Response: Periyar’s Soviet tour

Published : May 26, 2021 15:14 IST

Periyar during his trip to Europe and the Soviet Union. Photo: 'Viduthalai'

This has the reference to the ‘Tribute’ article written on V. Anaimuthu by Prof V. Arasu (“V. Anaimuthu (1925-2021): Crusader for social justice”, Frontline, May 7, 2021).

While referring to the visit of E.V. Ramasamy Periyar to the Soviet Union in 1932, the author says, “when Singaravelar received an invitation to visit the Soviet Union, he requested Periyar to make the trip since he knew he would not be permitted to travel to the Soviet Union by the British Government”. This information is not correct.

Periyar commenced his Europe tour in December 1931 on his own. Apart from the Soviet Union, he visited Asian and European countries like Greece, Turkey, Germany, and England.

Prior to the tour, Periyar had translated the historic Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels into Tamil and published it in his Kudi Arasu magazine. The publication was serialised in the magazine for several weeks. Periyar used to propagate that the ultimate goal of his Self Respect Movement was equality, which would manifest itself as “communism”. With that respect for “communism” in mind, he undertook his European tour to assess the achievements of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the reign of Joseph Stalin.

In his various public speeches about his Soviet visit, he said he had stayed for a long period in that country and witnessed the May Day march held on May 1, 1932 in Moscow as a state guest. He did not state anywhere that the invitation for the visit was transferred to him by Singaravelar with whom he had worked during the early 1930s. Even Singaravelar, a prolific writer and public speaker, did not mention anywhere that he had passed on his invitation to Periyar.

The tour was undertaken on Periyar’s own initiative and plan. There is no documentary evidence to prove what is stated in the article.

V. Kumaresan

Treasurer

Dravidar Kazhagam

Chennai

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