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Periyar has expounded his ideas on all topics including journalism. For Periyar, newspapers, magazines and public speaking were the vehicles of communication of his ideas. Revolt, Revolution, The Justice and The Modern Rationalist were English weeklies while Kudiyarasu, Unmai, Puratchi, Pagutharivu and Viduthalai were Periyar’s Tamil publications. Periyar, who kept away from elections, boldly articulated his views which even his critics acknowledged as intended to serve the welfare of the people. Periyar who clearly and forcefully articulated his ideas was a votary of free speech.

Periyar said that he was a free man. His experiences, ideas and feelings were freely formed, he said. He asked those listening to him or reading him to freely accept his ideas based on their experiences, feelings and thoughts and reject others. Periyar said this was his pre-condition for communication of his ideas.

While Subramaniya Bharathi’s vision for journalism that we presented here recently was more about reportage, Periyar’s ideas were that of a essayist.

Periyarist and Marxist scholar S V Rajadurai and Va Geetha have written books about Periyar’s work. In 2005, A Iraiarasan wrote a book about journalism called Ithazhalar Periyar (Journalist Periyar). In 2022, R Subramanian compiled a book titled, En Namakku Itthanai Edhirigal: Thanthai Periyarin Ithazhiyal. Periyar’s views on journalism can be known from these two books.

In Kudiyarasu, issue dated Feb 28, 1948, Periyar has said the following:

“For those who want to know what the aim of our newspaper is, we tell them that our aim is to ensure that our motherland develops and reaches a high level politically, economically and socially. We will work hard for the physical, intellectual, artistic and religious development of the people as well as the development of our language.

If the foundation of a building constructed at a high cost is not strong, then the building itself can fall. Similarly, a country can never develop if the individuals, the families, groups as well as the villages in the country do not develop in all the fields. If our nation has to get Independence and develop fully then every individual should develop his abilities and intellect. Every  family should be in a good position. Every community should develop.

No village should expect help from another village, city or even another nation. All villages should develop in all fields and be self-sufficient. Our newspaper will not ignore this fundamental aspect and cry hoarse only about the nation. Our newspaper’s policy is to work hard without a break for the development of these fundamental aspects.

Self respect, equality and brotherhood should grow and take root among the people. Everyone should show love and affection to each other. Feelings of high and love have kindled the fires of caste conflict. These should feelings should be destroyed and the truth that all are equal should grow among people.

Religious conflict should end. The practice of involving gods in courts should end. Good qualities should grow among our people for which we will work.

We will fearlessly criticize and condemn if the words and actions of our friends hamper the freedom of our nation.

We will pursue the truth so that these aims are fulfilled. The basis of our work is the path of love. The path of falsehood will be defeated by our path of love. With no fear or favour towards anyone, we will serve the nation to the best of our ability.

We recall here a verse from Thirukkural that says: Friendship is not for fun and laughter but friends are there to reprimand and correct each other if anyone slips.

In the spirit of this verse, we will fearlessly criticize and condemn if the words and actions of our friends hamper the freedom of our nation.

To create awareness on the importance of patriotism, love of language, love of religion and other principles, we have started this newspaper. There are many newspapers but they fear to freely express opinions that arise from their conscience. Unlike them, we will fearlessly tell the common people about things as they are. This is our aim.”

With these above words written just after Independence, Periyar has clearly expressed his journalism vision. He has said that his journalism will serve the development of the individual over the nation.

Periyar’s journalism will fight caste inequalities. His journalism will not be afraid to sharply criticise or condemn wrong actions, Periyar has said.


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