Self Respect Movement
In 1925, E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker (commonly known as Periyar), a Balija Naidu, started the Self Respect Movement. Naicker considered the brahmanical religion and culture as the main means of exploiting the lower castes, hence the movement’s aim was to reject it. Abolishing Brahminical hegemony, promoting equality for women and underprivileged groups, and reviving Dravidian languages like Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam were all part of this egalitarian movement’s demands.
To protest the ban on their admission into temples and other restrictions, depressed castes launched multiple satyagraha protests throughout India. The Self Respect Movement, its goals, the legacy it left behind, and other information for UPSC Exam Preparation will be covered in this article.
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Self-Respect Movement History
The Self-Respect Movement was founded in Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India, with the goal of creating a society where underprivileged classes would have equal access to opportunities and human rights. In a caste-based culture where they were seen as the lowest social caste, it also encouraged backward classes to value themselves.
In Tamil Nadu, India, S Ramanathan spearheaded the self-respect campaign against Brahminism. The program had a significant impact not only in Tamil Nadu but also in other countries with sizable Tamil populations, such as Malaysia and Singapore.
Several political organisations, notably the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), which broke away from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (D.M.K.) in 1972, were founded in Tamil Nadu as a result of the self-respect movement. Both groups are popular and have a social democratic bent.
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Self Respect Movement Meaning
The Brahmins’ monopoly on power and influence steadily diminished due to E.V.R.’s never-ending anti-orthodoxy crusade. People were motivated to confront the institutional racism of the Brahmins by a sense of self and, more crucially, self-confidence.
As a result, marriages across different castes and religions were encouraged, and they were also recognized by the law. Tamil Nadu was the first state after independence to enact legislation permitting Hindu marriages without a Brahmin priest present. In addition, the practice of providing Harijan members exclusive representation on local councils was ended.
As a result of the hotels’ continuous support from the Self Respect Movement, the name panels were changed from “Brahmins Hotel” to “Vegetarian Hotel.” People began to take pride in dropping their caste name.
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Self Respect Movement Objectives
This movement’s three main goals were the abolition of Brahminical authority, employment equity for women and underrepresented groups, and the revival of the Dravidian languages, which included Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, and Tamil.
In the two pamphlets “Namathu Kurikkol” and “Tiravitakkalaka Lateiyam,” the movement’s proponents outlined their objectives. These were the movement’s main aims:
- To create a society where lower castes and higher castes share the same fundamental civic rights.
- To strive to give everyone the same opportunities for development and advancement.
- The building of a just and peaceful society and the complete eradication of untouchability.
- It aspired for a social revolution in which everyone experiences friendship and a sense of belonging spontaneously.
- To create schools and colleges, as well as to give the poor, orphans, and widows a place to live.
- To discourage individuals from erecting extra temples, mutts, chlorites, or Vedic schools. The goal of the effort was to stop people from using their caste names as their names and other mindlessly adhered to similar customs.
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Self Respect Movement Significance
The Brahmins’ monopoly on authority and influence steadily diminished as a result of E.V.R.’s never-ending anti-orthodoxy campaign. People were inspired by a sense of self-respect and, more importantly, self-confidence as they prepared to fight the Brahmins’ social injustice. It led to the promotion of interfaith and inter-caste marriages as well as the legality of unions consummated absent a Brahman priest.
The first state after independence to pass legislation enabling Hindu marriages without a Brahmin priest present was Tamil Nadu. Additionally, the system of giving Harijan members exclusive seats in municipal councils was eliminated. The movement’s persistent support led to the name boards of the hotels being changed from “Brahmins Hotel” to “Vegetarian Hotel”. People started to be proud of giving up their caste name.
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Self-Respect Movement and Feminism in India
Veeramal and Annai Meenanmbal, two well-known women activists, served as the movement’s female leaders. They pestered Periyar relentlessly to find out more about Dalit women’s rights. The group dedicated a sizeable percentage of its efforts to eradicating societal prejudice against women and advancing women’s rights. For a while, the self-respect movement’s founders advocated for women to use permanent birth control.
Gandhi, on the other hand, vehemently opposed all forms of birth control for women. Actually, one of the group’s most successful phases was the creation of the ego marriage system.
The Vaikom Satyagraha, which emerged in the 1920s to seek equal access for people from all castes in public spaces, had considerable participation from women. Nagammai, a well-known social reformer and crusader who eventually attained the position of editor of Kudi Arasu, the monthly journal that once supported the Self Respect Movement, led the group.
Nagammai frequently organized women’s associations to oppose toddy shops in Erode as part of an Anti-Arrack movement. Gandhi accepted the fact that the cause was “in the arms of the ladies from Erode,” a monument to the persistence and tenacity of their organization, and acknowledged that there was nothing he could do about the picketing’s occasionally violent outbursts.
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Self-Respect Movement Important Aspects
Brahmins were Impacted
It campaigned against the hegemony of Brahmins as the higher caste in order to promote the promotion of self-respect for people under India’s caste-based system. The movement holds that one may only develop originality after gaining respect.
The main goal of the movement was to achieve equality in all spheres of life. It intended to eradicate harmful social behaviors supported by caste and religion that fueled a cycle of discrimination, including lower castes and caste-based hiring practices.
Castes forced people to act irrationally because it barred them from using reason, understanding, and perspective.
The legislation of self-respect weddings, which allowed marriages to begin without the presence of a Brahmin priest because most ceremonies were conducted in Sanskrit, a language that even the majority of people did not understand, was one of the most significant societal changes brought about by the Self-Respect Movement. Rituals were therefore predicated on strict compliance.
Inter-Caste and Inter-Religious
Marriages shouldn’t be prohibited by class, according to the movement, which promoted inter-caste and inter-religious unions in which one must be allowed to meet the partner of one’s choice. Due to the predominance of child brides, many young girls experienced loss; the self-respect weddings also applied to widows remarrying.
As a result, the ad was successful in drawing a big female audience. Due to Tamil Nadu being one of the first states to let Hindu marriages to take place without a Brahmin priest being present, inter-caste marriages increased.
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Self-Respect Movement UPSC
Brahminical ideals have historically governed Indian civilizations, and people have experienced constant persecution. In the past, several events and activities have taken place to challenge this dominance. One of the movements that opposed Brahmin supremacy in Indian society was the Self Respect Movement. True democracy was made possible by the Self-Respect Movement’s unwavering goals and demands. This article has all the details about Self Respect movement for preparation of UPSC.
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