“The new edition is 60 per cent bigger than what we first published in 1974”
CHENNAI: In the land of the Dravidian Movement, it took six years for the Thinkers Forum to repay the loan borrowed to publish “Thoughts of Periyar EVR”, a three-volume compendium comprising Periyar E.V.Ramasamy’s writings and speeches. And it needed another three years to sell all the 3000 copies.
But the 85-year-old V. Anaimuthu is not deterred. He will be bringing out the second edition in 20 volumes in February, 2010, exactly 35 years after the first edition was released.
“The new edition is 60 per cent bigger than what we first published in 1974. We are more scientific in our approach and publishing the speeches and writings under 75 heads,” says Mr Anaimuthu, founder general secretary of the Periyarist-Marxist Community Party.
Recalling the days when he undertook the work of publishing Periyar’s works in the 1970s, Mr. Anaimuthu explains that he and his comrades had to manually copy down the speeches and writings in the absence of facilities like photo copying.
“We will then read it out to Periyar, who would suggest editing to ensure needless repetitions. In fact he put his signature in all the manuscripts and also accorded the Thinkers Forum the right to publish the work,” he says and showing the hard-bound moth eaten old volumes.
The Thinkers Forum could mobilise only 50 per cent of the amount required for the publication and borrowed Rs. 60,000 with an interest at a rate of 24 per cent per annum. Another Rs. 20,000 was raised as interest-free loan.
The first edition was published in 1974 by the then Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and the government bought 300 copies. The rest of the copies remained unsold till 1979, the year of Periyar’s birth centenary.
“In 1977 the AIADMK led by MGR came to power and we did not know anyone in the government. Thanks to the then education secretary Rangabashyam Naidu we could sell 1500 copies. Only in 1983 we sold out all the copies,” says Mr. Anaimuthu.
He attributed the difficulties to the “silent campaign” carried out against the publication by the friends in Dravidar Kazhagam because he questioned the “misdeeds” of the leadership. When he was expelled in 1975, he was an executive committee member.
Subsequent to his expulsion he was asked to handover all the copies of Kudiyarasu to Dravidar Kazhagam, which deprived him of his source materials.
“But I continued with my efforts and collected his works. If I had the materials I could have completed the second volume in five years ago,” he said and confident that his new venture would be received will by everyone who are familiar with his works.