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Thanthai Periyar memorial likely to get a facelift

January 23, 2023 09:55 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:10 am IST - KOTTAYAM

On the verge of being consigned to oblivion with withering structures and dwindling academic interest, the Thanthai Periyar memorial in Vaikom is finally set to get a major facelift.

A ministerial delegation from Tamil Nadu, led by its Public Works Minister E.V.Velu and Information and Publicity Minister M.P. Saminathan on Monday visited the memorial and commenced the preparatory works for restoring the facility. The team is slated to submit a report regarding the present state of the memorial to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin soon.

“Based on the report, the Chief Minister will decide on whether to restore the existing structure or to build an entirely new memorial at the site here,” said Mr. Velu.

The memorial, a figurative testimonial of Periyar’s lead role in the historic movement, is being revived as 2024 marks a century of his arrival at Vaikom, he added,

V.P.Jayaseelan, director, Information and Public relations department of Tamil Nadu, Chief Engineers from the Tamil Nadu PWD were also part of the delegation.

Established in January 1994, the memorial comprising a statue of the great social reformer along with a library on the history of the Dravidian movement has been languishing in neglect for the past many years. The ownership rights of the 70-cents property, located near the Valiyakavala junction, was handed over to Tamil Nadu during the tenure of P.S Sreenivasan as the Revenue Minister of Kerala.

Miffed over the lack of attention to the facility, the Vaikom municipality had earlier planned to approach the Tamil Nadu government, seeking the right to restore and run the memorial.

Periyar E.V. Ramaswami along with his wife Nagamma had joined the satyagraha - regarded as the first-ever organised movement for the rights of people deemed ‘untouchable’, in April 1924 and served jail terms on two occasions in connection with it. He was later bestowed with the Title Vaikom Veeran for his lead role in the protest.

The satyagraha was aimed at securing freedom to all sections of society through the public roads leading to the Sri Mahadeva Temple at Vaikom.

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