The Tamil Nadu government would organise year (2023-24) long events to commemorate the Vaikom struggle and disseminate the legendary movement's history, objective and its victory, Chief Minister M K Stalin announced on Thursday in the Assembly.
Efforts would be made to set up a new memorial for Periyar EV Ramasamy at Aruvikutti village in Kerala where the reformist leader was first imprisoned for leading the Vaikom movement, he said, adding steps shall be taken to release a special commemorative postage stamp.
The historic Vaikom struggle (1924-25) was against untouchability and it demanded that the ban be lifted on the oppressed people to walk on roads in and around the Mahadeva Temple at Vaikom town in Kottayam district of Kerala.
Making a statement in the House, the Chief Minister said he would take part in the Kerala government's Vaikom struggle centenary on April 1, 2023. Noted scholar Pazha Adiyaman's Tamil work "Vaikom Porattam" would be released in Malayalam. Also, Telugu, Kannada and English versions would be soon released.
On November 29, 2023 a grand event would be held by the Tamil Nadu government and he and his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan and several personalities would take part.
Stalin announced instituting "Vaikom Award" to honour those who work outside of Tamil Nadu for the welfare of the oppressed people and bring a remarkable change. The award would be presented on September 17, the social justice day, he said. Also, the Periyar memorial in Vaikom would be revamped and Rs 8.14 crore would be set apart.
In universities and colleges seminars on the struggle shall be organised. Quiz, elocution and essay competitions would be held for school and college students.
To create awareness among students on Vaikom struggle, a 64-page book would be released by Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation and a centenary souvenir would be released by the government's "Tamizharasu" magazine.
Stalin said the Vaikom struggle led by social reformer TK Madhavan began on March 30, 1924 and ended on November 23, 1925 and an event to mark the victory of the satyagraha movement was chaired by Periyar on November 29, 1925 at Vaikom.
Kerala Congress leaders were jailed for spearheading the movement and Periyar led the struggle and he was twice imprisoned, he said.
Periyar's first incarceration was at Aruvikutti for a month and the second time he was lodged in a Tiruvananthapuram prison after he was sentenced to four months rigorous imprisonment, the Chief Minister said. Even after his release from prison, Periyar stayed at Vaikom for 67 days and mobilised people and led the struggle.
Periyar was treated like ordinary prisoners and he was handcuffed and had shackles around his legs and neck. Dr BR Ambedkar, when he waged a struggle (Mahar movement), had referred to Vaikom struggle as an inspiration for him.
-With PTI Input