Periyar attacked the ‘sacred’, ‘private’ space that sustained the degradation of women

Periyar’s struggle for gender equality began with him recognizing that ‘the personal is political’ long before it became a modern-day maxim, hence his emphasis on Self-Respect Marriage, which treated the man and the woman as equal partners, writes Damni Kain 

Almost a century on, the societal changes that Periyar sought are still considered radical. This should give us an idea of how radical a social reformer Periyar may have been to his contemporaries. He was a crusader for women’s rights and the freedoms he sought for women are still taboo in what is still a patriarchal society. He fought for women to be allowed to fall in love and choose their husbands and challenged every other regressive norm that limited the agency of women. His struggle for women’s rights was informed by his political thinking that revolved around human dignity, freedom and equality. 

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