Reality Check India

Periyar’s autobio

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on August 21, 2020

I recently read a 44 Page autobiography of EV Ramaswamy Periyar.  (பெரியாரின் தன்வரலாறு  – வெளியீடு – பெரியார் திராவிடர் கழகம் )   In this short but detailed book he recounts key aspects of his life up to about 1918 or 19. 

There is something missing.

What we are taught about Periyar is he dropped out school and was helping his father in his wholesale market business. This checks out. 

We are told that he was a wealthy brash youth who used to roam around with local thugs (kaali pasanga). This checks out.

Now the interesting part is he devotes nearly 4 pages of the book to the event where he got into trouble with for disrupting a ritual. The local Chetties had invited a Hindu sanyaasi and his brahmin entourage for a Samaaradanai ritual. It so happened that the Sanyasi’s brother had a loan default warrant that needed to be served, EVR and his gang interrupted the feast and stomped all over the food of the guests , caught the brother  and handed them over to the police. This naturally disrupted the event ! After this  –  the organizers complained to EVR’s father and he lost it. 

His father then spit on his face and slapped him in full public view with slippers foul words.  EVR notes at this point is that we has married and he also had a child which passed away at 5 months. So this must be after 1902.

At this point we are told that EVR got angry and ran away from house and became a Sanyasi, which then segues into the famous Varanasi episode where he was allegedly thrown out by Brahmins and denied a meal. 

Here is the thing.

THIS ENTIRE CHAIN OF EVENTS IS COMPLETELY MISSING FROM HIS OWN AUTOBIOGRAPHY.  It is extremely unlikely that such a profound event where he was away for an entire year would not even find a mention.  

What is even stranger there appears to be no break in the narration. He goes on to say how he become famous in Erode after his father dies, how he grew the business, settled various disputes, became chairman of so many organizations until he became Erode municipality chairman.

How is it that such a profound incident  of renunciation and travel to unknown land would go unrecorded in his own autobiography?


here are the parts from this book.  

IF people are aware of primary source about the Kasi incident, or even if he went there at all, please please let me know for research purposes.


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  1. […] article was first published on the author’s blog on 21st August, 2020 and is being reproduced here with permission, after minor edits to conform to […]

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