Dignitaries with The Modern Rationalist Annual Number 2022, released in the presence of Asiriyar Dr. K.Veeramani.
‘The Modern Rationalist’ was founded in 1971 by Thanthai Periyar. Since then, besides regular issues every month, we have been publishing the Annual Numbers in December every year. Each number was based on an underlying theme relevant to Periyar’s principles and policies. The Annual Number – 2022 was released on 30th December, 2022 as a special issue felicitating Asiriyar Dr.K. Veeramani, the Editor-in-Chief, on his 90th birthday, celebrated in a grand manner on 2nd December, 2022. The collector’s issue was formally released by the chief guest respectful Mr. Sergey Azarov, the Consul, Russian Consulate General in Chennai. The first copy was accepted by Dr.G. Viswanathan, Chancellor, Vellore Institute of Technology, (VIT) -Vellore, Tamil Nadu.
The event – a brief narration
The book-launch held at Nadigavel M.R. Radha Manram in Periyar Thidal, the Head Quarters of the Dravidar Kazhagam (DK), commenced with the Welcome Address by Mr.V. Kumaresan, the Joint-Editor of ‘The Modern Rationalist’. He welcomed the audience and explained the significance of the Special Annual Number. His Address was followed by the introductory speech of the Poet. Kalipoongundran, the Executive Editor of ‘Viduthalai’, the Tamil Rationalist Daily.
Formal release of the Annual Number
Mr. Sergey Azarov, the Consul, Russian Consulate General, released the special volume and hailed Thanthai Periyar who had visited Soviet Russia in 1930 itself. His 66 day stay there, was the longest then in his European tour. Sergey Azarov pointed out that Periyar was honoured as the guest of the government and was offered respect during the rally on 1st of May, held in Moscow in 1932.
Mr. Sergey commended the activities of the Dravidar Kazhagam founded by Periyar and its various welfare schemes for the prosperity of people. He highlighted the fact that the Indian- Russian bondage was not only political but also decades old cultural relationship founded on the policies, intertwined with the intimacy of people. Mr. Sergey Azarov further said that he deemed it a great pleasure and privilege, releasing the Annual Number of ‘The Modern Rationalist’ published in honour of the 90th birthday of Asiriyar K. Veeramani.
VIT Vice-Chancellor’s eulogy
Receiving the first copy of the Special Volume, Dr. G. Viswanathan, the Chancellor of Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), felicitated Asiriyar Veeramani and spoke as follows:
‘The credit goes to the unparalleled social services of Thanthai Periyar which caused much greater advancement in the higher education field of southern states, particularly Tamil Nadu, compared to the Northern States in India. The literacy rate in Tamil Nadu during 1920s was merely 7 percent. It rose to 65 percent in 1973 and today it has risen further to a great extent. People of North India today frankly regret, they had no mentor like Periyar to fight for their progress and welfare.
Arignar Anna had regarded Periyar as his mentor and ideological guide.
He led his political life following in the footprints of Periyar and acquired by the mandate of people, the power to rule as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He later gradually implemented in stages, the ideals of his mentor.
Periyar strongly supported the bi-lingual policy of Tamil and English, advocated by the rule headed by Anna. As the outcome, today that policy prevails exclusively in Tamil Nadu. The official ratification was due to the patronage of Periyar. Knowledge in English has helped most of our VIT students get placement in several reputed organisations abroad. Students of many other universities have also derived benefits from recruitments in many of the concerns abroad, because of their communication skills in English. Such an advancement cannot be found in the states where tri-lingual policy is in vogue, especially in the Northern States of India.
The disciples of Arignar Anna should not swerve from his rationalist ideology. Having chosen the political path, his disciples should always remain true rationalists as a mark of respect to him. Rationalist thoughts should be inculcated in students from school education upto the highest level of education.
I have been a member of the State Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu and also a member of the Parliament, besides holding several other posts and positions of high- level responsibilities. Today I have established an educational institution and I am managing it, striving for its everlasting eminence. But I feel proud to place on record that throughout my career till this date, I have always been a staunch rationalist. The life that I lead today is a rationalism based edifice.
I whole heartedly commend Asiriyar K. Veeramani who has been adhering to the humanist policy of Thanthai Periyar and the political paths of Arignar Anna, with an unflinching resolve. His social services would uplift people to a great extent. HIs invaluable guidance would be beneficial to the leaders, of all the political parties. I wish he lives much longer and propagates his policies for the emancipation and welfare of all the people.”
Tributes of a Senior Journalist
Thiru R. Vijaya Sankar, veteran journalist and former editor of ‘Frontline’ felicitated the editor-in-chief of ‘The Modern Rationalist’ Asiriyar K. Veeramani by commending the 50 year long tedious journey of the monthly magazine since its foundation in 1971 by Thanthai Periyar. He hailed it as an amazing, arduous task being carried on uninterrupted. He said- “renowned leader Lenin of Soviet Russia used to say that journals are not mere tools for propaganda; they are the tools to unite and bind multitude of people as one large force. I congratulate Asiriyar Veeramani on his serving as one such tool for several decades behind ‘The Modern Rationalist’. ‘I wish his noble service continues as usual for many more years.”
Vijaya Sankar further said, “Revolutionaries such as Mao and Lenin too devoted themselves to public service in politics. Asiriyar has scripted history without adorning any post or position in the political world. He has been a vital part of every milestone on the achievement path of the Dravidian Movement.
All the leaders of Dravidian Movement of the past four generations were bound by his chains of noble ideals. He is presently found guiding the leaders of the fifth generation. He has always been a source of inspiration for others around him. May he live longer and serve all the people who always need him.
Thiru. Vijaya Sankar further added, “Asiriyar has amazing communication skills in Tamil and English. Renowned author and scholar of the Western World, Benedict Anderson says in his book- “Imagined Communities”, -”A leader who is deeply involved in the task of social welfare should be proficient in two languages in order to accomplish his mission. He can achieve his objectives only by being a bilingual intellectual. His mother tongue should be one and the other that could help him interact well with the entire world. Asiriyar is one such very rare bilingual intellectual, who has commendable mastery over Tamil and English. This competence has helped him a lot for his remarkable achievements. He is able to make his views easily reach people owing to his bilingual communication skills. He uses Tamil and English as effective devices to encode his thoughts.”
According to Thiru. Vijaya Sankar- “Only the Dravidian Movement is vigorously striving to establish social justice and an egalitarian society of absolute self respect spirit. This movement alone raises its voice for state autonomy and language rights. As the sole custodian of the common welfare of people, the Dravidian Movement exists as a protective shield. Asiriyar can undeniably be called the unequalled friend, ideologue and guide at this crucial stage in all our lives. We are in the midst of an ideological warfare intertwined with a political strife. At this juncture, society needs Asiriyar for posterity and his noble services are indispensable for this society.”
Vijaya Sankar concluded his felicitation, wishing Asiriyar a life, longer than his centenary to enable him continue his selfless, meritorious services.
Former Vice-Chancellor’s best wishes
Dr. D. Janaki, former Vice-Chancellor of Mother Teresa Women’s University in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, felicitated the Editor-in-Chief Asiriyar K. Veeramani and said-
“Asiriyar’s public services are indeed highly commendable. I should place on record an exceptional virtue of Asiriyar- his generosity and benevolence. In 1998, his well – wishers, cadres and followers donated solid gold to him, equal to his weight. Asiriyar used the entire treasure to form a public welfare Trust. He wanted people to derive benefits from what they themselves had given him as a token of love and respect. He is a rare combination of rare virtues. May his life be much more longer and peaceful.”
Professor Dr. Vedagiri Shanmuga Sundaram’s tribute
It is noteworthy that Prof. Dr. Vedagiri Shanmugasundaram is today 97 year old scholar and a well-wisher of Asiriyar. He was the first Vice-Chancellor of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. He had willingly arrived at the venue to convey his best wishes to Asiriyar. He briefly commended the noble public services of Asiriyar and advised him to follow at all times in the footprints of Periyar, Arignar Anna and Kalaignar. Dr. Vedagiri Shanmugasundaram wished Asiriyar a life beyond even his centenary.
The event – a thundering success
Many eager participants in the audience bought the copies of The Modern Rationalist Annual Number quite anxiously. The Acceptance Speech of Asiriyar followed.
Asiriyar Veeramani congratulated Thiru. V. Kumaresan, the joint editor of ‘The Modern Rationalist’ for the excellent Annual Number. He took a trip down his memory lane and spoke briefly on the cross currents in his ninety year long life till date. He thanked all the dignitaries who felicitated him. He described the five-decades history of ‘The Modern Rationalist’ and advised all the youngsters in the audience to read ‘The Modern Rationalist’ regularly every month to fine-tune their intellect and outlook. The launch of the Annual Number-2022 thus concluded successfully.
Compiled by M.R. Manohar