Periyar E. V. Ramasami's Non-Brahmin Dravidian Movement Analysis
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Periyar E.V. Ramasami’s Non-Brahmin Dravidian Movement and Its Feminist Appeal to Dalits
Dalits, also known as untouchables, are often marginalized people within the Hindu class system. Therefore, they were attracted to Periyar E.V. Ramasami’s Non-Brahmin Dravidian Movement, or the self-respect movement. Dalits, limited by societal norms, were offered the social vision of mobility and increased personal freedoms by this movement. Not only that, the movement specifically attracted Dalit women and women of lower classes because of its focus on feminist causes.
One’s identity as a Dalit dictates much of one’s life, from social interaction to access to resources and education. Kancha Ilya, a famous activist for Dalit rights, describes his own experience…show more content… The Jatavs are a different Jati of the Dalit Varna located in a different area in North India. They too are considered “polluting to the upper castes,” and therefore “have remained, on the whole, illiterate, poor, and virtually powerless.” These people did not have access to many things upper Varna individuals had, including wells, schools, roads, services by Brahmins or services that Brahmans also use, and Hindu temples. There was no attempt to amend this clear social injustice until 1935 when the British actively put a law of “protective discrimination” into place in attempts to protect these “scheduled castes,” as they were called. However, the effectiveness of this attempt to ameliorate social disparity has not been officially evaluating, and it is hard to discern whether it has made much of an…show more content… The movement not only attracted Dalits because of its denouncement of the Varnic system, but also attracted Dalit women in particular because they were often victims of sexual violence and oppression. Periyar’s movement was unique not only in that it was so extremely secular, but also that it stood up for the rights of women. Issues regarding sexual violence and women’s oppression are widespread, generally Dalit women are the ones who suffer the most, as they are of the lowest Varna and therefore regarded as less important. There is a stigma that women of a lower Varna can be taken advantage of sexually because of their subordinate position in the Hindu hierarchy. This subordination is amplified with the intersectionality between their internationally marginalized gender as well, which is why women in particular in the Dalit community suffer from these issues. The Self-Respect Movement allowed people not just to interpret religion differently, but to break away completely and start a new life with a moral code and social standard set on their personal beliefs, rather than on a religious