Reservations are endangered and time has come for a united fight to protect them – Dr K Veeramani

(The Asian Independent)

In Conversation with Dr K Veeramani

– Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Dr. K. Veeramani is the ideological disciple of the revolutionary Periyar E.V.Ramasamy (1879-1973).  He started his first public address at the age of 10 and since then he was groomed by Periyar. He stood with Periyar throughout his life and dedicated himself completely for the cause of the oppressed and the marginalized. As a person dedicated to Periyar’s ideology, Dr Veeramani resisted the very idea of joining politics or getting political patronage and that is why the Dravidian movement has succeeded in Tamilnadu as it is his organizations like Dravida Kazgham which compelled political parties to follow the ideals of Periyar and bring them in law.  He is the leader of Dravidar Kazhagam, the movement started by Periyar and succeeded Annai E.V.R. Maniammaiar (1920-1978), who had succeeded Periyar in 1973.

Dr. K. Veeramani is a multifaceted personality, a vociferous public speaker and author of many books on Dravidian ideology, history and political movements. He never hesitated to revolt against the social injustice, for the ensuring of it he was imprisoned more than 50 times.

He is a professional journalist and assumed the editorship of Tamil daily ‘Viduthalai’ (Liberation) since 1962.  Besides, he has been editing Tamil fortnightly ‘Unmai’ (Truth), ‘Periyar Pinju’ – monthly magazine for Children in Tamil and the English monthly ‘The Modern Rationalist’.

The organisation Dravidar Kazhagam, founded by Periyar in 1944 is led by him at present.  DK will not contest any election but has been making people aware during the electioneering on who has to rule the land.  As a champion of social justice Dr. K. Veeramani as well as Dravidar Kazhagam have contributed enormously including the pioneering works on drafting the 69% reservation bill for Tamilnadu, the highest in the country through the Constitutional amendment and part of IXth schedule.

Dr. K. Veeramani is the Chancellor of Periyar Maniammai Institute of Science and Technology (Deemed University); besides the public trusts led by him run many educational institutions especially for women empowerment.

A man with such a wide ranging experience understanding of the Social Justice Movement is the best to explain to us about the historicity of Mandal Commission Recommendations and importance of the reservation for the OBCs and how are they threatened at the moment.

Veeramani’s brilliant oratory started at the age of 10 in the year 1944 when he was asked to speak at the famous Salem conference of the Rationalists.  He was introduced by Mr Anna Durrai and started working with Periyar since 1956.  As known to everyone, Periyar was against political power as he felt people compromise and divide people. In multiparty democracy, leaders of different communities actually don’t really represent the community but their parties and hence the division is bigger and dangerous. That is why Dr K Veeramani remained a thoroughly political man without being part of any political party which resulted in putting pressure on various political parties in Tamilnadu to work for the adequate representation of the OBCs and other communities in the state. It was the hard work and determined efforts by DK and Dr K Veeramani who mobilized various political parties of Tamilnadu in support of reservation for OBCs in Tamilnadu which crossed the 50% ceiling as decided by the Supreme Court in 1983. The Dravidian parties in Tamilnadu have been espousing the cause of the non Brahmins adequate representation till parity is achieved and Dr K Veeramani and DK has played heroic role in it. It is important for all of us to know the history of the reservation for OBCs in Tamilnadu under Justice Party and later on by Dravidian movement led and guided by legendary EVR Periyar and Dr K Veeramani is the best person to explain this.

We look forward to your responses to this conversation.

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