Thursday, 17 November 2011

My request to writers S. Anand and Ravi Kumar who have distorted, misrepresented and defamed Periyar with lies in their writings

Dear Mr. S. Anand,

I am a writer and activist based in Chennai.

Greetings to you, at the outset.

You had written and translated a series of articles, essays and reports which were published in many magazines, newspapers and websites a few years ago, and in these writings (including translations titled "Periyar's Hindutva" and "Re-reading Periyar"), you have attributed a series of quotes to Periyar, but you have not properly and individually referenced these quotes (allegedly made by Periyar) in an academically and journalistically conventional manner by citing the exact page number and exact volume number of the book series in which each of these alleged Periyar's quotes appear. This is at least the case in the internet versions of your aforementioned writings and translations.

Except for one quote attributed to Periyar, you have generally attributed all the quotes to Periyar by citing the name of a single book series under the "references" column, (namely "Periyar E. Ve. Ra. Sinthanaikal - Volumes 1, 2 & 3" edited by Ve.Anaimuthu), but you have not cited the individual page number and exact volume number of the aforesaid tri-volumed book series in which each of these alleged quotes of Periyar appear, as it is accepted practice in foot noting and referencing. But you have cited page numbers and volume numbers for each of the quotes of those other than Periyar which were taken from other books, including those of Babasaheb Ambedkar, and it is puzzling why you have not done the same for quotes attributed to Periyar.

The name of the book series you cite under the reference section of your articles and translations is the following: "Ve. Anaimuthu (ed) Periyar E. Ve. Ra. Sinthanaikal, (3 volumes), Sinthanaiyalar Pathippakam, 1974". But you have not cited the individual page number and volume number in brackets for each of the individual quotes attributed to Periyar as you have done for quotes from others.

But without the page numbers and volume numbers in which the individual quotes (attributed to Periyar) appear, I am unable to ascertain the quotes' truthfulness in order to cross-reference and research these quotes (attributed to Periyar) by you and Mr. Ravi Kumar for a research paper and book series I am writing on Periyar.

Since I am using your English translations of Periyar's alleged quotes (and other citations of your translated quotes attributed to Periyar) for my research, I am directing this request to you. You can feel free to convey my request to Mr. Ravi Kumar whose Tamil writings you translated, if it helps me to obtain proper referencing of page numbers and volume numbers of quotes attributed to Periyar in your translations and writings. Since I am using your translations as the source material for my writing I am directing this request to you, with a copy to an email address attributed to Mr. Ravi Kumar. It is necessary that both original works and translations should carry appropriate references to page numbers, volume numbers and book names for quotations in the interest of verification, authentication and truthfulness of the quotes used, but your writings and translations lacks such an authenticity regarding quotes and statements attributed to Periyar. Hence, one has to conclude that you and Mr. Ravi Kumar have defamed and blemished Periyar without foundation. 

As you know, it is imperative for intellectual and journalistic integrity and honesty to back up quotes with proper referencing to page numbers and exact volume numbers of the books from which these quotes were sourced if you intend your writings and translations to be considered seriously by anyone.

It is fundamentally erroneous, biased and non-objective to make grossly false conclusions about the fundamental principles enunciated by Periyar's long activist life of 94 years by using a handful of unreferenced and unsubstantiated quotes. You can find thousands of quotes from Periyar which contradict the false conclusions made in your articles and translations. I also suspect that the quotes and statements attributed to Periyar in your writings and translations are abject lies (such as stating that Periyar "repeatedly" spoke of dalits as a people who don't have a history, who don't have a political movement, who don't have leaders, and stating that Periyar asked Dalits :"Of what use are you to us?"). In addition, these unreferenced and unsubstantiated quotes (cited by you) have been used outside of context and grossly misinterpreted to blame Periyar - in order to conclude lies about Periyar - which are fundamentally opposed to Periyarist philosophical, social and political goals such as liberating the masses from Hinduism and destruction of the caste system. I also find many irrational contradictions and illogical conclusions in your writings and translations on Periyar, (and therefore also in the writings of the original author Mr. Ravi Kumar whose essays you have translated), and I hope to analyse and establish these in my research paper. I also suspect that the quotes attributed to Periyar by you and Mr. Ravi Kumar were misquoted, misinterpreted, truncated, manipulated and fabricated. 

Just as you and Mr. Ravi Kumar have arbitrarily smeared Periyar with lies approximately four decades after Periyar's death, a delay of less than a decade in my analysis of your writings and translations can be condoned, since there is no time limit to subject any one's writing to scrutiny.

Periyar’s views has been distorted and defamed by your writings and translations. Periyar who was primarily known for his life long campaign against all aspects of Hinduism, including Hindu Gods, scriptures, caste system, rituals and customs, is ludicrously, ridiculously and falsely associated with “Hindutva” and is falsely portrayed as anti-Muslim and anti-Christian (in your writings and translations) with no objective substantiation and by resorting to outright lies and baseless statements. Similarly, your writings and translations attempt to falsely portray Periyar as an anti-Dalit figure, again by way of baseless lies and libellous statements. Periyar campaigned against annihilation of all manifestations of the graded caste supremacist system and destruction of all castes. Periyar’s writings and speeches emphasized the liberation of Dalits and annihilation of all castes. Periyar’s panacea for annihilation of the graded caste supremacist system is destruction of Hinduism and emphasis on atheism, while he also actively encouraged all those oppressed by the graded caste system (backward castes and Dalits) to convert to Islam and Christianity. Periyar wrote, spoke and undertook socio-political action for Dalit rights on innumerable occasions.

Periyar spent all his life deriding Hindu fanatics and Hindutva organisations. As an ethical atheist – rationalist Periyar criticized all religions and superstitions, but his primary ire was against the Hindu religion while Periyar wrote and spoke extensively in praise of Islam and Christianity as egalitarian religions which offer an escape from the caste system. Periyar has also written extensively in defence of Muslims against the murderous violence of Hindu fanatics. Periyar explored the socio-political reasons behind the attacks on Muslims, and reasoned that Muslims were attacked at the behest of Brahmans and caste bigots who wanted to preserve the cannibalism of Hindu graded caste supremacist racist system and prevent people from escaping this barbaric system to monotheistic egalitarian religions such as Islam and Christianity. There are countless speeches and writings in which Periyar has praised Islam and Muslims. He asked the Dravidians (the collective racial term he used to refer to backward castes and Dalits) to be friendly towards Muslims but rise against Brahmans.

I am not interested in educating you on Periyarist thought, but it is my job to take action when someone who is totally ignorant of Periyarist thought as yourself (and Mr. Ravi Kumar) goes about maligning and misrepresenting Periyar with lies. Hence, your and Mr. Ravi Kumar's writings and translations which attempt to associate Periyar with all that he opposed is not just oxymoronic but malicious insanity. Your motivation is aimed at misrepresenting and maligning Periyar to all those outside Tamil Nadu who have no access to knowing the fundamental ideals of Periyar and cannot read the rebuttals published in Tamil exposing your calumny against Periyar.

I request you to kindly give me the page numbers and volume numbers of the aforesaid book series in which the following quotes allegedly appear, (or for that matter any other reference you may provide with page numbers and volume numbers) since you have attributed the following quotes to Periyar in your translations and writings without reference to page numbers and volume numbers. I hope you will comply with my request in order to further objectivity, honesty and integrity in intellectual, journalistic and academic discourse in an ethical spirit. If you fail to provide individual page numbers, volume numbers (and book names) for the following quotes and statements attributed to Periyar in your writings and translations, history will record that your (and Mr. Ravi Kumar's) writings against Periyar were callously fabricated, bogus and unaccountable apart from the malicious misinterpretations, contradictions, arbitrary statements, falsehood and illogical conclusions in your writings and translations (and that of Mr. Ravi Kumar).

(The unreferenced and unsubstantiated quotes attributed to Periyar by S.Anand and Ravi Kumar has been listed in the original email sent to them.)

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