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‘Long Live Ambedkar, Periyar and Marx’: Arunthathiyar Movement and Assertion in Tamil Nadu


· Ramkumar Govindan Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai, India)


07/28 | 09:20-09:40 UTC+2/CEST


‘Long Live Ambedkar, Periyar and Marx’: Arunthathiyar Movement and Assertion in Tamil Nadu

Ramkumar Govindan Doctoral Student, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

It is the slogans used by Arunthathiyar movements in any programmes, protest and commemoration etc. Ambedkar centenary was an important period in the proliferation of Dalit movement and assertion in several parts of India. Tamil Nadu too had witnessed radical and assertive Dalit movements against caste oppression. They are not only radical in action but also ideologically inspired by thoughts of Ambedkar, Periyar and Marx. Those three leaders’ anti-caste, equality, reason, self-respect, and upliftment of the subaltern, ideologies are the bases for Dalit movements in Tamil Nadu. In the same line, contemporary Arunthathiyar movements begin to fight against caste discrimination, educating and mobilising people for their rights. Arunthathiyars are one of the most populated Dalit castes in Tamil Nadu, who are more backward in terms of social, economic and education compare to other major populated Dalits castes Paraiyars and Devendra Kula Vellalas. They are also socio-politically less mobilised. This paper helps to understand how the ideologies of Ambedkar, Periyar and Marx resonates in the assertion of Arunthathiyar movements and their struggles. Does this ethnography account narrates how Arunthathiyar movements, emerges and mobilise people in anti-caste ideology? And also, how the ideology of those leader makes movement vibrant and vision for equal society? This study describes Arunthathiyar Liberation is the precondition of the Liberation of Dalits.