Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Brief Hisotry

Panditha ka. Ayyothidhasar was born on 20 May, 1845, in chennai. His original name was Kaathavarayan, his father name was Kandhasamy. His grandfather Kandhappan who was served as a butler to Lord Arington. His original name was Kaathavarayan, but in latter years, he adopted the name of his teacher, scholar, Vallakalathi pandit V.Ayothidhasar.

Pandithar Ka. Ayothidhasar had good knowledge of English, Sankrit, pali and gained expertise in Tamil literature, philosophy and sidha medicine. In his youth, he was attracted to Advita Vedanta. After organising the tribal people, he found the 'Advaita sabha' in 1870 in Nilgiris where he spent his early years.

Pandithar's meeting with H.S.Olcott and Rev.John Rathinam was turning point not only in his life but also for the Tamil Dalit movement.

Pandithar had founded in 1890 the Dravida Mahajana Sangam. In that year the Colonial Census was begun. During

the very first Census urged the so-called 'Untochables to register themselves as "Casteless Dravidians". He also issued a Statement in 1886 announcing that the so-called untouchables are "not Hindus".

The first conference of the above Dravida Mahajana Sangam was hel on December 1.1891 and it would be interesting to consider its charter of demands here.

  1. A law should be enacted to severely punish those who refer to the depressed classes as 'Pariahs' in order to degrade and insult them.
  2. seprate schools should be open for the children of the depressed classes and 50%concession in school feesm.
  3. stipend for the depressed classes student who pass matriculation exam.
  4. Eomplyement in government services
  5. depressed classes should be allowed the right to collect drinking water from public wells and tanks without any hindrance.

......while most of these demands focus on the educational and professional needs and expectations of pariahs. some of them represent will and desire on the part of the panchama to carry themselves with self -respect. Education is seen here as a great leveller and the chief means of access to secular as well as political power.

Pandithar led a delegation of prominent Dalits to Olcott and pleaded for his help in reestablishing Tamil buddhism. With Olcott's help pandithar visited Sri Lanka and got 'diksha' from Bikkhu Sumangala Nayake. On his return to Madras he founded the Chakya buddhist Sangam in Royappettah.

pandithar's ideas and views were systematically argued out in a weekly that he launched in 1907. this weekly was called "Oru paisa Thamizhan" (one paise tamilian) and its first issue was brought out on June 19,1907. A year latter the prefix 'one paisa' was dropped at the request of the readers. After pandithar's death, his son pattabiraaman took charge of the Thamizhan weekly from November17,1914. pandithar argues that the pariahs were,in fact, the original Tamils whose religion was buddhism. Pariahs were degraded and their religion systematically destroyed when Aryan invaders form the North. the reason being that the brahmins will seek to remember their historical enmity towards buddism and fear to make pariahs army commanders since the latter might plan revenge. To pandithar, self government would be possible only when "brahmina cease to run away in fear on seeing a paiah and when pariahs cease to chase away brahmins and throw cow dung at them when the latter enter the pariah quarters in the village; and harmony prevaills between the two and they come together as brothers and when the buddha dhamma is realised.

Pandithar was

the driving force behind the establishment of several panchama schools in chennai

pandithar's grandfather kandhappan who gives his own Manuscripts of Thirukkural to Geroge Harrington for publishing

Pandithar ka Ayothidhasar re-reading of history and literature is that they reflect a concern and anxiety over the semantic import of the term pariah. pandithar own research had convinced him that the present-day pariahs were the orignal inhabitants of this land whose religion had been the compassionate rational and egalitarian creed of the buddha.

pandithar did not desire to see pariah co-opted into

Hinduism that strongly opposed the social reform along national lines. He said " Not content with characterising us as pariahs, they proclaim that they are going to reform the depressed classes. When asked who the depressed classes are,they the pariahs and chandalas.

Pandithar was a forerunner of Dr B R Ambedkar

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