Periyar: A Man Little Understood

Roughly 2500 years ago, there lived a man called Socrates, who maintained that a life not examined was a life not worth living. Tragically, for that very reason, he was put to death by being forced by the Athenian state to drink hemlock. Closer home, in the first seventy-odd years of the twentieth century, lived a Socratic figure, called Periyar E.V. Ramaswami, who suffered a fate worse than state-sponsored murder.

Story of A Community

Martin Macwan’s Mari Katha is the tale of not just one individual, the author, as the title, “My Story”, would lead one to believe, but that of an entire community—the dalits of rural Gujarat. The book is based on Macwan’s personal experiences with the dalit community. A number of dalit people contributed to this work by reading its drafts and offering suggestions, which were incorporated by Macwan, who gratefully acknowledges their efforts.