The birth anniversary of social activist and father of Dravidian movement, Erode Venkatappa Ramasamy popularly known as Thanthai Periyar, on 17 September, will be observed as a Social Justice Day, said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Monday, September 6.
Periyar's ideology was about social justice, self-respect, rationalism and equality, which laid the foundation stone for Tamil society's growth during the last century and it would also pave the way for the future, Stalin said.
Hence, the government has decided to celebrate the leader's birth anniversary every year as Social Justice Day to serve as a symbolic reinforcement of his egalitarian principles, the Chief Minister said amid thumping of benches.
On that day every year, employees in all government offices including the State Secretariat would take pledges to follow values based on such lofty ideals which includes, brotherhood, equality, self-respect and rationalism, he said.
The BJP MLAs in the Assembly welcomed the decision. BJP state vice-president Nayinar Nagendran cheered the announcement, and said that BJP shares Periyar's ideology on social justice and welcomes CM Stalin’s announcement.
The Chief Minister recalled the services of Periyar to the Tamil society and said he was instrumental in the enactment of the first Constitutional Amendment Act (that safeguarded reservation for backward classes).
Periyar who was born in 1879 in Erode, began his career in politics with the Congress party. He later started the Dravidar Kazhagam, a political party in line with his desire to reclaim the Tamil name and identity. However, in 1949, CN Annadurai, a friend of Periyar moved away bifurcating Dravidar Kazhagam into Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
Despite his death almost over 45 years ago, Periyar is still remembered by Tamils mostly for his views, political stances and work against oppression and reclaiming the rights of Tamil people.
(Published in arrangement with The News Minute)