families cared to educate their girl children. The orthodox people justified their attitude towards women saying that they followed Manu Dharma. The uplift of a woman was one of the programs of Periyar from the beginning of his public services.
In the view of Periyar, women should give up all practices that deny their
legitimate rights and makes them subservient to men. They should develop physical
strength just like men. They must exercise and get trained in the use of weapons. They
must acquire the ability to protect themselves when they are physically harassed. They
should obtain the necessary training to enter the army and, when need arises, they must
fight the enemy. Therefore, Periyar says, “The present system of education, which will...