Pre-Periyar atheist reformist movement in Madras

“Now there is a need to rewrite the history of the reformist and atheist movement in Tamil Nadu. There is a strong case for shifting the focus of the movement from Bengal-centric perspective,” said V. Arasu, head of the department of Tamil, Madras University, who has traced the history of the movement and collected journals published by it.

But, there is no information available as to who launched and ran the movement and why it suddenly disappeared. P. Munesawmy Naicker was the manager of the two journals run by the society and there are references to P. Appathoaray Chettiayar , identified as the secretary. One Masilamany Mudaliar had written extensively. “The journals, one in English and another in Tamil, advocated atheism, pro-labour policies, women’s education, widow-remarriage and strongly condemned the four-varna system,” said Dr. Arasu, who first came across ‘Thathuvavivesini,’ the Tamil journal, in the Prof Anbazhagan library in Anna Arivalayam. The English journal was called ‘The Thinker’.
Reference :

[1] The Hindu, Nov 8, 2012.


About Dilawar

Graduate Student at National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore.
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