Towards the complete destruction of the old order
Thanthai Periyar's speech on rural development.
Periyar represents a strain of progressive social reform in world history, not just Indian history which is unique in how it blended Self-Respect for the oppressed together with a scathing irreverence for religion, the oppressor’s key mechanism of control. The speech published here illustrates Periyar’s clarity about the modern reality of space and how the ruling classes further the oppressive systems through the segregation and management of inhabited spaces from cities to villages. At a time when the romanticising of the ‘village republic’ was the message of the conservative framers of the Indian future, Periyar calls for the abolition of the village as a relevant and necessary counter to the caste system and its ills. He does this in his inimitable style and reasoning which even after seven decades of its delivery has universal resonance for a world grasping with humungous inequalities.