|E.V. Ramasami, or E.V.R. as he was popularly
known, was born on Sept. 17, 1879 at Erode in Tamil Nadu. He
left school at the age of ten and joined his father in business
when he was twelve.
The patriotic fervour of Ramasami lid him to
give up his lucrative business and join the Indian National
Congress in its struggle for freedom. He became an ardent
fighter and came to ne closely associated with Rajaji. Ramasami
courted imprisonment several times during the freedom movement.
The sathyagraha he launched at Vaikom in Kerala
against the despicable practice of barring entry of people
of certain castes into the streets where people of other castes
lived was a success and he earned the title 'Vaikkom Hero'.
He left the Congress in 1925 and carried on a crusade against
the caste-system and advocated prohibition. E.V.R. strove
for the emancipation of the exploited masses and weaker sections
In 1925 he founded the Self-Respect Movement.
a socio-political organisation of which he was the President.
He stared a weekly. "Kudiyarasu" (Republic) and
later a daily. "Viduthalai" (Freedom) to propagate
the principles of his movement. In particular, Ramasami preached
inter-caste marriages and re-marriage of widows. It was his
firm conviction that orthodoxy, superstition, social discrimination
and many other evils which persisted in the society should
go. He waged a relentless battle against these till the very
end of his life.
In 1938 E.V.R. was elected President of the Justice Party.
He started a Movement in the cause of Tamil during this period.
At the famous Salem Conference in 1944 be and his lieutenant
the late C.N.Annadurai (later Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu)
converted the Justice Party into a new organisation called
An ardent fighter, an avowed revolutionary
and a hard-headed rationalist. E.V.R. was simple and humane.
He passed away on December 24, 1973 when he was 94.