he was born in an affluent nayak (an upper caste) family, he fought
against the untouchability practiced by upper castes, specifically
targeting Brahmins, the rituals of Hinduism, and the caste system.
In his early political career, Periyar was a freedom fighter, but
he later became a supporter of British colonial rule as a leader
of the Justice Party.
was an atheist and a Buddhist. He is well known for his antitheistic
statement "He who created god was a fool, he who spreads
his name is a scoundrel, and he who worships him is a barbarian."
was a self-proclaimed rationalist, but he also believed in German
scholar Max Mueller's Aryan Invasion Theory, which postulated
the subjugation of Dravidian races (who Periyar identified with
lower castes) by an invading Aryan race (who Periyar identified
with Brahmins and upper castes). Periyar's anti-Brahmin views
were based on the assumption that all Brahmins are upper-class
Aryans and all non-Brahmins are lower-class Dravidians. He accused
Brahmins of subjugating Dravidian civilization.
is the founder of Dravidian Nationalism, and demanded the creation
of a distinct Dravidian nation. His beliefs continues to influence
the socio-political landscape of Tamil Nadu, with many dominant
ideologies claiming descent from his theories.
was opposed to Hinduism, considering it a religion of Brahmins.
In 1953, Periyar celebrated Vesak (a major Buddhist holiday) and
Ganesha Chathurthi (a Hindu festival celebrating the god Ganesha)
by publicly destroying statues of Ganesha.
most popular writing is The Ramayana: A True Reading (1959), on
the Ramayana, a Hindu epic. In 1956, he took a procession of Rama's
picture garlanded with slippers near Dharmapuri and destroyed
the portrait in public, which drew widespread protests from the