IISER Mohali, Knowledge city, Sector 81, SAS Nagar, Manauli PO 140306

Periyar and the Women's Question

Dr. Karthick Ram Manoharan  (Faculty Candidate)

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This paper looks at South Indian social reformer and anti-caste radical Periyar E.V. Ramasamy's approach to the women's question. Periyar was not just an advocate of social and economic equality between the sexes but espoused a radical concept of sexual freedom for women, which is central to his concept of liberty as such. While the anti-colonialists of his period defended native traditions and customs, Periyar welcomed modernity and saw it laden with possibilities for the emancipation of women. Likewise, where other social reformers addressed the women's question within the ambit of the nation and/or the family, Periyar saw both nation and family as institutions that limited the liberties of women. This paper compares his thoughts with The Dialectic of Sex, the key work of the radical feminist Shulamith Firestone, and highlights the similarities in their approach to women's liberation and sexual freedom, especially their critique of child-rearing and child-bearing. It explores Periyar's booklet Women Enslaved in detail and engages with lesser known, new primary material of Periyar on the women's question, concluding with a discussion of his perspective of the West.

Meeting ID: 926 1872 0174
Passcode: 371380
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